During the early morning hours of April 10 a massive explosion took place in Puttingal temple during a fireworks display . It claimed more than 114 lives and caused injuries to about 1,100 persons. The accident happened in Puttingal temple ground in Paravoor, a coastal town in Kollam district of Kerala. The impact of the explosion was felt in a radius of one kilometre. There was total darkness as the power supply went off under the impact of the explosion. Sewa volunteers were among the first responders to the site of the accident. When Sewa volunteers reached the spot, they could see burnt body parts scattered all around, seriously injured pleading for help and large number of dead bodies lying on the ground. Sewa volunteers swung into rescue operations. They mobilized several vehicles, including their own ten ambulances, to shift the injured to various hospitals. They collected the scattered body parts from the temple ground, roof of the houses and wells in the nearby places. They helped in sending the bodies for postmortem working in tandem with the Police in the rescue and relief operations. On many occasions, police men sought the help of Sewa volunteers to collect the body parts from the nearby places for sending it for the DNA test.
About 1,000 Sewa volunteers took part in the rescue operations. They helped extracting dead bodies and injured victims from debris of buildings. Within hours, hundreds of Sewa volunteers thronged hospitals to donate blood, medical kits and food materials. About 1,500 volunteers registered for blood donation at Trivandrum Medical College itself. The pictures of the Sewa volunteers queuing in front of the Medical hospital have gone viral in the social media. Due to scarcity of beds and other facilities at Kollam District Hospital, the volunteers arranged additional beds and clothes with the help of sponsors. Soon after the tragedy, help desks were set up by the Sewa volunteers at the accident site,Kollam District Hospital, Kollam Medicity, Kottiyam Hollycross, NS Hospital and Trivandrum Medical College to help the relatives of the victims and the contact numbers were informed to the public through the media and social platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. Volunteers helped the bereaved family members to identify bodies of their beloved ones in the hospitals. Proper arrangements have also been done for helping the relatives to cremate the bodies in their respective places. The next challenge was to provide water and food materials to the patients admitted at 18 hospitals and also to the affected families residing around the temple. About 1,100 people including patients and their relatives are being given breakfast, lunch and dinner during the entire length of relief operation. This daunting task was carried out by the effective and prompt involvement of the Sewa volunteers.
The wells surrounding the temple were badly contaminated; with body parts being dispersed into the wells. So high was the contamination level that water has turned black due to burnt body parts, ash and burnt explosives. The Sewa volunteer also made immediate arrangements for bringing drinking water from nearby places in auto rickshaws and other vehicles. Daily 5,000 liters of water was distributed to the houses near the temple. Later, they launched a massive drive to clean all the wells in the area.
Around 300 houses in the immediate vicinity of the temple were damaged in the impact of the explosion. Locals feel that it may take months for the place to recover from the ghastly tragedy. Destroyed houses, contaminated wells, chemicals and concrete chunks left suspended in the aftermath of the massive fire tragedy, are now a cause of concern for people living in the locality. Many families in the area have either moved to houses of relatives or are busy repairing damaged portions of their residences. They also demanded compensation from the Government to repair it.
HINDU HELP LINE TO SERVE SENIOR CITIZENS
Hindu Help Line (HHL), the 24 x 7 nationwide Emergency Service, on its fifth anniversary launched a special service for senior citizens on March 5. Launching the service, VHP working president Dr Pravin Togadia said the senior citizens in emergency can call at 020-6689330 and 07588682181 to get urgent help within 15-20 minutes depending on the type of emergency. The Help Line covers the emergencies like medical, travel, legal, administrative and cultural. Since beginning, the HHL has received over 2,00,000 calls and the emergency help rate has been over 98 per cent. Today, due to nuclear families and various social aspects, the elderly face genuine problems that are not only loneliness, but also practical problems like day care, medical reports collection, utility bill payments, caring company for a daily walk and so on.
SEWA INTERNATIONAL SEED KITS DISTRIBUTION DRIVE
SEWA INTERNATIONAL Uttarakhand completed its Seed kit distribution drive in the Narayankoti Mandal of Rudraprayag district, under its SEWA KRISHI programme. To consolidate and strengthen the agriculture and its local practices keeping in view of the ecological balance of the region Sewa International launched its program Sewa Krishi with the same objective. An integral component of the programme is the Seed kit distribution drive before the Kharif and Rabi sowing season,the two major crop season in the country, with a view that the farmer doesn’t have to purchase seeds from the market and hence cutting down on the cost of farming, the ultimate aim of the project is to diminish the farmer’s dependence on the market for purchasing seeds and other ingredients of farming and promote organic farming in the State. Starting from 2014 the Seed Kit Distribution has picked up pace in the Rudraprayag and Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This year the seeds were distributed in the Narayankoti Mandal of Rudraprayag district among the women Farmers of the region. Seeds distribution for the current Kharif Crop included seeds of Ginger, Turmeric, Beans, Ladyfinger and Kidney Beans.
With a view to provide maximum benefit to be derived from the initiative and for the farmers, Sewa International Uttarakhand formed a taskforce which did an extensive survey among the farmers about their exigency and expectations and considering this the seed kits were prepared this year by due ratiocination of the local demand .
Seed Kit distribution was done by Kailash Goswamiji, A Local Farmer of Narayankoti who has been a state awardee among other honours, for his innovative farming and work in the field.
A part of under construction Vivekananda Road Flyover suddenly collapsed on March 31 injuring many and killing 27 people. Rescue operation began immediately to clear and remove the dead bodies buried under the debris. As the news spread, more than 200 RSS swayamsevaks immediately rushed to help the victims along with the NDRF team and defence personnel. The swayamsevaks also arranged blood for the victims and rescued and controlled the crowd. Police Commissioner who was present at the site appreciated the work done by the RSS workers and requested them to remain there.
WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP A REALITY
- Nirmala Sitharam
Union Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (Independent Charge) Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman exhorted the women to utilise their entrepreneurial skills. She said women entrepreneurship is a reality, as many women entreprenuers can be found in the society. She was addressing a gathering of women at 4th Annual Day celebration of Chetana Conscience of Women on April 3. She referred to many Start Ups by women in different fields like engineering, medicine, information technology, agriculture and urged the women to also master the other areas apart from professional ones like social sciences. She praised ‘Chetana’ for helping women become self-reliant. President of Chetana. Advocate Jyotika Kalra highlighted the importance of women empowerment and also underlined the activities being taken up in this regard by ‘Chetna’. The event left the audience spell bound by the dance events specially choreographed by Padma Bhushan Dr Saroja Vaidyanathan portraying the theme through four different forms of classical and contemporary dance.
NATIONAL ARCHERY COMPETITION BY KALYAN ASHRAM IN DECEMBER
Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram will organise National Archery Competition in the last week of December in Mumbai. Vanvasi Archers from different parts of the country will participate in the competition. The decision was taken at the Pratinidhi Mandal meeting of Kalyan Ashram. Kalyan Ashram president Shri Jagdev Ram Oraon, vice presidents Shri Kripa Prasad Singh and Neelima Patte, general secretary Shri Chandrakant Dev, and other office bearers were also present. Shri Chandra Kant Deo presented general secretary’s report, while Shri Atul Jog and Shri Somayajulu presented reports on various programmes. Shri Shatipad Thakur presented a report on 7th National Vanvasi Sports meet held in Ranchi. A report on birth centenary celebration of Naga freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu was also presented. Today a total of 1,25,490 students are getting education in various educational projects of the Kalyan Ashram. A total of 9,94,367 patients were treated by health workers. A total of 329 daily and 3,322 weekly sports centres are being run in Vanvasi areas. There are 90 Agriculture Development Projects, 68 vocational trainning centres, 2,560 Self-Help Groups, and village development activities in 108 villages.
HEALTH CAMP BY JHANDEWALA TEMPLE
Patients undergoing treatment at the Nature Care and Accupressure camp
Famous Jhandewala Temple organised a series of health camps in the temple premises. On March 6, the temple organised a blood donation camp in which 46 people donated blood. On March 13, an eye check-up camp was organised in association with Kailash Eye Care. Apart from eye check-up, some blood tests were also conducted. About 200 patients were checked-up at the camp. Equally, a nature care and acupressure camp is being organised in the temple on every Sunday for the last six months. A total of 82 patients availed the facility on March 13.
SEWA BHARATI VOLUNTEERS CLEAN TEMPLE PREMISES AHEAD OF SHIVARATRI
Ahead of Shivaratri, a team of 142 people including 70 RSS and Sewa Bharati workers from local Tambaram unit in Tamil Nadu actively participated in the cleaning of Jambukeswarar Temple on February 21. The common public and devotees too eagerly joined hands with the swayamsevaks in the activity. Tambaram Bagh Sewa Pramukh Shri Soundarji coordinated the activity.
PROTECT COW TO SAVE THE NATION - SHANKARLAL
RSS Akhil Bharatiya Gausewa Pramukh Shri Shankarlal appealed to the government and the society to take all possible efforts to protect the cows and her progeny as they are the backbone of the Bharat’s economy. Addressing a function in Jodhpur on February 21 he said preservation of the cow is in the interests of all and if ignored it will prove to be very costly to all. The function was organised by Go Vigyan Anusandhan Samiti. Shri Navranglal Sharma on this occasion apprised the gathering of 18 scientific facts about the cow milk. He also stressed on organic farming. Shri Otaram Devasi, Cow Minister in Rajasthan Government stressed the need to create cow ministries all over the country. He said the cows truly be preserved at the home of the farmers and not in the goushalas. Mahamandaleshwar Shri Dati Maharaj Madanji also spoke on the occasion.
CAMPAIGN TO CLEAN KURUKSHETRA
Gita Manishi Mahamandaleshwar Swami Gyanananda Maharaj launched Divya Kurukshetra Mission on April 18 to make the historic city Kurukshetra as a clean city. Under the campaign, 26th day of every month will be observed as cleanliness day. Speaking at the launch function Swamiji said cleanliness drive should not be seen with political glasses. Such campaigns are must to maintain glory of the nation. He said the campaign is aimed at making Kurukshetra as a model city. He administered an oath to the people on this occasion to keep the city clean and also to join the drive. He said every citizen needs to change their habit and none should do any work, which denigrates the nation. Organising Secretary of VHP Shri Dinesh Chandra said the campaign would prove to be a success as it has the blessings of the saints. Mahamandaleshwar Swami Dharmadev Maharaj also spoke on the occasion. Himanchal Pradesh Governor Acharaya Dev Vrat expressed his best wishes for the success of the campaign.