Pune: Television journalist Pandurang Raykar (42) succumbed to Covid-19 disease on Wednesday (September 2) morning 5.30 am as he could not avail good treatment due to unavailability of cardiac ambulance and ventilator in the newly set up jumbo hospital facility at the College of Engineering Pune (COEP) ground in the city. Pandurang is survived by his wife, two children and parents.
Pandurang Raikar had a cold and fever on August 20. He had gone for treatment to a doctor. He had conducted Covid test on August 27, but had tested negative. After that, he went to his hometown Kopargaon in Nagar district. He was symptomatic till then and decided to conduct the test again, which came positive for Covid-19. He tried to get admitted in a private hospital in Kopargaon, but was demanded Rs 40 thousand in advance. Since his financial condition was not good, Pandurang decided to shift to the government jumbo hospital facility at COEP ground.
On Sunday, August 30, Pandurang was shifted from Kopargaon to the COEP jumbo hospital. He was undergoing treatment but his condition was deteriorating. Pandurang’s friends from media circles tried to locate a hospital with a vacant ventilator bed for the entire day but they could not find one. Finally, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital (DMH) informed that they had one bed vacant for the patient. A cardiac ambulance was needed to shift Pandurang from the jumbo hospital to DMH, but the ambulance at jumbo hospital was not available as the ventilator system in it was not functioning.
Meanwhile, Pandurang’s oxygen saturation level was decreasing. Pandurang had dropped a message on a Whatsapp group of journalists at about 1.30 am. His message stated “I am disheartened, please take me out from here”. Finally, an ambulance was made available from DMH itself around 5 am but by then Pandurang had lost the battle against Covid-19. He was declared dead by the time the cardiac ambulance reached the jumbo hospital facility.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has sought a report in this case. He has ordered an inquiry to be conducted by the Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao. He also said that Health Minister Rajesh Tope has asked the Pune District Collector and Pune Municipal Commissioner to inquire into the matter. Health Minister Rajesh Tope has assured Pandurang’s family to get the insurance amount disbursed as early as possible. Tope also said that any journalist working during the Covid-19 period will receive all kinds of assistance as they are working while risking their lives.
Many people have mourned the loss of journalist with many politicians reacting on their social media handles. Nitesh Rane, MLA of Kankavli vidhansabha and son of former CM Narayan Rane expressed his anger on social media demanding resignation of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.