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Out of work, man turns volunteer

June 07, 2020 05:16 AM

COURTESY HT JUNE 7

Out of work, man turns volunteer
Archana Mishra

archana.mishra@hindustantimes.com

Gurugram : Rakesh Bajaj, who was rendered jobless due to the Covid-19 lockdown, is busy these days making calls to private hospitals to collect details of admitted Covid-19 patients, number of beds, and availability of ventilators, among other information.

“It is a recent task that I have been assigned by the district administration,” said Bajaj, 39, who has been serving the district administration as volunteer for the past two months.

Bajaj was recently appreciated as an unsung hero by the district administration for his selfless work. “Rakesh Bajaj, a 39 year old man who lost his job during Covid-19 lockdown. He is heading a team of 9 volunteers of QRT(quick response team) with MCG. Never asked for a leave and giving 15 hours a day in the record-breaking heat(sic),” the deputy commissioner’s office said in a tweet on May 28.

Bajaj’s last job was with a construction company, where he handled labourers. As work came to a halt due to the nationwide lockdown and workers started leaving for their native towns, the construction site where Bajaj worked was also shut. His employer asked him to stay at home and gave some money.

The situation, however, made him think of construction workers who were dependent on daily wages for survival. A few days after he was laid off, a WhatsApp message circulated by the administration regarding the requirement of volunteers reached Bajaj. “The decision was easy. I applied for it. I was asked to distribute cooked meals at that time,” he said.

Bajaj, who has a 12 -year-old son and a 65-year-old mother, devoted almost 15 hours a day to help the needy. He, along with his team of nine volunteers of QRT, was assigned the duty to provide cooked meals to workers. Reminiscing some of the moments while working as volunteer, Bajaj said, “It was heart wrenching to see migrants huddled under Rajiv Chowk flyover. But we couldn’t stop them from moving. Every day I watched kids walking with their families, unware of the miles they had to cover.”

He was later assigned the duty to supply food to people leaving city. “For the past few weeks, since Shramik Special trains started, I was stationed at Tau Devi Lal Stadium, managing registration of departing people, then coordinating with the team to ensure that the migrants get food and water,” he said. Bajaj now hopes to be able to get a job while continuing to volunteer for as long as required

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