While the rest of the country tirelessly tries to stock up on oxygen cylinders and provide more hospital beds for Covid-19 patients, IAS officer Dr Rajendra Bharud, who is the District Collector of Nandurbar in Maharashtra, has things under control.
You see, while the rest of the country was getting back to normal after the first wave of the pandemic, Dr Bharud was preparing for the future. He had it under consideration that a second wave might strike in the future and hence, prepared for it beforehand.
In an interview with The Week, Dr Bharud says:
“I believed that soon a time could come when there could be a desperate need for oxygen and so we set up a plant with a capacity of 600 litres per minute when there weren’t many cases and we had enough time on our hands.”
Last year, Nandurbar did not have a single oxygen plant. So when the Covid-19 cases were declining, Dr Bharud spent Rs 85 lakhs and set up a liquid oxygen plant at the district hospital in September 2020. In January and February 2021, he set up 2 more oxygen plants, thereby getting fully prepared for what was to come.
During the first wave, the district had 190 Covid patients. However, when the second wave struck, the same district had 1200 patients within 24 hours. But things are under control as the total oxygen capacity in the district is 1,800 litres per minute, keeping aside those from private oxygen producers and in-house resources.
“We utilised the funds from the district planning and development and the state disaster relief fund because the point is to not let a single person die because of the want of oxygen,” he said.
Besides oxygen supply, Dr Bharud has also made sure that the district, which has a population of 16 lakhs, has adequate beds and isolation wards for patients. According to Hindustan Times, the district has 150 vacant beds currently and has also slashed the positivity rate of the virus by 30%.
He revealed that he used a “combination of resources” including district planning and development funds, state disaster relief funds, and mobilised the CSR units to meet the expenses.
Kudos to Dr Bharud and his timely planning!