IAS officer Guruprasad Mohapatra, a Gujarat cadre officer from Odisha, went out of his way to meet the surging healthcare demand when COVID-19 hit the nation.

In the effort to do so, he too contracted COVID-19 and passed away on 19 June 2021, but not before making some notable contributions to dealing with the pandemic.

As secretary of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), he was instrumental in providing oxygen and medication to several hospitals in the initial phase of the pandemic, thus giving many patients a fighting chance.

“For him, this [ensuring oxygen supply] was the most important thing, because every day was a difficult situation. I remember him working throughout Sunday (April 19, 2021), the day he was hospitalised,” said his wife, Anjali Mohapatra to The Hindu.

Even though he was admitted to the hospital, that did not stop him from serving. “He continued to coordinate efforts from there. To him, work was worship,” she adds.

Guruprasad also played an essential role in taking India from being an importer to an exporter of PPE kits, masks and ventilators.

Apart from this, he also made several infrastructural developments including the privatisation of six airports for people’s welfare during his service.

In recognition of his significant efforts in easing the suffering of COVID patients, he was posthumously awarded the Padma Shri in 2021.