By Pragya KaushikaNew Delhi [India], May 11 (ANI): It was past midnight when the landline rang at 22 Akbar Road, the official residence of Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur. The caller, sounding distressed, wanted to speak immediately with the minister.
Thakur, who was on the other end of the phone, asked the caller to relax before telling him that he is speaking to the minister.
The call was from Saudi Arabia and the caller Prahlad Chaudhari narrated the ordeal that his friend was facing in getting clearance for six oxygen concentrators sent for critical COVID-19 patients in Mangalore.
Chaudhari told Thakur that it was an SOS situation as he had sent six oxygen concentrators with Irfan for charitable purposes which had just reached Mangalore Airport.
"It is for critical patients and time is running out. Please can you help get it cleared? We don't know what to do," Chaudhari told Thakur.
Without losing time and looking at the gravity of the situation, Thakur called up Mangalore Customs officials and asked them to locate Irfan, who was fasting, and asked them to provide immediate assistance.
The customs officials swung into action, located Irfan, waived off the customs duty on humanitarian grounds and provided clearance in seven to eight minutes, sources stated. They immediately also informed Prahlad Chaudhari that the consignment of oxygen concentrators was ready for dispatch to the beneficiaries.
The minister has been tweeting and updating regularly on the effort and efficiency of customs in clearing the medical equipment and life-supporting aid as the country battles the surge in COVID-19 cases in the second wave of the pandemic.
CBIC has also been tweeting regularly about the expeditious clearance to medical consignments related to COVID-19. The department is ensuring swift clearance in order to ensure life-saving medical supplies reach their intended beneficiaries at the earliestThe clearance process of medical equipment is also being monitored by the minister and regular updates are given in tweets. The government has been making efforts for fast-tracking processes related to medical equipment and for greater availability of medical oxygen to fight surge in COVID-19 cases. (ANI)