A local electrician is winning hearts of people in the city for providing free sanitisation service during the coronavirus pandemic, joining countless ordinary citizens in the country who have emerged "COVID-19 warriors" in their own right.
Vijay Iyer, a resident of Jamaalpura, has been risking his own safety by offering free sanitisation service, especially in the containment areas of Bhopal city.
Armed with his sanitising equipment, Iyer, a trained electrician who also runs a puncture repair shop, travels to different localities in the capital city of Madhya Pradesh.
"I wanted to join the Army like my father and grandfather. But my mother was averse to the idea as I am her only child," the 33-year-old says.
Nonetheless, Iyer found other ways to serve people and rose to the occasion when the COVID-19 outbreak hit the city.
"When my puncture shop had to be shut during the lockdown (enforced on March 25), I took to social media and put out a post that I will provide free sanitisation service," says the Class 10 pass-out.
Once the word was out, he started getting calls from every nook and corner of the city.
Iyer, who looks after his elderly parents, said he had saved Rs 70,000 to buy a motorcycle, but instead used the money to purchase necessary equipment and protective gear.
"I have spent most of my money on two spray machines, PPE kits, gloves and disinfectants," he says, adding people in his neighbourhood let him use their two wheelers when he heads out for sanitisation work.
Iyer, who opened his shop two days ago following lockdown relaxations, said he was still keen on continuing providing sanitisation service as his business was yet to pick up.
Speaking about money constraints, Iyer says his relatives abroad have encouraged him to continue with public service during the pandemic and have assured financial help.
"Fear kills. We must fight the virus like soldiers, who don't care for their lives in the face of adverse conditions. We should face the pandemic head on and defeat it," he says.
Vinod Sitoka, a resident of Saket Nagar, said Iyer sanitised 40 homes in his locality last month, including his own.
The "COVID-19 warrior" has also sanitised several homes in Jahangirabad, one of the containment areas in the city.