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Friday, May 14, 2021

Top Indian figure in SAR raising funds to help homeland

Mohan Chugani, former president of the India Association Hong Kong, aims to raise HK$3 million to help his home country fight the pandemic.
Chugani will start raising funds at Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui to fund the purchase of oxygen generators and other medical supplies, he told The Standard's sister paper Headline Daily.

India is struggling to contain one of the world's worst outbreaks, with yesterday alone seeing more than 392,000 new cases and nearly 3,700 deaths.

Although only a few of Chugani's relatives are in India, he said he cares about the country.

"The government there couldn't handle it, it must be helped by other people," Chugani said.

Although details of the charity event have yet to be confirmed, he hopes to hold it soon to raise about HK$3 million.

The fund-raising campaign will be hosted with the assistance of lawmaker Vincent Cheng Wing-shun of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

He said they will meet today to discuss related matters.

Chugani said a friend in India described the situation there as "a nightmare, with corpses of those who have died from Covid-19 piled up like a mountain."

Flights from India to Hong Kong have been banned since April 20. There are an estimated 2,000 Hongkongers still in India.

Chugani was told by people who are not able to return that there is a shortage of medical and sanitary equipment in India.

"There's not enough space and manpower to cremate victims," Chugani said, adding that cremation collectively is against the tradition of Hinduism.

Corruption in India has also led to many people being unable to obtain suitable treatment, he said.

Recognizing the severe situation there, Chugani said he had called for a ban on flights from India to Hong Kong even before the government implemented the place-specific flight suspension mechanism on April 14.

The government further extended the ban to flights from Pakistan and the Philippines last Saturday.

The dire situation in India prompted many regions, including the United States, Russia and Britain, to send emergency supplies. Among these are oxygen generators, face masks and vaccines.

A cycling charity event to raise about HK$5 million for India at the largest Hindu temple in Britain - BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

Riders in the "Cycle to Save Lives" pedaled for 7,600 kilometers combined on stationary bikes -equivalent to the distance from London to Delhi - in 48 hours.

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