Mumbai: Even as Maharashtra breathes easy after the dreaded COVID-19 second wave, essential workers, corporators, and hospitals prepare for a possible third wave in the next two months. The state, which saw 61,336 deaths during the two months, still records the highest COVID cases across India per day.
Few, however, are thinking about extending this preparedness towards rural regions in the state – places like Palghar, Dahanu, Umargaon and Talasari. That’s where Maharashtra’s Karulkar Pratishthan comes into the picture.
Anticipating tough times ahead, this NGO has laid the foundation for a steady supply of food, medicines, delivery chains and speedy access to critical care for the state’s rural and remote regions.
“We’re ensuring daily workers, migrants, tribals, and essential workers do not have to worry about food, medicines or funds ahead of a third wave. The last two waves left a devastating impact on these sections, even as the police, medical workers, and essential supply struggled to manage the situation. We will do everything possible to safeguard these regions from such tragedy again,” said Prashant Karulkar, Founder, Karulkar Pratishthan.
The Pratishthan has put together 12 ambulances across the state for this task, foodgrains and life-saving medicines worth Rs. 25 lakh. They have also collaborated with district-level hospitals across the state to help with a standby supply of oxygen cylinders, alongside need-based arrangements for ventilator beds. They also have procured PPE equipment and general nursing supplies worth an additional Rs. 10 lakh.
Over the last 52 years, Karulkar Pratishthan has helped thousands of rural families across Maharashtra and Gujarat achieve self-reliance. They’ve set up schools, arranged for medical care and financial aid whenever required, specifically in remote, regional areas.
When India declared a nationwide lockdown during the first COVID-19 wave, they began distributing foodgrains, meals and water to more than 1 lakh migrant labourers who had started to walk home on the national highway. They also distributed food packets for essential workers (police, hospital and corporation staff) and the tribal populace in Maharashtra.
Doorstep delivery of medicines and PPE supplies for COVID positive patients, alongside regular financial aid for daily vendors like flower and vegetable sellers, were other items on their agenda.
Apart from regular financial aid, they also arranged transport facilities for these people within the ambit of COVID-19 protocols and social distancing guidelines. These services extended to more than 1000 farmers across regions like Palghar, Dahanu, Umargaon and Sarasari on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border.
During the second wave, volunteers at the Pratishthan partnered with local authorities and set up a 24/7 network to arrange for essential needs for rural regions. They took end-to-end ownership of organising COVID tests, medicines, over 1500 cylinders of oxygen and hospital beds for these people.
Maharashtra has acknowledged their role in helping people across the state. The state’s governor Bhagat Singh Koshiari presented the Karulkar Pratishthan with ‘Corona Devdoot‘.
“The Karulkar Pratishthan dreams of achieving a smile on every face. Our vision is a self-reliant rural India emerging from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” added Karulkar.