Hindu College loses prof who helped colleagues get beds, oxygen to virus

New Delhi: Dr CL Jonowal, a zoology professor at the Delhi University's Hindu College spent the last few weeks helping his colleagues at the varsity get hospital beds and oxygen during the city's worst-ever health crisis, even as professors kept demanding for a Covid centre in the campus

The 43-year-old eventually contracted the infection and succumbed to the virus on Tuesday morning at AIIMS here. He had several times called for a Covid centre at the campus, which is yet to be set up.

Survived by his wife and a daughter, aged 12, and a son, aged 5, Jonowal was a key member of the Hindu College Covid task force. His wife is an ad-hoc mathematics teacher at the varsity and had also contracted the infection.

Dr Anju Srivastava, the principal said, "I am not able to come to terms with it. He joined the college in 2006 and was very bright and committed to his work. We were able to arrange a bed for him in AIIMS but we lost him. He was initially admitted to a hospital in Alwar."

Jonwal was infected with Coronavirus around April 29 and left Delhi in the first week of May looking for a bed, she said.

According to the college principal, around 35 teachers of the college, including her, have been infected by the virus till now. "There were one or two serious cases but they have also recovered," she said.

"I cannot believe what is happening? He was a ray of hope in these bleak times and very active in social work. He was always enthusiastic about new things. I still cannot believe he is gone," his friend and colleague Chotu Ram Meena said.

At least 40 staffers of the varsity have succumbed to the virus till now, even as DUTA's calls for a Covid centre continue disappearing into a void. University officials said they are working to make colleges covid dedicated facilities, where a few colleges have already started working on starting covid bed facilities.

While teachers' organisations such as DUTA have written to the administration as well as the government regarding the same, no solution has been provided to them.

"No help has been provided in terms of compensation or these teachers. I think the authorities have been late in providing all sorts of help that we need. The Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute is looking after post-recovery patients. It is important but we have been writing to them to make the hospital into a Covid dedicated centre. We are glad that they are doing it now but they are late. I have myself running around to provide oxygen, beds and even help teachers to cremate families. We tried to provide Jonwal with everything but could not save him. We could not save so many people," DUTA president Rajib Ray said.

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