Pune district administration, which is facing a big challenge in dealing with the coronavirus crisis, lost one of its own on Saturday morning, with District Information Officer Rajendra Sarag succumbing to the complications arising out of coronavirus infection at Sassoon General Hospital.
Sarag (53), who was also a prolific cartoonist, was detected with Covid19 infection on Sunday (March 28) and was initially admitted to Adhar Hospital in Parvati Gaon. He was shifted to Sassoon General Hospital on Friday after his health deteriorated, his colleagues said.
Staff members at District Information Office, Pune have not received the vaccine yet and seven of them, including Sarag, have tested positive for Covid19 so far. Sarag’s wife and a son have also tested positive. DIO staffers said that during Sarag’s illness, several senior officers in the administration tried their best to help him but to no avail.
Sarag’s funeral has been planned for Monday as his eldest son who studies in the USA will take time to fly back home. He is survived by wife and two sons.
Doctors at Sassoon said that while at Adhar Hospital he was administered Remdesivir but did not show any improvement.
“He was critical when he arrived at Sassoon. He was given Remdesivir for three days before at Adhar Hospital but his health did not improve,” said doctors at Sassoon.
His colleagues said that during the time of the treatment, doctors also found that he had high blood sugar which turned out to be difficult to control during the COVID treatment. He had not tested for blood sugar in the past, his family members informed.
Born in Nandgaon in Nashik District on May 23, 1967, Sarag had studied B Com at a local college followed by a post-graduate degree in journalism from Aurangabad. He was a cartoonist since 1987 and his work, which mostly relied on humour rather than political commentary to suit his government job, was featured in many Marathi publications, including special Diwali editions.
He had also published a book of his cartoons ‘Hasya Sarag..m’ in 2007. Exhibitions of his cartoons have been held in Pune and Nashik. He was appointed as Pune DIO three years ago and was quite popular as a co-operative, soft-spoken and efficient officer.
Paying condolences, ZP CEO Ayush Prasad said, “We deeply mourn the demise of Rajendra Sarag, District Information Officer of Pune, due to Covid19. Over the last few days, doctors and paramedical team of Sasson Hospital tried their best to save his life. The district administration has lost a committed officer.”