Kolhapur: Muslims of Ichalkaranji – a small textile town in Maharashtra donated zakat, an obligatory Muslim charity, and Sadaqah, voluntary charity to start an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) civil hospital in the wake of rising coronavirus infection across the country.
The Kolhapur town Muslims through Baitul Maal Muslim community has donated sum of Rs 36 lakh. A well-equipped ICU with 10 beds at IGM hospital which is ready to facilitate the fight against coronavirus spread was inaugurated by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr yesterday.
Applauding the initiative, the Chief Minister via video conference said, “Muslims in Ichalkaranji have shown the way for everyone in the country. Till now, we have controlled the spread of coronavirus with courage and patience. Henceforth, public participation (to fight the pandemic) is necessary. The Muslim community has set an example on how to celebrate a festival.”
The town, known as the Manchester of Maharashtra, has a population of 2.88 lakh where 78.32 per cent are Hindus as per the 2011 Census. Muslims constitute 15.98 per cent of the total population. The majority of the population works in power looms.
With growing number of Covid-19 patients, pressure is mounting on medical infrastructure in Maharashtra. Like any other government hospitals, IGM too has faced the problem of lack of funds affecting medical services to the poor.
Atul Rendale, a local said, “The hospital was in bad shape, with hardly any patients going there because of lack of adequate machinery and staff. The new facility will definitely help the poor who cannot afford treatment in private hospitals,” reports The Hindu. He added that though there are not many Covid-19 patients in Ichalkaranji, the fear of spike in numbers looms large.
Eid festivities this year was largely overshadowed by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but unprecedented example set by Ichalkaranji Muslims are welcome shift in the traditional way of making donations.