Mumbai: Dancer, choreographer and actor Raghav Juyal has been working hard to help people especially in rural Uttarakhand amid the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opening up on what inspired him to take up this initiative, Raghav told IANS: “My acquaintances and I have been receiving distress calls from rural Uttarakhand for oxygen and life saving equipment for COVID-19 positive patients. We connected with some government officers to understand the situation and we were told that help from all quarters at this time is crucial. The government has also assured us to support us in Uttarakhand in all possible manner.”
The 29-year-old Dehradun boy expressed gratitude to those who have stood beside him in this noble cause.
“My friends, acquaintances, followers, our volunteers, friends from the TV and film Industry, government officials, and donors from around the world — I’m amazed and overwhelmed to see how everyone is standing with us in this initiative,” he said.
Quizzed on what Raghav and his team have done till now to help the common people in the state, he informed: “We were able to send some D Type cylinders to help Pauri Garhwal with the help of officers and field volunteers. This achievement motivated my team, and now we have many more oxygen cylinders, medicines and beds coming for hill districts to save lives of needy villagers in far flung hills of Himalayas.
“At present over 130 volunteers, mostly from different parts of the country, are helping us to help patients find ambulances, oxygen beds, oxygen cylinders, ICU beds, blood donors, etc. People are also working on ground to manage logistics in more than 10 districts.”
Opening up on the problems he is facing in this initiative, the dancer said: “Availability of amenities, equipment, medicines, supplies etc in remote villages was an issue as was the non-availability of skilled technicians to operate oxygen cylinders and concentrators. Managing the logistics between different cities and villages in hills in an emergency situation is another challenge.”
Raghav also appeals for more fund to carry out his task.
“So far we have exhausted all our aids and are in the process of raising more funds. We’ve started a fundraising campaign and need more people who can donate to us as we aim to cover approx 5000 villages.”
Working with COVID-19 affected people can pose a health risk for him, too.
Asked about the same, Raghav informed: “My family and I have recovered from COVID recently. We couldn’t get the time to rest as the second wave of COVID made its way into remote villages. We are following all the protocols like double mask, PPE kit for volunteers working on the ground and sanitisation of medical supply boxes etc.”
Quizzed if critics call his gesture a publicity stunt, what would he say in reply? Raghav smiled: “Critics will always have an opinion about anything and everything. I will do whatever it takes to help the people of Uttarakhand. I appeal to my friends, followers and critics to come together and create teams to adopt villages that need help. Any village in the country can be adopted, all we have to do is extend helping hands urgently.”