M A I N   N E W S

After deluge, help flows
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Ghanaur, August 5
An unlikely mix of Army jawans and followers of various “babas” have provided the much needed succour in more than 25 villages still marooned near here. While the jawans evacuated people from many villages, besides ensuring food and water, followers of various “babas” of the region rushed to this town and nearby places with cooked food.

This “team” has been formed on its own. While the district administration called in the Army, the followers of various “babas” poured into this town and nearby villages on their own accord, asking they be given the opportunity to serve their unfortunate brethren still trapped in various villages.

The 13th Armoured Regiment based in Patiala is active in this area. Its columns went to the aid of villages swamped with water immediately after they were called in three days ago. The Regiment Commanding Officer,Lt-Col Harpal Singh Takhar, told TNS that his men had evacuated 600 villagers from the worst-affected villages of Fatehpur Garhi, Basma and Chajjon near Rajpura on August 3 and more than 300 persons from Majri Fakiran, Lachhru Kalan and Shogalpur villages, near here, yesterday.

“We evacuated all those who wanted to come out and provided food and water to those who said they would continue to remain in their homes”, said Colonel Takhar. He said two boats and around 40 personnel had been deputed for nearly every severely affected village. The Army authorities also used a helicopter and airdropped around 8,000 food packets to marooned villagers. Medical-aid posts established by army doctors went about rendering aid and medicine to affected persons.

People of the area are all praise for the Army authorities. “Jawans came to our aid in the quickest time possible”, said Pawan Kumar of Shogalpur. He said this behaviour was in stark contrast to that of Drainage Department officials who did not even provide bags or labour to strengthen necessary bundhs. Similarly, while Army doctors were moving in villages, state government medical teams were sitting at vantage points and expecting villagers to come to them for medicine, he said.

“Babas” of the area also moved fast even though their services were not requisitioned. The most prominent among them was baba Maan Singh of Pehowa whose men are camping in this town. The baba’s followers have come prepared with ration, which is being cooked and despatched to needy villagers in their own vehicles as well as tractor-trailers of farmers.

Same was the case with followers of other “babas” in the region. Two mini-trucks of the dera of baba Sukhdev Singh of Sirsa-Alohran in Nabha were parked along the Nirwana branch of the Bhakra canal near Lachhru Kalan village when a TNS team visited the village. Volunteers were serving chapattis, vegetables and sweetened rice to villagers. Volunteers from the dera of the Sant of Hansali, besides other religious organisations, are also fanning out to help villagers in distress.

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