How industrialist Rahul Bajaj drove Pune’s fight against the second Covid-19 wave

Published on Feb 13, 2022 10:26 PM IST

Bajaj donated over 10 lakh doses of Covisheild and 11 lakh syringes when the administration struggled to get the stock

Industrialist Rahul Bajaj was cremated with full state honours at Vaikunth Smashan Bhumi, Navi Peth on Sunday. (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)
Industrialist Rahul Bajaj was cremated with full state honours at Vaikunth Smashan Bhumi, Navi Peth on Sunday. (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)
BySteffy Thevar

PUNE Amidst the pandemic when Pune was the worst affected district in the state, Bajaj group had stepped up to provide health infrastructure and machinery to government hospitals. The group also set aside 100 crore for the fight against Covid19.

The group supplied over 10 lakh doses of vaccine to Pune Zilla parishad, PMC and PCMC during and after the second wave along with 11 lakh syringes when the administration was struggling to get supplies from the state and central government.

A day after his passing, officials in Pune administration recalled how Rahul Bajaj and his group’s philanthropy helped the civic body fight a much more deadly second wave and also strengthened the public health facilities. Rahul Bajaj breathed his last on Saturday at Pune’s Ruby Hall clinic. He was 83.

Ayush Prasad, chief executive officer, Pune Zilla Parishad said, “Pune has certainly lost one of its most eminent citizens. He led industrial development in the district and created thousands of jobs. Through his charitable donations, the people of Pune District have benefitted in many ways from vaccination against Covid-19. We received over three lakh doses of the vaccine at a time when we needed them the most. During the deadly second wave, these vaccines helped save lives as we were struggling to meet the high demand and short supply.”

Pankaj Ballabh, vice president, Bajaj Auto said, “The group has made a contribution of 300 crore to fight the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.The group’s Covid response activities were carried out in two phases. In the first wave, the focus was healthcare systems upgradation, the second phase dealt with mitigating the urgent oxygen crises. The group set aside 200 crore towards key healthcare infrastructure upgradation. It was spent towards procurement of equipment, consumables, protective gear and setting up of Covid care centres. Thirteen key hospitals across Pune were distributed medical equipment such as ventilators, HFNOs, Extra Corporeal Membrane machines and CT scan machines.”

The group also set up Pune’s largest Covid vare ventre in Vimannagar with a capacity of 2,800 beds with the support of the group’s Covid response funds. In addition to this, 21 facilities were targeted for key healthcare upgradation. Under operation of Tele ICU, remote rural hospitals in Khed and Bhor were transformed into functional ICUs, according to Ballabh.

Ajay Sathe, group head CSR, Bajaj Finserv said, “In addition to vaccine supply, we launched Mission Vayu to alleviate the oxygen crises through airlifting oxygen concentrators & BiPAP machines from Singapore to India. The Bajaj Group supported installation of 4 oxygen plants in key rural hospitals in Pune District viz., SDH Manchar (100 beds), RH Chandoli (45 beds), RH Nrayangaon (30 beds) and RH Vadgaon Maval (30 beds). Other support to these facilities included providing key infrastructure.”

Some of the other noteworthy contributions made by Bajaj group during the pandemic were, partnership with CSR organisation to ensure supply of ration and cooked meals in the core districts to distressed families where the Bajaj Group operates. The group ran a ‘Safe Commute Campaign’ to provide safety partitions between passenger and drivers to 1.4 lakh autos. The lack of digital access of learning for underprivileged children was mitigated by distribution of 40 tabs to identified children. Taking help of NGO partner community outreach programs like capacity building of frontline heath workers and awareness generation on Covid-19 were provided.

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