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COVID-19: How does a Red Army, Sourav Ganguly and celebs fight it in Kolkata?

Kolkata: their shady figures on motorcycles have become quite commonplace in the Kolkata metropolis – and this is a suburb – since the second wave of COVID-19 came home somewhere in early April. While one of them rides the bike, the other balances an oxygen cylinder steadfastly as they ride a pill in the strange hours of the day while trying to locate the next crisis-stricken house that called their helpline a while back has. Meet the ‘Red Volunteers’, members of the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who have earned wholehearted applause and blessings from a city that has struggled over the past two months under the onslaught of the pandemic. The bitter, high-decibel elections that kept the West Bengal state in check until May 2 in particular did not help – as experts said at public meetings, polls led to a frightening 40% increase in the positivity rate during this period. The result of the election showed that the party had drawn a blank for the first time since India’s independence – but the volunteer group’s attempt to lend a helping hand to families in dire need of oxygen was a bed for critics. persons. patient or medicine. The CPI (M), which has always been proud of its cadre base when governing the state, has mobilized their youth units at the district level since the nationwide lockdown in India was instituted with the start of the pandemic in March last year. ” A year ago there was not so little oxygen. Our job then was mainly to arrange food and medicine. This time, the cry for oxygen and hospital beds is worrying. That is why the nature of our work has changed, ” said Srijan Bhattacharya, State Secretary of the Student Federation of India (SFI). The name Red Volunteers was surely created to indicate the brand of the party? ‘As far as I can remember, the name Red Volunteers was suggested by our leader Shamik Lahiri. In a year, the network has grown so wide that I can not tell you how many teams are currently working, ” said Bhattacharya, who lost the election from the controversial seat of Singur – the constituency where Nano is complex. of Tatas could not ascend. The Facebook group Red Volunteers shows a membership of 75,000 members since July last year – and this has probably increased many times over the past ten months – while handling around 3,000 emergency calls a day during these difficult times. The unprecedented health emergency has, almost organically, forged an invisible human chain to combat the threat in the City of Joy – and these brave volunteers are not alone in this. If someone like Sourav Ganguly, the ‘Dada’ of Indian cricket is on one end of the spectrum, the Who ‘Who of the local film and music industry makes a contribution to some of the biggest local entrepreneurs to provide logistical support in their own right . away to an already overworked and fragile healthcare system.

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Ganguly, who sporadically retired during the first wave to supply food pellets or groceries to charities, decided to address the most important need of the hour – oxygen supply. A wing of his office, Willow Towers, adjacent to his residence, is a hub of activities to provide oxygen concentrators to small hospitals and non-governmental organizations, with his childhood friend Sanjoy Das coordinating the entire operation. The lack of hospital beds has made the role of ‘safe homes’, where Covid-positive patients with mild symptoms can enter and get the first medical help and oxygen adequately until a bed is placed. The largest of such facilities has set up a 25-bed facility set up by Artists’ Form, the official representative of the industry and named ‘Soumitra’, the trespian who died at the end of last year due to Covid-related complications. While the Artists’ Forum initiative is only meant to accommodate their members, Tollywood A-lister Jisshu Sengupta joined hands with music director Indradip Dasgupta to set one up for the public, while people like Parambrata Chatterjee, Riddhi Sen along with singer and music composer Anupam Roy formed their group ‘Citizens’ Response’ to set up two of them in different parts of the city. Deb Adhikari, one of the leading men in Bengal cinema and a Trinamool Congress MP, may not be exactly a Sonu Sood, but has been pouring in his resources for over a year now – whether it’s charter flights to be stranded Bring back Indians from the UAE, who are in a hurry with the medical aid or organize a network to distribute food cooked in its fancy restaurant, ‘Tolly Tales’, to the public for a while. In these wild times, often a verified phone number or phone numbers – whether for oxygen, bed, medicine, groceries or even homemade food for isolated families who cannot retire, play a very important role. Srijit Mukherjee, an award-winning director and at the best of times a productive director, decided to tidy everything up and devote a few hours a day (and nights) to his social media handles – soSS emergency calls, phone numbers on his Facebook wall and twitter – often confirms this himself. Along with the challenge is someone like Swastika Mukherjee, a Bengali actor who carved a niche for herself in Sushant Singh Rajput’s latest film ‘Dil Bechara’ or the award-winning web series ‘Patal Lok’. The list is simply endless, but it will be incomplete if the famous singer Lopamudra Mitra is not mentioned. The topic of mental health is very important in these times and Mitra and her husband and composer Joy Sarkar have launched a unique initiative to share their phone numbers in public and ask the Covid patients to call them for a bit chat. cheers and music to ward off any form of negativity.