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‘My son’s still inside a quake-hit building in NZ...’
4 students from Punjab going through ordeal; anxious parents look for help
Prabhjot Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, February 23
Anxious parents of at least four boys from Punjab were frantically looking for an authentic information about the welfare of their wards, who are said to be trapped inside a quake-hit building in Christchurch since yesterday.

“I spoke to my son Wardeep Singh for a while at around 4 pm today, but then his cell phone batteries conked out. He was still trapped inside a residential building in Linwood area. He told me that he and his friends have been without food and water for almost 28 hours now,” said a worried Patiala resident Gurcharan Singh Mann. He says the number of Indian students trapped inside various buildings could be much more.

Besides Wardeep Singh, who is a student of Royal Business College in Christchurch, there are three other students from Punjab - Simran Singh of Gurdaspur, Manoj and Tarun Juneja (both from Patiala) - who are facing the ordeal.

Gurcharan Singh says that he has been making desperate efforts to get in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. “I am trying to contact the quake helpline too, but no information about our wards is coming through,” he adds.

This correspondent also made attempts to solicit information about the welfare of Indian students from various helplines but without much success. Efforts were also made by him to reach Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, the first Sikh MP of New Zealand, and gurdwaras in Christchurch and Auckland for more information on Indian quake victims.

Leo, a spokesman of the Royal Brown College, told The Tribune over phone that so far the college has received no information about any injury or harm to any of its international students.

“Only government agencies can access the quake-affected buildings. Christchurch is closed to the public. We have no direct access to the building in which the four students were staying. But we believe that rescue teams must have shifted them to a safer place,” said the spokesperson. Ninety per cent students of the college are from India.

Meanwhile, parents have urged the college to post latest information about its each and every international student on its website. 





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