Uttarakhand tragedy survivors pampered at Nagpur Railway station

NAGPUR: The special train run for the benefit of the survivors of Uttarakhand tragedy which had just begun to chug out of the railway station was stopped as the doctor was still treating a patient for hypertension. “You cannot imagine the devastation which we saw,” said Srikrishna Chandrashekhar, one of the passengers on the 04014 Nizamuddin-Secunderbad special train.

With horror still quite visible in his eyes, Chandrashekhar who had lost all his luggage in Kedarnath, had nothing but the clothes that he was wearing. “Big stones were falling from above us. It was frightening, there was no food, but at least our whole group is safe,” he said.

The Nagpur Division of Central Railway had made provisions for these people. They had also approached some NGOs and institutions to come forward and help the victims with food and drinks.

There were about 450-500 passengers in the 17-bogie train which reached Nagpur at 4.45pm and is expected to reach Secunderabad by 1.30am on Sunday. Apart from the railway catering many other organizations including DRUCC, ZRUCC, BYK, Punjab National Bank, Maheshwari Mahila Samiti, Sindhi community, Naivedhyam and Comesum restaurants came forward to help the victims and there was more than enough food for all of them. Medical assistance was also given to the passengers.

“The division has done a great job with DRM Brijesh Dixit heading from the front. The Bharatiya Yatri Kendra (BYK) had first written to the government to start such specials and we are happy that they took this step,” said Basant Shukla, general secretary of BYK.

“The owner of our hotel came to wake us up at 4am and asked us to run and that is how we have survived. By 5am our hotel was submerged in water,” said Mahalakshmi Kumari. “It took us three days to come out of the shock of what had happened. We were in a complete daze,” said K Satchidanand.

The passengers, who were literally being pampered by the volunteers who had come to provide provisions were very grateful for the help. “Before Amla we were provided nothing. Here we have got plenty,” said Ashok Reddy. Recalling the horror, he said, “It was five days in hell.”

“Nagpur Division has arranged for the dinner of the passengers at Ballarshah,” said SK Dash, station manager. To oversee the process a team from Nagpur, under the leadership of divisional commercial manager BL Kori, went in the train to Ballarshah.

While departing the smiling faces of the passengers said it all “a big thank you to the railway staff and volunteers”.