Experience of an IT professional working with Seva bharathi / RSS in Flood relief
Reconstructed experience of Mr Deepanshu as written in bits and pieces as comments in his Picasa album: http://picasaweb.google.com/dipanshumansingka/FloodReliefAssistanceOctober2009AtRajoli#
On Sunday 11 Oct we visited this place Rajouli (Mahaboobnagar dist) to get more details of how RSS is operating for relief work. Believe me, no media coverage or photos would have given even a closer understanding of the devastation than this first hand visit..
We started at 5 am from hyderabad.
On the way to the relief camps run by seva bharathi /RSS
- We found truck loads of relief materials by various agencies one of them was a corporate Astra Microwave products Ltd going for flood relief assistance. For the first time I was going to such kind of assistance and also for first time worked with Seva Bharathi / RSS. Their work system is very organized.
- They first surveyed and counted the affected number of houses in advance and mean time arranged the items and simulteniously got the tokens and cards printed. Today till 2.30 pm first 10 groups went to each area in Rajoli village and distributed cards. Relief vehicles came with the items, while volunteers making sure discipline is followed the beneficiries were properly made to sit in queues.
- The 2nd phase of relief work in Mahboobnagar will be completed on Thursday with cleaning of Allampur Temple by 1000 volunteers.
In third phase hand weaving machines to people of Rajoli will be given as this is the main source of earning and everyone has lost them in flood. We found the used clothes thrown away by people even good quality clothes also were thrown / burnt them to clean the village.
Our first stop was the base camp of RSS in a engg. college near to Krishna river on NH7, Sri kottam tulasi reddy memorial enginnering college. This is the base center. Sewa bharathi are arranging kits in the night and started distributing in the morning. Almost more than 400 Sewabharathi volunteers are working here and distributing relief material in 29 villages through this base camp. The flood relief Kit includes basic needy material which will help them to servive for next 15 days.
Sewa Bharathi volunteers were ready to go for distribution. Each group of distribution team was briefed on situations and how to handle them as well as Kit distribution plan. The Collage Gym was converted in Store room. We could meet amazing people in the trip there was this volunteer, he was here from first day and providing help along with his own vehicle, Loading the Kits for Distribution.
Once the trucks and vehicles were loaded we were ready to go. Getting ready to go rajauli for distrribution. At Rajoli we distributed packets to about 2000 people which had 10 kg rice, one kg of pulses, tamarind and spices, utensils and a bucket, mug, blanket, mat, candle and matchbox.
The RSS base camp had boxes of medicines sent from different Churches. During my one day experience in relief work with RSS I realized it was equally done for people from different communities. But while traveling on the highway I did came across "relief for minorities".
The cloth merchants of Nizamabad donated new clothes. A Cloth merchant from kamareddy has actually donated Rs. 16 lakh worth clothes. People are not accepting used clothes. A lot of the clothes were thrown or burnt as they were used clothes, even clothes in good condition but used were thrown away by beneficiaries.
If you see the Google maps link one would realize that Rajavolu was the starting point as the barrage gates are located here and all the damage happened along the flow of Tungabhadra river.
Volunteers in vans and jeeps at the base camp were organised in to 10 teams and distributed the cards to the needy people surveying the house and seeing their voter cards. Employees of Infosys, MS and Oracle are also participated in the relief operation working with Sewa bharathi.
Larges stretches of farms were wiped off because of floods. It was sad and amazing how the water from Tungabhadra reached to such levels and damaged everything in its way. The internal road to Rajoli after taking right on NH7 was an example and it was worse.
Seva Bharati / RSS volunteers distributed cards to each family based on the condition of the house and looking at their voter card. It was pleasing to discover the propaganda of discrimination and religious intolerence was fake and atleast I did not find any discrimination based on caste or religion. Volunteers explained and convinced the villagers to come to the village school premises with the card given, where distribution will take place at 2:30 pm.
We were standing on the bank of the Tungabhadra 40 feet above current water level and the villagers say water went about 20 feet above where we were standing. The amazing and live thing was the markings on the walls due to water stagnation and it was unbelievable that a now dry river had a week ago submerged the village.
At the end of the day it was satisfaction of helping others in need and finding out truth for ones own self that gives peace. So I was a relieved man after working with the RSS / Sewa bharati volunteers now I know what it is.