This was the most humbling experience for the three of us, past president Rtn Arvind Mehan and Rotary Club of Chandigarh's club secretary Rtn Hassan Singh Mejie, and I to be in Leh with the relief material so generously collected by the Rotarians of our District 3080.
Having been loaded personally by the Rotarians including Past Rotary International President Raja Saboo, Rotary International Director Elect Yash Das, District Governor Madhukar Malhotra, and Presidents of tricity, on Sunday the 5th September, the material was airlifted to Leh, thanks to the AOC Air Cmdr Rajeev Sachdeva in Chandigarh, and AOC Air Cmdr Anil Tewari in Leh.
We were there on Monday morning, the 6th September, to receive it at the IAF base, and were fortunate to have the complete support of 1-Vikas Unit headed by Commanding Officer Col Tikka Yuvraj Singh Bedi, the newphew of our PDG Kawal Bedi, at whose insistence, he had made elaborate arrangements to make our relief operation a great success.
We were able to travel to nearly 150 kms away from Leh towards the Batalic border near Kargil, and provide relief to several villages that were badly affected and had not received much relief so far, because of the distance.
The situation is grim. Even after one month of the tragedy of torrential rain and mud-slides which washed away families and homes of numerous people, rendering many children orphans, the local residents are still trying to put their lives together, living in make-shift accommodations and tents.
Now the winter is just few weeks away when the temperature goes down as low as -40 degrees. It is difficult for these families to survive. The Deputy Commissioner has requested for 13 prefabricated shelters of 12ft x 14ft size and one barrack of 24ft x 60ft size. On exploring with various fabricators, one of them in Baddi had been very generous to provide the same at no-profit basis, and the total cost comes to about Rs.25 lakh.
The people of Leh are looking towards Rotary with great hope and expectant eyes. They are waiting for these temporary shelters which can help them save their families from winter. Our appeal is to come forward and send in your contributions to "Chandigarh Rotary Club Service Trust". We have just few weeks to go to take these shelters in Leh-Ladakh area, and save these precious lives.