Under worst conditions, volunteers providing relief to flood affected people in Uttarakhand
Relief after the devastating floods in Uttarakhand, among the high rise Himalayan terrain and the forceful torrent of the rivers flowing down the mountains, is probably the toughest challenge for the volunteers. Widespread wash out of the roads, power lines washed off, no way to recharge the mobiles and even mobile towers being washed away, the communications in the state are almost at standstill. The best way left is on foot to reach higher altitudes where avalanches have disturbed the terrain. However, the volunteers with sheer willpower worked right from the moment the reports of the dreadful floods started pouring in. More than 1000 volunteers pressed into action to assist the ITBF forces serving over there for relief and helping the pilgrims. Every day truckloads of relief materials are being dispatched from Dehradun to various locations wherever villagers and pilgrims are in instant need of relief. Volunteers are engaging ponies to carry the relief materials like food packets, grocery, mineral water, medicines etc to unapproachable places.
Uttaranchal Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayata Samiti
Report(1) by Sewa International Bharat Team visiting the Flood Affected Areas
Total 15 centers are being run at different places: Rishikesh, Chamba, Dhansali, Joshimath, Karnprayag, Chamoli, Srinagar, Netwar, Haridwar, Dehradun, Pokhari, Dhatyud, Uttarkashi, Guptkashi, Maneri etc.
Types of Camps: Food distribution, medical camps, rescue assistance, transportation to safe places, helpline centres for relatives of yatrees,
Approx 5000 volunteers are serving tirelessly in different areas including flood affected valleys and plains like Haridwar, Rishikesh, etc.
In Chamba, there is a camp running since 22 June where approx 10,000 people are being provided food and medical treatment regularly.
Chamba is a place which is a junction which connects all four ways of Chardham Yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath). A huge shelter has been established in village Dikhol near Chamba where pilgrims are being provided food, medicine and everything they need.
Transport assistance provided to approx 8200 yatris from Uttarkashi & Chinyali Saudh to Rishikesh from 21st June to 24th June, by available vehicles: Bus, truck, car, sumo, jeep, tempo & police vehicles etc.
Approx 200 villages are worst affected in the floods and some of them are totally washed out. Volunteers are trying their best to reach out to these villages/villagers and provide them initial relief.
Flood devastated villagers, who have been rendered shelter less, are being shifted to safer places and temporary shelters by Volunteers.
From the day 1 (16-June) till now 20 truck loads of relief material have been sent to flood affected areas from Dehradun alone that contains: pulses, rice, sugar, tea, spices, cloths, blankets, milk powder, water bottles, medicines, biscuits, and packed food etc. Material supplies from other centres like Rishikesh, Haridwar, etc are also being sent. Some of the camps above mentioned are being supported by various charity organizations with truckloads of raw food material. Even the civil supplies being supplied by the Uttarkhand Government is reaching our camps because paucity of Volunteers.
Three teams from UDAPSS sent to three different locations, namely- 1.Badrinath-Hemkund Sahib, 2. Kedarnath, & 3. Gangotri-Yamunotri- for surveying the area and assessing the loss of life and property. This will help is in planning the rehabilitation program.
The floods have also affected the schools, hostels run by UDAPSS, Vidya Bharati and other organizations in a big way which will surely affect the student population. One such major project which was established after the 1991 earthquake is located in Maneri (14 kms from Uttarkashi), Sewashram which is a school with residential facility. Twelve rooms of this hostel are washed away in this flood.
Remaining part of hostel has been converted to a relief camp ( providing food, medicines, shelter) for needy people. Rotary Club and Azim Premji Club were impressed by the Sewa offered here by the dedicated volunteers and have supported this camp with relief materials. This camp was started on 18th June. This is the nearest location to Gangotri and people started streaming in soon after the floods. Till now 7500 pilgrims (including army soldiers) were provided food for 7 days round the clock.
Womens from Bhubaneshwari Ashram have been actively volunteering here since the camp is established, supporting the camp with cooking food at Maneri Sewashram Camp.
70 Houses in Joshiyada village were completely washed away, causing many casualties. Rotary Club donated 35 tents to affected families and our Volunteer team is providing them food, cloths, gas cylinders, medicines, blankets and all necessary items.
Uttaranchal Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayata Samiti
Report(2) by Sewa International Bharat Team visiting the Flood Affected Areas
Three relief camps in Uttarkashi district are working round the clock – Maneri, Lakshyeswar and Naitawaar.
Dr. Nithyanandji, the octogenarian serving the community since last two decades in Maneri, stated that Maneri relief camp is the largest relief providing camp in the district- serving maximum number of affected.
Chandrapuri village near Vasukedar in Rudraprayag district has been totally washed away and needs total reconstruction. UDAPSS has provided tents, utensils and ration/eatables and home kits for the families as part of relief.
Volunteers in Gupta Kashi relief camp have identified various flood affected families in surrounding villages and are providing first aid, medicines, counselling, and relief material to 24 families in Lohanda village, 18 families in Tilanga village and 6 families in Dhanashu village. Apart from providing medicines, the volunteers are engaged in conducting acupressure and also conducting yoga & meditation classes as part of counselling.
Most of the survivors of the floods from villages are living with their relatives as they have lost their homes & hearths.
The volunteers serving in the Narayana Koti, Rudraprayag relief camp have identified 27 babies- 6months to 4 years- who have been orphaned or are left with their lone mother or grandparents due to the floods. Volunteers have already provided some sort of service for the babies and are working on their appropriate rehabilitation.
Agricultural plots have been inundated with landslide mass due to avalanches destroying crops, rendering all these fields useless. Flood has taken toll of many farmers and bread earners in the villages. The villages are deserted and all those who are left are seniors- old aged, widows and kids who cannot earn for themselves. Their rehabilitation is another major task ahead.
Middle school and High School students in the age group 10-16 had joined their fathers/elder brothers, assisting them in running shops or petty business, during their summer holidays. Their number is expected to be in couple of thousands and most of them are either dead or untraceable.
Youth and able bodied people- mostly between 19-30 years- who were the bread winners for their families have been lost to the floods and livelihood will be the biggest challenge for the remaining members of the families.
Mules are the best means of transportation in the Himalayan ranges for transporting material & men. 12000 mules (Horses) owned by 8000 owners were serving the flood affected areas before the floods. The floods have consumed more than 9000 mules and 4500 owners. The problem of transportation has become a Himalayan task due to this loss in those hilly areas.
The rehabilitation program will require experts in construction in Himalayan/hilly region for designing and constructing houses. Huge funding would be required for the proposed rehabilitation program in which houses, community centres, schools, clinics, etc will have to be reconstructed.
Doctors and health assistants are also needed in good number for reaching out to many flood affected villages. We would provide the details of these requirements soon.
Volunteers from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and some other states are devoutly engaged in providing the relief to the flood affected in far flung villages. Volunteers would be required for the rehabilitation program in course of time and the need will be informed. Till then, please stay tuned in and hold on.
The 91 kms stretch of road from Maneri to Gangotri is totally washed away without leaving any trace of existing road at places, yet, volunteers are working round the clock in Maneri to provide food to at least 1000 pilgrims reaching daily. Other important relief camps like Rishikesh, Shrinagar, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, are also providing food and medicine to the pilgrims. Senior activist of Uttaranchal Daivi Aapda Peedit Samiti Shri Prem Barakoti reached Maneri by walking many kilometres and managed the relief operation there. The Army jawans and Sangh volunteers worked shoulders to shoulders with each other to rescue the stranded people and also to help the local people. The Sangh volunteers not only ensured full supply of ration and other required material to the victims but they also provided vital information to the army jawans, as the local administration was missing for this job. Brigadier Kapur confirmed in Joshimath that the Sangh volunteers supplied them vital information and most of their information was correct and useful.
Appeal by Sewa International Bharat
Sewa International, which has been at the forefront of relief and rehabilitation during the natural calamities and man-made calamities in many countries like Bharat, USA, Guyana, UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and some more, for more than two decades, appeals to all the benevolent to extend their hand for permanently rehabilitatiing the displaced victims in Uttarakhand. Any monetary help can be sent at the following address:
49, Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg, New Delhi-110 002, India
Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram President, Shri Jagdev Ram Oraon inaugurated a newly built administrative office cum boys hostel named “Aamaako Maya Chhatrabas” run by Janjati Kalyan Ashram Nepal here on 2nd June 2013. Presided by Sambhu Jhunjhunwala, the ceremony was graced by Sri Jagdev Ram Oraon as Chief Guest and Dr. Sundar Mani Dikshit as special guest. The ceremony started with lighting of lamp by distinguished guests followed by National Secretary Sri Prem Thulung’s address giving an overview of the activities run by Kalyan Ashram throughout Nepal. At present, Kalyan Ashram is running 5 such hostels for the Janjatis (tribal people), 35 Sraddha Jagaran Kendras / Bal Sanskar Kendras and 50 Ekal Vidhyalayas throughout Nepal, he said.
Addressing the ceremony, Madhav Acharya, Rastriya Karyavah of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Nepal praised the work done by Kalyan Ashram to bring the Janjatis in social mainstream and preserve their indigenous culture. Speaking on the occasion Dr. Sundarmani Dikshit said, “The indigenous people of this land have fallen prey to the conspiracies run by the Christians. They need a strong support to retain their own customs, traditions and culture. It is praiseworthy to see activists of Kalyan Ashram working among the Janjatis of Nepal.” Honorable chief guest, Jagdev Ram Oraon on his part ensured that Akhil Bharatiya Kalyan Ashram would always be happy to extend cooperation required by Juniata Kalian Ashram in Nepal. The office cum hostel has 10 rooms which can accommodate as many as 50 students.
SANSKRIT SAMBHASHAN CAMPAIGN IN JAMMU
To popularise Sanskrit amongst the laymen, the Samskrita Bharati in collaboration with the like-minded organisations, institutions and voluntary organisations, is conducting a Sanskrit Sambhashan Campaign in Jammu region. As part of the campaign about 500 ten-day Spoken Sanskrit classes will be conducted throughout the province in May and June. About 200 trained teachers of Samskrita Bharati from all over the country have reached Jammu for the classes. In the first phase of the campaign, 42 classes were conducted in first week of May in Udhampur, Ramnagar and Reasi. About 1,000 participants were trained to converse in Sanskrit. They were also presented Sanskrit kits at the valedictory function on May 15. The function was graced by District Collector, Superintendent of Police and many local eminent personalities.
The second phase of the campaign began with 55 centres in Ramban, Shuddh Mahadev and Kashmiri Migrants’ colonies. The third phase will be conducted in the areas of Poonch, Rajori, Sundarbani and Kathua Basoli in the last week of May or first week of June. In Jammu city and outskirts, about 300 classes are planned at various locations and at convenient timings in June. The classes are free of cost and open to all. A grand public function ‘Sanskrit Sangam’ was held on June 23. To prepare teachers to help continue the Sanskrit classes in Jammu after the campaign, a special residential training camp will be held from June 23 to May 3. Enthusiastic participants from these classes will be selected for that camp.
President inaugurates Maharaja Agrasen University in Himachal Pradesh
EDUCATION SHOULD ARREST THE EROSION OF VALUES IN SOCIETY – Pranab Mukherjee
“The Universities should take a lead in meeting the moral challenges of our times and ensure that the civilisational values of love for motherland, performance of duty, compassion for all, tolerance for pluralism, respect for women and elderly, truth and honesty in life, discipline and self-restraint in conduct and responsibility in action are fully entrenched in the young minds. Apart from imparting knowledge and developing skills, the educational institutions should find solution to arrest the erosion of values in the society,” said President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, while inaugurating the Maharaja Agrasen University at Solan in Himachal Pradesh on May 25.
Governor of the state Smt Urmila Singh, Chief Minister Shri Virbhadhra Singh, former Chief Minister Prof PK Dhumal, Technical Education Minister Shri GS Bali, Health Minister Shri Madan Mohan Mittal and many other Ministers, MLAs of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab graced the occasion. The function was also attended by many Vice Chancellors, Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh, Secretary of Higher Education HP, many other IAS and high ranking officers of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, Justice Mool Chand Garg (MP High Court) Justice NK Sanghi (Punjab & Haryana High Court) and Lt. Gen BS Sachar SMVSM (Hq. ARTRAC).
Shri Mukherjee complimented the vision, commitment and efforts of Maharaja Agrasen Technical Education Society in establishing the University. He lamented the fact that even though India has over 650 universities including deemed universities, over 33000 colleges, over 2.6 crore enrollment (likely to go up to 3.6 crore by the end of 12th Plan) in higher education, we are short of good quality academic institutions.
Earlier, Chancellor of Maharaja Agrasen University and Chairman of Maharaja Agrasen Technical Education Society (MATES) Dr Nand Kishore Garg welcomed President of India, Governor, Chief Minister, Ministers, MLAs, Judges, Senior Officers and other eminent dignitaries. He thanked the President for sparing his valuable time to inaugurate the University which is situated at the ‘Education Hub’ established by the Himachal Pradesh Government in the name of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
(Input from Prof. Inder Mohan Kapahi)
MASS WEDDING BY SEWA BHARATI IN JAIPUR
On the eve of Janaki Navmi, Shri Ram Janaki Vivah Samiti and Sewa Bharati jointly organised a mass wedding ceremony in Jaipur on May 19. A total of 41 couples from different castes got married in the ceremony. The objective of the function was to help the economically deprived people in arranging the wedding of their children. It also helped in creating the social harmony among different segments of the Hindu society. The Samiti and the Sewa Bharati have been organising such ceremonies for the last three years in Jaipur, Kota, Baran and other cities of Rajasthan. Marriage certificates to all the newly wedded couples were given on the spot.
VIJNANA BHARATI TO ORGANISE ‘TECH OF SEVA’
Vijnana Bharati, in collaboration with Seva Sahayog, Global Indian Scientists and Technocrats Foundation (GIST) and Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha (MKSSS) will organise ‘Tech for Seva’, a socio-technical conference on inclusive and sustainable social development on September 28-29, 2013 at Cummins Engineering College in Pune. The conference will be dedicated to Swami Vivekananda on his 150th birth anniversary year. The conference intends to be a medium for the exchange of initiatives, intentions and information. Tech for Seva is a platform for deliberations and debates, evaluations and explorations, recommendations and resolutions that will lead to an amalgamation of ideas from all the major contributors. Though the efforts are going on for positive social change and development at the grass roots level with the intervention of effective scientific and technological tools, the desired impact is yet to arrive on ground. This reality can be attributed to a major disconnect between scientific-technological solution providers and scientific-technological solution seekers. The Tech for Seva aims at bridging this gap by providing a connecting platform for the solution providers and solution seekers. There is also a need to create a conducive, favourable ambience in the society in which the seekers will strive to pull the solutions and providers will understand the responsibility to push the solutions to the needy commoners. Scientific and technological research and academic institutions—public and private both, corporate with CSR initiatives, and NGOs working as social change agents and individual solution seekers will be the main stakeholders of the conference. The conference will be deliberating on topics related to Education, Health, Livelihood and Environment. Scholarly papers will be presented in the conference. Besides posters on success stories and problems to be addressed; Expo showcasing relevant and appropriate technologies along with solutions manifested into reality and student competition in ideas which highlight the use of technology to solve problems will be added attraction of the conference. CSR representatives, professionals and students, scientists and technocrats, government organisations, NGOs, social workers, and socially- conscious citizens can register for the conference.
FREE ARTIFICIAL LIMBS DISTRIBUTION CAMP BY BVP
Ludhiana unit of the Bharat Vikas Parishad (BVP) organised a free artificial limb distribution camp on June 9. Artificial limbs, calipers, tricycles, hearing aids, etc. were presented to 85 physically challenged persons at the camp. Shri Jeevan Dhawan, Member, Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, was the chief guest. He applauded the nice work being done by the Bharat Vikas Parishad in rendering selfless services to the needy persons. Such camps inculcate a spirit of self-confidence among the physically challenged persons for becoming self-dependent, he said. Presiding over the function president of the Trust, Shri Suraj Jyoti said the Trust has provided artificial limbs, calipers, tricycles, wheel chairs and hearing aids to more than 39,000 physically challenged persons so far. He said regular camps are held every month for performing polio operations and we have already performed over 2,000 free Polio operations successfully.