Thiruvananthapuram, May 16 : Amid the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic across the country, a travel agency owner in Kerala’s Balaramapuram has turned a good samaritan by converting a van into an ambulance with several essential medical supplies inside it, including an oxygen cylinder.
Shahjahan, 54, runs a travel agency at Balaramapuram in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.
Though the Kerala Health department has been making efforts to provide ambulances and other vehicles and infrastructure to cater to the people affected by the pandemic, at times it gets stuck as the demand is more when the infected cases pile up requiring immediate attention and transportation to hospitals with oxygen necessity.
Moved by the plight of several people who had to wait in uncertainty for the ambulances to getting admitted, Shahjahan chipped in converting his tourist van into an ambulance.
The ambulance is fitted with an oxygen cylinder and the service comes for free-of-cost, providing timely attention to the patients the ambulance is available round the clock.
At present, the travel agency owner-cum-driver-turned philanthropist has converted one van into an ambulance. He is willing for more makeover of his vans into ambulances if necessary.
The youngest mayor of the country, Arya Rajendran of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, flagged off the ambulance from the premises of the corporation office on Saturday.
Shahjahan speaking to IANS said, “At present, there are insufficient ambulances here even though the state Health department has done everything in its capacity to help the Covid-19 patients. There is a shortage of ambulances and the demand is more. I thought that I could chip in with whatever little I could do during this pandemic and hence this ambulance.”
The 17-seat van was converted into an ambulance after replacing seats by a stretcher.
Shahjahan said, “Once there is a call from the hospital or an SOS from a patient or his family, the ambulance is ready for service and the oxygen will be refilled either from the hospital or from the oxygen war room functioning here.”
He has a few drivers at his disposal even though there is no business as travel industry is the one hit most by the pandemic. He is willing to drive the ambulance if the situation arises. He has already received permission from the Balaramapuram panchayat and Motor Vehicles department and is waiting to get an approval from the district collector.