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Priceless service for free

The Roychowdhurys had chosen a particularly bad day to come to Mumbai. But they had no alternative. The family from West Bengal was here seeking treatment for its patriarch at Tata Memorial Hospital. The paralysed transport system wasn’t helping matters. They found their saviours in the form of two charitable trusts that were ferrying patients for free from Dadar railway station to their desired hospitals and back. Hari Om Charitable Association and Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha proved saviours for many.


Two sides of the bandh: Commuters queue outside Dadar station waiting for a share taxi

The services were available between 9 am and 8 pm yesterday. Three vans were running from Dadar station to hospitals like KEM, Tata Memorial and Hinduja. “Each vehicle took around 10-12 rounds on an hourly basis, accommodating as many patients as possible. We chose Dadar as the centre because of its proximity to main hospitals in the city,” said Suresh Vijan, secretary of Hari Om Charitable Association.


Members of the charitable trusts offered free rides to patients wanting to go to Tata Hospital. Pics/Shadab Khan

Their voluntary initiative has been well appreciated by the many who benefited from it. “My father is undergoing treatment for cancer. Being new to Mumbai, we aren’t familiar with the roads either. Because of the strike, we were apprehensive about finding means of transport. But we are grateful to them for providing this service,” said Sumona Roychowdhury, who used the service to travel between Dadar and Tata Memorial Hospital.

Another patient, Santosh Kumar, who commuted from KEM, said, “Not everyone can afford a private vehicle. And at a time when there is a dearth of autos and taxis, this facility has proved to be a boon for patients like me.”  

“If the strike continues, we will carry on providing this free transport service,” said Kuldeep Kumar Phul, a member of Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha. 

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