Kochi businessman gives away 15 tempos for Covid fight, turns them into ambulances


Express News Service

KOCHI: At a time when the state is grappling with the second wave of Covid, a Kochiite who owns a fleet of tempo travellers has decided to convert his vehicles into Covid-care ambulances, given the shortage of facilities in the district.

Recently, Najeeb Vellakal who hails from Thrikkakara himself faced a crisis when he couldn’t get a vehicle to drop his Covid positive staff to his hometown in Palakkad.  He converted one of his 20 tempo travellers under Zainul Travels into a Covid ambulance to drop his staff. “I removed all the seats except the long one in the back.

I bought a PPE kit for the driver and separated the driver’s cabin using a plastic sheet and dropped the Covid positive person in Palakkad,” said Najeeb, who has been in the vehicle  rental business for over 20 years. The incident, however, left him pondering over the struggles of common people during the pandemic. “I wondered if there is something I can do. My vehicles have been lying in the garage for months now, why not use them, I thought,” said Najeeb.

“It costs around Rs 10,000 to convert a traveller into an ambulance by adding stretchers, fixing oxygen cylinders and first aid kits,” he added. On a trial basis, the Ernakulam mayor suggested converting one vehicle into a Covid ambulance. 

“I am willing to convert the rest of my 15 vehicles into Covid ambulances if they agree,” Najeeb said. He also said that the ambulance will only charge an affordable rent from people, enough to pay the driver and get fuel.  The 43-year-old  has been working at Kakkanad Infopark arranging transportation for its employees. His business has been dull since work-from-home became the new norm.

You may contact Najeeb on 7907034416

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