New Delhi: As the country is struggling during the ongoing Covid crisis, the problems are getting scarier for all of us. It is happening despite people stepping in to make the situation a bit more bearable. Since the second wave of covid emerged, oxygen crisis, bed crisis, and limited resources have started crippling the authorities with loads of problems and they are unable to provide solutions.
However, several startups of Delhi NCR joined hands for a collective effort in procuring oxygen concentrators in India. "As a concerned group of startup founders, we started a campaign on Ketto on April 23 to raise funds to initially import 250 oxygen concentrators to urgently help India overcome the shortage of oxygen across hospitals. However, we saw an overwhelming response from the community at large who generously came together and donated to help people and hospitals in need. Within only a few days of starting the campaign, people donated funds to procure more than 1,300 concentrators. We’re all working round the clock to make sure that these concentrators reach India at the earliest,” said Gautam Chopra, co-founder and CEO of BeatO, a digital health platform for chronic condition management.
On the April 23, several startup companies of Delhi NCR started an initiative named ‘Mission Oxygen’, in which founders of Designhill, BeatO, Lattice, Satvacart, BreatheEasy, Hubhopper, Cuttlefish and many other startups came forward for procuring Oxygen concentrators in India through crowdfunding. While the startup companies also got enlightened with the support of United Way, a globally recognised NGO.
The five days counted very important tasks for these startups, they largely created a community of 250 entrepreneurs from Gurugram, for the task of procuring quality assurance, certifications, due diligence, freight forwarding, air freight management, customs [India and China], logistics, legal research, PR communications, demand/requirement collection and distribution.
For ground check and safe travel of the oxygen concentrators, the startups have 40-50 people on the ground in China in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing. Along with this, quality check is safely adhered to, as the companies are directly procuring from all CE, ISO and FDA approved vendors. The machines are 10 litres and above in capacity including 93 per cent plus air purity together with 22OV power.
The startups were expecting funding of Rs 5 crore, which were raised through Ketto, a crowdfunding online platform. From Friday night it exceeded up to Rs 10 crores and presently up to Rs 14.5 crores, which they have remitted to their vendors and agents. They have already confirmed 1,365 concentrations concerning specifications and certifications from seven different companies.
Some of the machines have already landed in India while some bookings have already been taken care of which will be available within a few days. According to our information gathered from the companies, 100 machines have already arrived in India from Hong Kong. 50 machines are under a custom clearance in Shanghai, other 50 machines are again under a custom clearance in Hong Kong, while 300 machines are going to reach Shanghai warehouse by today, 500 machines are getting dispatched from factory located in Shenyang to Beijing, other 300 machines are getting dispatched from the factory today in Qingdao for Beijing and the rest 800 machines will be airlifted with a charter organised that will land on May 3 straight from Beijing.
“We are also on 1-1 with all the top air freight companies presently working on the India to China route. We understand the on-ground situation in China and have the supply chain completely in control despite the chaos and we know time is of the essence, so we want to move very quickly to procure complete air cargo loads of 1,500 concentrators each from China starting May 10. (Considering China is closed from May 1-5 and nothing that is ordered now can move out before that),” says Gautam Chopra.
They further mentioned that for the distribution of oxygen concentrators, they are in contact with Directorate General, Border Security Force [head quarters], Indian Army, Chairman ESIC, Directors/Medical Superintendent's/Administrative heads of 240 government hospitals including private hospitals and nursing homes across 13 states adding state governments in Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana.
As of now, the requirements are coming from all these states, while the allocations are decided on the criteria of actual needs. There are few criteria through which the oxygen concentrators will be distributed to the hospitals, mostly government hospitals where the number of patients is more and the need is high. Also to the small private nursing homes, private hospitals and isolation centres need resources. On-ground working warriors who are helping underprivileged communities will be also provided with oxygen concentrators.
The funding is coming from all over the world and it is overwhelming that people are helping from every corner as much as they can, the startups are confident that through their effort they can bring oxygen concentrators between Rs 3,000-6,000 in India by May 14-15.