Meet ‘Oxygen Man’ Of Patna, A COVID Survivor, Who Strives To Get Oxygen Cylinders To Critical Patients In Home Care

Meet ‘Oxygen Man’ Of Patna, A COVID Survivor, Who Strives To Get Oxygen Cylinders To Critical Patients In Home Care


Meet ‘Oxygen Man’ Of Patna, A COVID Survivor, Who Strives To Get Oxygen Cylinders To Critical Patients In Home CareHere is the story of 51-year-old Gaurav Rai from Patna, Bihar who has helped save over 1,500 lives by providing them with oxygen cylinders

  • Gaurav Rai started an oxygen bank in July 2020
  • He has provided oxygen cylinders to over 1,700 people so far
  • Out of total people he helped, 1,586 have survived

New Delhi: In July 2020, he was hit by COVID-19. When the situation worsened and his oxygen saturation level dropped, he visited several hospitals but the medical oxygen was found only in one. As there was no bed available, he was given oxygen in a make-shift arrangement while lying on the ground beside a sewer outside a government hospital in Patna. As his health kept deteriorating, he felt ditched by the system and his friends who ignored his plea for help. He decided to go back home and wait for death. The next day his wife arranged for three oxygen cylinders somehow and his life was saved. This prompted him to do something about the lack of essential medical facilities in the capital city of Bihar. He decided to focus on tackling the issue of the oxygen shortage and so, he started an oxygen bank along with his wife.

Also Read: Internet Saathis In Bihar Are Helping The Community Fight COVID-19 Pandemic By Educating About Hygiene Measures

This is the story of 51-year-old Gaurav Rai, a resident of Patna, Bihar who is now fondly known as ‘Oxygen Man’. Mr Rai strives to get oxygen to the needy free of cost. In his new journey along with his wife Aruna Bharadwaj, he found support in some of his friends living in the United States of America, people working in his office, strangers on social media and Bihar Foundation which is an autonomous body formed by the Department of Industries, Government of Bihar in 2010, which seeks to reach out to non-resident people of Bihar. While talking to NDTV, Mr Rai said,

My life was saved because of some hours of oxygen supply. I do not want anyone to die due to the lack of oxygen. I started this journey with three cylinders that my wife had arranged. Gradually, some doctors and citizens came forward and donated cylinders. While I was serving the people in Patna, the word got out and a friend of mine in the USA sent me 200 cylinders through Bihar Foundation.

51-year-old Gaurav Rai, a resident of Patna, Bihar is now fondly known as ‘Oxygen Man’
51-year-old Gaurav Rai, a resident of Patna, Bihar is now fondly known as ‘Oxygen Man’

Manager in a private company, Mr Rai now has 255 oxygen cylinders of 10 kilograms each. On buying, maintaining and delivering oxygen cylinders that cost about Rs. 7,000 each, Mr Rai has spent over Rs. 5 lakh of his own savings and has been able to gather about Rs 7 lakh as donations from others. He has provided oxygen cylinder to 1,714 patients so far. Out of those, 32 died in the first wave last year and 96 succumbed to the deadly virus during the second wave. Rest all have recovered, he said. While in Patna, Mr Rai delivers the oxygen cylinder to the patient’s house himself, in other districts the service is being provided through Bihar Foundation. Mr Rai said he gets the empty cylinders filled from a generous dealer located in Patna for a modest Rs. 200 each.

Whatever time I get after office, I am engaged in serving the people. During these unprecedented times, even during office hours, I respond when people reach out to me for help. If possible, I go and deliver the cylinder myself but when I am unable to go, I call them to my office where I give them the cylinder and also show them how to install and use it. I have also trained some of my office staff members and guards at my residential building on operating an oxygen cylinder. They help me on a regular basis. My blue WagorR in which I keep at least 5-6 cylinders at all times has now become quite famous among people in Patna. Apart from COVID patients and their families, I also get calls from hospitals for oxygen cylinders.

In order to avail the oxygen cylinder service, one needs to simply contact him on WhatsApp or via social media. To ensure that oxygen cylinders are being given to those who are actually in need and not hoarders, Mr Rai insists on a doctor’s prescription. At present, 72 patients are on oxygen provided by him. He said that wherever he delivers oxygen, he reaches their house again after the patient is cured. This time, with a cake in his hands, to celebrate their recovery and to help them realise how important it is to help save someone’s life.

Also Read: From Delhi, Andhra Pradesh To Bihar, ‘Yamraj’ Hits The Streets Of India To Create Awareness About Coronavirus

For 20-year-old Neha Gupta, Mr Rai was a God sent who helped her father recover from COVID-19 She said,

We were struggling to get a hospital bed and were extremely scared that we might lose our father to this pandemic. I got Mr Rai’s phone number from somewhere and he willingly agreed to bring an oxygen cylinder to our house. He explained to us the procedure of using the oxygen cylinder in an efficient manner. He gave our father a new life. We cannot thank him enough.

Preeti, whose husband was saved because of the timely help received from Mr Rai, said that he was nothing less than an angel, a superhuman. She said,

Gaurav bhaiya (brother) helped us in the worst hour of our lives. We can never forget how enthusiastically he came to our house with an oxygen cylinder and motivated us to believe that good things will happen. He is still in touch with us. People of Patna will remember him for years to come.

Challenges Faced While Serving Those In Need

Talking about the challenges being faced on a daily basis while trying to serve those in need, he said that there have been some instances of misuse by not returning the cylinders or causing damage to its parts. Mr Rai said that out of all the people he helped during the pandemic, 57 refused to return the cylinder. It took a lot of convincing, time and energy to get 35 cylinders back but 22 are still stuck with patients who have recovered but are not ready to return the cylinder.

Mr Rai also shared that because of the sudden increase in demand for oxygen in the second wave, it has become difficult for him to procure new cylinders or flow meters, breathing pipe and other parts of the cylinder. Appealing to the administration to take a strict stand on the unreasonable prices at which the cylinder and its parts are available for right now, Mr Rai said,

In the second wave of the pandemic, suddenly the oxygen pipe which was available for Rs. 20-25 has been increased to Rs. 200. At the same time, the prices of wrenches have also increased more than 10 times. The situation is that the flow meter which was available for Rs. 1200 has been increased to Rs. 5000. In such a situation, the administration should take action and put a cap on the prices on the cylinder as it is a life saver.

Do Not Lose Hope, Life Has A Purpose, So Make The Most Of It: Mr Rai

When the capital city of Patna was scrambling with the flood in October 2019, Mr Rai was actively helping people hit by it. While being on the ground during the floods, he contracted Dengue and then became a victim of paralysis due to which he lost his voice completely. It was during this time that Mr Rai even contemplated suicide.

It was the most difficult time of my life. I had given up completely. I attempted to commit suicide but at that moment it hit me that there are so many people in the world who are living with many types of disabilities. Maybe I should also try to overcome this challenge. My voice came back after some months and even though it is not fully recovered, I am extremely grateful for my life. I do not know how many years I have with me now but what I do know is that all those years will be spent doing whatever I can to help others and celebrate life. Each life has its own purpose. So, we must make the most of it and never lose hope.

Apart from helping mitigate the issue of lack of oxygen, Mr Rai also organises food distribution frequently. Earlier, before the pandemic hit the country, in his quest to serve people, Mr Rai installed sanitary napkin vending machines in seven government schools in and around Patna. His target is to ensure that there is a sanitary napkin vending machine in all government schools of Patna. Not only this, every month Mr Rai distributes cycles to two girls from poor households. He has decided to dedicate the savings of his late father to the service of those in need. Mrs Bharadwaj, his wife, who works in an insurance company also donates a part of her income per month towards the philanthropic work undertaken by Mr Rai.

Also Read: 1-20 Age Group Accounted For Less Than 12 Per Cent Of COVID Cases In Both Waves: Government

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene






Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,70,28,201 and 38,32,676 have died; 5,80,62,257 are active cases and 11,51,33,268 have recovered as on June 17, 2021 at 3:36 am.


2,97,00,313 67,208Cases


2,84,91,670 1,03,570Recovered

3,81,903 2,330Deaths

In India, there are 2,97,00,313 confirmed cases including 3,81,903 deaths. The number of active cases is 8,26,740 and 2,84,91,670 have recovered as on June 17, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

59,34,880 10,107

1,39,744 1,696

56,79,746 10,567

1,15,390 1,236


27,84,355 7,345

1,51,587 10,716

25,99,472 17,913

33,296 148


27,61,474 13,270

1,10,226 2,566

26,39,593 15,689

11,655 147

Tamil Nadu

23,88,746 10,448

1,14,335 10,880

22,44,073 21,058

30,338 270

Andhra Pradesh

18,26,751 6,617

71,466 3,668

17,43,176 10,228

12,109 57

Uttar Pradesh

17,03,458 251

6,496 725

16,74,999 927

21,963 49

West Bengal

14,71,231 3,187

21,152 1,106

14,32,961 2,012

17,118 69


14,31,710 212

2,749 329

14,04,085 516

24,876 25


9,88,745 573

11,126 591

9,64,265 1,152

13,354 12


9,50,413 280

4,962 657

9,36,586 928

8,865 9


8,63,061 3,535

42,270 2,088

8,17,359 5,579

3,432 44


8,21,376 298

8,242 642

8,03,122 935

10,012 5

Madhya Pradesh

7,88,809 160

3,273 337

7,76,887 463

8,649 34


7,66,606 249

3,579 124

7,53,918 334

9,109 39


7,18,319 370

3,991 369

7,04,805 730

9,523 9


6,07,925 1,489

19,975 42

5,84,429 1,436

3,521 11


5,89,828 675

10,046 756

5,64,084 1,383

15,698 48


4,69,976 3,386

39,653 1,531

4,26,259 4,881

4,064 36


3,43,983 190

2,246 400

3,36,645 587

5,092 3


3,37,802 353

3,572 70

3,27,233 411

6,997 12

Jammu And Kashmir

3,09,361 635

11,381 1,026

2,93,763 1,649

4,217 12

Himachal Pradesh

1,99,407 210

3,733 317

1,92,260 523

3,414 4


1,63,358 310

4,044 131

1,56,354 428

2,960 13


1,13,622 430

4,495 173

1,07,425 597

1,702 6


61,848 752

9,078 334

51,762 408

1,008 10


61,241 41

462 24

59,980 63

799 2


60,872 487

5,122 236

55,116 246

634 5


43,254 495

4,464 34

38,032 453

758 8

Arunachal Pradesh

32,188 250

2,810 39

29,223 289



23,965 111

2,699 273

20,805 382

461 2


19,682 33

538 14

18,945 47



18,806 147

2,965 274

15,556 420

285 1


16,135 236

3,647 10

12,414 223

74 3

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,481 8

65 4

10,412 4



9,339 42

447 37

8,847 79


Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,306 26

100 5

7,079 30

127 1


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