Relief Material for Earth Quake Ravaged at Bhuj, Gujarat
26 January 2001 proved to be one of the darkest day of last five decades, when an earthquake devastated large portions of life and property in Gujarat.
Hon'ble Congress President had given an emotional and personal call to all congressmen to rise to the occasion and provide succour for lakhs of our brothers and sisters in state of Gujarat in this time of extreme adversity.
Shri. Randeep Singh Surjewala, President, Indian Youth Congress informed that Youth Congress was among the first organisations to react and come to the aid of injured as also to those trapped under the debris.
State President, Shri Himmat Singh Patel personallly supervised relief and rescue operations in Ahmedabad City. In both the major Corporation run hospitals in the city, we had provided free medicines and services from the date of earthquake itself. Having seen the outstanding nature of free services being provided in these two hospitals by youth volunteers, Shri. Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, especially allocated Rs. 5 lakhs for help in supply of free medicines. Following additional emergent steps were taken:-
- All State units of adjoining states i.e. Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Maharastra, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu started special 'Relief Material Collection Program' in all the Districts and Block by setting up the camps in their areas and also by launching a house to house campaign.
- Two General Secretaries of IYC, Miss L. Tilotama and Shri Jagat Singh were stationed at Ahmedabad to oversee and coordinate the relief work. While Miss. L.Tilotma was already in Ahmedabad on the next day of earthquake, Shri Jagat Singh joined her within next 48 hours. Shri Anil Bhardwaj, another General Secretary of IYC was stationed at IYC Headquarter in New Delhi to coordinate the relief work as also transfer of relief material in phases. Shri Akhilesh Jain, Spokesperson, IYC was co-coordinator incharge assisting Shri Anil Bhardwaj. Shri C.P.Mittal, former secretary of IYC was deputed to co-ordinate the relief operations with AICC's control room.
- Extensive relief and rescue operations were undertaken by Youth Congress at Bhuj, Bacchau, Kanjaar etc.. IYC's National Office bearers, including IYC President Sh. Randeep Singh Surjewala visited these areas.
Another base camp was set up at Bhuj by 2 February, 2001. Shri Rajender Deepa along with Shri Kuljit Nagra, Dr. S. Gill and their team were deputed to run the said camp. Shri Rajender Deepa was also named as Convenor, Earthquake Relief for the area. Two Ambulances from Nasik were placed at their disposal.
4) We arranged and dispatched of truck loads of following material:-
- Potatoes and Onion.
- Clothing items
- Bandages and Dettoles
- Candles, Soaps, Matchboxes
As a special measure, IYC also supplied firewood for cremation of bodies. 20 truck loads of fire wood i.e. Nilgiri and Bawar wood were sent by our Daman & Diu unit of Youth Congress.
Some of the material started arriving at Delhi by 2 February, 2001 evening and another considerable lot of material arrived on 4 February, 2001 evening. We sought the indulgence of Hon'ble Congress President for flagging of this material.
We collected and dispatched material worth about Rs.100 Lakh or more over first 30 to 45 days.
IYC President, Sh. Randeep Singh Surjewala personally visited all the affected areas within 48-96 hours. The IYC, have decided to adopt particular block/group of villages for purposes of providing elaborate relief and undertaking rebuilding operations.
As always, IYC was guided by Smt. Sonia Gandhi's immeasurable experience and persistent encouragement, which has always, inspired Youth Congress friends to strive for highest standard of performance.
First instalment of relief material ment for Bhuj, Gujarat, measuring about 500 tons that is 50 trucks was flagged off by Smt. Sonia Gandhi on 4th Febuary, 2001 from AICC headquarters i.e. 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi. We were humbled by the fact that out of 150 trucks of relief material flagged off by Smt. Sonia Gandhi, IYC, led by its President, Sh. Randeep Singh Surjewala, had contributed of 50 trucks loads of relief material.
2nd Instalment of relief material meant for Bhuj, Gujarat measuring over 100 tonnes was dispatched from Youth Congress Office on 23rd February, 2001.
Shri Oscar Fernandes, General Secretary, AICC and Shri Mukul Wasnik, Member, CWC flagged off the trucks..
This was a great achievement and IYC felt respledently humbled in contributing its share in this time of need.