For many patients stranded without public transport, a free ambulance service run by the Gurudwara Sri Dasmesh Darbar, at Sion Koliwada on Monday, proved a boon.
The gurudwara, which also runs the Baba Jeevan Singh Memorial Medical Centre, pressed six of the centre's ambulances into service for hospital patients and their relatives. The free service picked up patients outside Dadar station and dropped them off at KEM Hospital and Tata Memorial Hospital at Parel and Sion Hospital.
"Each of the six ambulances made about thirty trips on Monday. About 85 per cent of the people we helped were cancer patients from Tata Memorial Hospital, who were dropped home from the hospital.
"Three cancer patients were even dropped from the hospital to the airport, from where they had to take a flight," said Tara Singh, president, Baba Jeevan Singh Memorial Medical Centre, who estimated that about 1,000 people were helped by the service on Monday.
Delhi residents, Omwati Gupta and her husband, who recently underwent a cancer surgery, were picked up from S.L Raheja Hospital in Mahim and dropped to the airport. "The ambulance service was very helpful. Things would have been very difficult otherwise," said Gupta. "Bandhs disrupt lives and are a lot of trouble, especially for people who want to get to hospitals for treatment," added Singh.
At Dadar station, the Om Charitable Trust set up a free tea stall.
"It is a relief that someone is serving tea and snacks when all eateries in the area are shut," said Anand Vasu, a Matunga resident who came from Andhra Pradesh on Monday morning.