New Delhi: The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) is building a 125-bedded Covid-19 facility at the Gurdwara Bala Sahib near Sarai Kale Khan, with help from devotees and foreign governments.
The DSGMC hopes to finish work in 60 days and launch the hospital by August. At least 200 workers, including security guards and those packaging the medical equipment, are involved in the completion of the hospital, ThePrint has learnt.
According to Inderjit Singh Monty, co-chairman of DGSMC’s Religious Propagation Committee, devotees had last Wednesday handed over over 23 kg of gold and silver, worth Rs 2.6 crore, for the hospital.
Help has also poured in from the French and Canadian governments, and even the New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, for the hospital, which will have 35 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. Two separate wards are also being set up for women and children.
“We have already received an oxygen plant from the French government worth Rs 1.5 crore and equipment from the New York Mayor’s office worth another Rs 2.5 crore,” DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa told ThePrint. “The Canadian government has also assured us of five oxygen generators, which we are yet to receive.”
How it is all coming together
So far, devotees have handed over gold and silver ornaments including necklaces, bangles and coins, as part of “Kar Sewa” or selfless service in the tradition of Sikhism.
The value of 20.5 kg silver and 2.5 kg gold that was handed over is estimated to be about Rs 2.5 crore.
Sirsa told ThePrint that videos that he and other committees put out of the work being done in fighting the crisis in India, caught the attention of the foreign governments.
While some reached out to him over email, others directly contacted him through WhatsApp, Sirsa said.
“We kept noticing the shortage of hospitals when the second wave hit us and hence we felt this was the need of the hour to have another Covid hospital, especially with a third wave ahead of us,” he added.
Local Sikh communities in the foreign countries have also been pitching in.
“There were some local Sikhs in the US who were keen to donate and this is when the message also reached the New York Mayor’s office who in turn took it upon himself to help out,” Sirsa said.
According to the DSGMC chief, the mayor’s office has so far sent 17 ventilators, 2 ultrasound machines, one portable X-ray machine, 20 BIPAPs and 50 infusion pumps.
Local donors, doctors pitch in
Prominent individuals within India have also been helping.
According to Sirsa, a renowned Sikh personality has donated a CT machine worth Rs 1.5 crore for the hospital.
“The businessman said he didn’t want his name to be revealed,” Sirsa said, adding that Punjab National Bank has handed over an ambulance worth over Rs 13 lakh.
The National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC), has also donated medical equipment worth Rs 7 lakh.
Besides this, prominent doctors of Delhi including cardiovascular surgeon Dr Naresh Trehan; Dr Arvinder Singh Soin of Medanta and Dr K.K, Talwar, who has been advisor to Punjab government on Covid management, are part of a committee that has been helping facilitate the medical resources and technical know-how.
Harmeet Singh Kalka, the DSGMC general secretary, said, “We remain in constant touch with them to understand what else would be required and if there is anything that we might be forgetting in terms of medical infrastructure.”
On Saturday, DSGMC office-bearers have another meeting scheduled with local doctors to understand how many will be willing to offer their consultancy once the hospital is launched.
Not the first Covid facility
This, however, is not the first Covid facility built by the DSGMC.
In the first week of May, the religious body had launched a 400-bed Covid care centre at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj to combat the shortage of beds and resources in the capital city amid the second wave of Covid.
The centre, to treat mild to moderate Covid-19 cases, helped ease the load of the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, which is among the main hospitals in Delhi for Covid treatment.
DSGMC volunteers had also turned six gurdwaras across the city into places of healing and recovery — offering oxygen, food, and free treatment to anyone who might need help.
Sirsa, however, said that unlike others, the under-construction facility will continue to remain a permanent hospital, even after Covid, but a decision hasn’t yet been taken on whether treatment will be free.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.