India’s Houses of worship rise up to help as second COVID-19 wave hits

Daily News Egypt
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As India struggles with a second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, several temples across the nation have come forward to offer aid and assistance to fight the battle.

As new cases surge in Gujarat, the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple of Vadodara has converted its Yagnapurush Sabhagruh into a COVID-19 facility. 

The COVID-19 care centre is equipped with 500 beds, oxygen facilities such as liquid oxygen tanks and piped oxygen lines, ICU beds, and ventilators. 

The facility has been operational since 13 April, and has so far admitted 45 COVID-19 patients from a nearby hospital for further treatment.

Gyan Vatsal Swami of the Shri Swaminarayan Temple said, “We are providing all the non-medical facilities for patients, and we have arranged for oxygen and ventilators including the ICU rooms apart from fans and air-coolers.” 

Swami added, “Currently, there 300 beds are operational and 200 will be added soon.”

Puri’s Shree Jagannath Temple Administration has decided to convert its Nilachal Bhakta Nivas into a COVID-19 Care Centre. This 120 bed facility will also act as a dedicated centre for servitors and officials associated with the temple infected with the coronavirus.

Apart from this, the temple had pledged a donation of Rs 1.51 crore towards the Chief Minister Relief Fund to aid the government in this fight. 

A letter by the temple registration read, “As per the decision of the Managing Committee of Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, an amount of Rs.1,51.00.000/- (one crore fifty-one lakh) is contributed towards Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for COVID-19 from Temple Administration.”

Along with Jagannath Puri, 62 other smaller temples in Orissa donated to the CMRF.

Meanwhile, the Pawandham Temple in Mumbai’s Kandivali has converted its four-storey building into a COVID-19 quarantine centre equipped with 100 beds. Out of the 100, 50 beds are equipped with an oxygen concentrator unit, oximeters, pulse metre, portable BP apparatus, and monitor machine among others. Additionally, more than 50 medical staff including 10 doctors are deployed in the facility.

Santosh Singh, a Managing Committee Member of the temple said, “We have so far got 50 beds ready, we have tied up with Apex Hospital for healthcare support like doctors, medical staff. All we are waiting for is the critical oxygen supply before that comes we can’t start. Assurance has been given by some suppliers but let’s see.”

The temple which was converted into a COVID-19 centre last year, and has treated more than 2,000 patients.

The Mahavir Temple at Patna is providing free oxygen cylinders to the infected. It started its work of providing free oxygen on the 30th of April.

A Jain Temple in Mumbai has been converted to a COVID-19 care centre. A 100-bed pathology lab was built here last year, and 2,000 patients were treated.

Meanwhile, the Sant Gajanan Maharaj Temple, is one of the largest religious centres in the state. Here, separate isolation complexes of 500 beds have been built for COVID suspects and patients. It has a community kitchen that prepares food for 2,000 people. This food is given to everyone for free.

In view of the deteriorating COVID-19 conditions in Mumbai, the temple was converted into a COVID-19 hospital some time ago. The temple chief assured that the treatment of the patients here would be taken care of by the temple committee.

Arrangement has been made by the ISKCON Temple to provide free food for the elderly, children, patients, and pregnant women. A helpline number 9717544444 has been issued by ISKCON. A separate kitchen has been started by the Temple for the purpose.

Indore’s Radhaswami Satsang Vyas, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, has been made the second largest COVID-19 care centre in the country. It has been named “Maa Ahilya Kovid Care Center”. A maximum of 6,000 beds can be arranged here.

 Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra has announced the setting up of an oxygen plant at the Ram Mandir Temple, Ayodhya, in view of the coronavirus crisis. The trust will bear the expenses of Rs 55 lakhs. This oxygen plant will be set up at Dasharatha Medical College.

The Tirupati Temple is often at the top of the list in terms of charity. Last year amidst the coronavirus crisis, migrant labourers were accommodated here.

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is one of the holiest shrines for Hindus, has been feeding the patients suffering from COVID-19. 

The famous Sarangpur Hanuman Mandir in the Botad district of Gujarat, had converted its Dharamshala into a 100-bed hospital to tend to the coronavirus patients last year.

Last year too, when the pandemic’s first wave hit the country, many Hindu temples had poured in millions in donations, providing food and shelter for the needy, and had stood up to support the nation through the crisis.

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