Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has said he has pledged at least Rs 15 crore till date in India's fight against the coronavirus pandemic and will not hesitate to contribute more from his "personal funds" if the need arises. Less than a day after the actor gave a detailed response to his detractors who called out celebrities on social media for not helping people amid the grave health crisis in the country, Bachchan took to his blog to give an update on his philanthropic work.
On Sunday night, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, tweeted that the veteran star had donated Rs 2 crore to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur COVID Care Centre at New Delhi's Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib to combat the virus in the national capital.
"In this battle against this virus, many have contributed and continue to be resolved in more .. the mention in the information circles resounds with the 2 cr that I donated for the care Centre in Delhi for the moment .. but as days go by the figure of my personal contribution and donation shall be about 15 crore rupees.
"Of course such figures are beyond my means, but I work and labour and resolve to dig into my earnings for those that need it most and with the kindness of the Almighty have been able to give this amount," Bachchan, 78, shared in a post on late Monday night.
His charitable work was "not about trumpeting my 'wares'," the "Gulabo Sitabo" actor said.
"If I am able to harness some more of my personal funds I shall not hesitate to contribute more .. AND there are those colleagues and friends that have run into difficult times financially .. they too have been given funds to tide over some of the trouble they find themselves in ..
"If at all it can be a motivation for many others to come forward and donate, the amount of misery that one hears and sees could be greatly reduced .." the "Kaun Banega Crorepati" host added.
Bachchan further informed that the centre at Rakab Ganj Sahib will soon "bring relief to the extraneous conditions that we are struggling with".
The 20 ventilators he had ordered from overseas have started to arrive, he said.
"The first lot of 10 has landed in Mumbai and are at Customs awaiting clearance. The procurer Agency will deliver them by Wednesday and at least 4 Municipal Hospitals that I had earmarked and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Committee the BMC, shall be given at least 4 of the 6 they desired .. the balance 10 are arriving by the 25th and they too shall be distributed to the other Hospital locations and care centres that I have identified."
The screen icon has also imported oxygen concentrators, adding that their delivery is on "a very fast track through suppliers from the overseas companies".
"Fifty of them shall be airlifted on the 15th for Delhi, and are coming from a recognised Company in Poland, and another 150 from different manufacturing agents shall be coming in by the 23rd .. I hope that at least those locations where I have been able to construct care centres shall be able to utilise them," he said.
Bachchan, who has taken the responsibility of raising children who have lost their parents to the virus, said the Hyderabad-based orphanage has identified two wards.
"They will be giving us the names by tomorrow for the Hyderabad orphanage and shall be given free education from the 1st to the 10th class, along with free boarding and lodging. If either of them turn out to excel they shall be considered for higher studies under the same conditions."
The actor said the diagnostic centre at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in Delhi, which he helped set up in the memory of his mother and social activist Teji Bachchan and her parents, was now "operational" at minimum costs and free for some.
"The MRI machine along with other ancillary machines are all set which help in the diagnosis of patients suffering ; particularly to detect the virus in the lungs .."
He has also donated three other detection machines to the Nanavati Hospital.
In his previous blog post, Bachchan had said he contributed funds to set up a care centre with 25-50 bed capacity in suburban Juhu with all facilities, which should be up by May 12. Apart from these initiatives, the Hindi cinema veteran said he was extending support to COVID-19 front line workers by providing PPE (personal protection equipment) units and other protective gears.
"And if I am able to muster more earnings I shall certainly aim to give more.. WE FIGHT .. we fight to WIN!!!" he said.
Bachchan also gave a shout out to COVID-19 warriors and frontline workers, in a video in which he recited his father, renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan's iconic poem "Agneepath".