Volunteers lend helping hand to distraught relatives
Dehradun: As distraught relatives outside Jolly Grant airport and Sahasradhara helipad waited for news of their near and dear ones, they were attended to by scores of volunteers who handed out water bottles and served food.
They were also in the streets, collecting donation for the Chief Minister's Fund, contributing their mite to the collective effort to provide relief.
Outside the Jolly Grant hospital, one came across them sitting in a pick-up truck with bunches of bananas and water bottles for delivery to those rescued who have been admitted there after being ferried back from areas devastated by torrential rain and flash floods.
Amid the chaos, the volunteers brought a touch of calm confidence to the rescue effort.
As the friends and family of those missing rushed from one official to another, chased every official vehicle and vented their anger at the administration, the volunteers were there, patiently waiting with a glass of water, or refreshing lime juice, and food.
Manning their stations from dawn till dusk, when the helicopters ceased their sorties for the day, these volunteers were almost a part of the agony and anxiety of the harried numbers outside the airport.
One such group was from the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, which has set up a langar outside the airport.
The volunteers at this kiosk were local youth who were giving their assistance to those whose only thoughts were about their family members stranded up in the hills.
"We have been here since morning. My friends and I thought we should be a part of the effort," said Sumit as he went with his friends from room to room at the hospital, handing out water bottles and inquiring after the health of the survivors admitted there.
But the response is not all local, people from other areas too have come here to join the effort.
J S Dhillon and Harwinder Singh, two of the volunteers at the SGPC kiosk, are from Jind district in Haryana.
They arrived here a couple of days ago to join in the efforts by local youth.
"We came here after being asked to do so by our Gurdwara seniors. We will be here for as long as there are people here looking for their missing relatives," Dhillon said.
Earlier, in the day, 20-odd students from DAV College went on a drive to collect money for relief operations.
"Today is the first day of our drive. We will continue tomorrow as well and then send the money to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund," said one of the students.