This is a brief report of the work done by the students of IIT kharagpur under the banner of the collaboration between the NGO MUKTI and a group of students of IIT kharagpur, in the Sunderbans area for the Aila affected people of the region.
As we all know that the cyclone Aila has devastated large parts of coastal Bengal in its unrelenting fury.Homes were devastated, livestock killed, farmlands rendered useless.Loss of property and destruction of lives of common people to such an extent that even thinking of the ground situation makes one shudder.
So as an attempt to lend a helping hand and to try and give some relief, however minimal it might be to those affected by this natural calamity we the students of IIT kharagpur together embarked on a mission to do our part for those affected. With the support of NGO MUKTI and the willingness of the local villagers we did what seemed most important.
Initially our plan was to concentrate on the education sector.
With widespread flooding and devastation one can imagine what will be condition of school going students in those villages, all their books and copies destroyed, uniforms soaked in salt water rendered useless we hence decided to collect money from other IIT students and IIT alumni and thus re-imburse some of these losses. But when we finally reached there we saw that the ground situation was far worse.
People were still struggling to get over their basic needs, there is a scarcity of clean water and many still are living in temporary dwellings. Seeing the ground situation we decided that our first priority should be to provide help to sort out these major problems first.
So began our pond cleaning exercise. In rural Bengal most of the villagers heavily depend of small ponds or “pokurs” as called by the locals for their basic needs. These ponds or pokurs are the main source of water for various daily chores like bathing, washing ,and feeding the livestock. Now thanks to the fury of Aila almost all of these small ponds were rendered unusable. The salt water from the sea had made these pokurs into small pits of saline water , unfit for human use.
So as part of our relief effort we first decided to clean up as many small ponds as possible. Now as every village home has as small pond of its own it becomes very difficult to clean all of them and its very costly too so we decided to clean up the public ponds belonging to schools, temples, mosques and clubs which in turn can be used by large groups of people without any personal conflicts.
In this process we cleaned nearly 12 ponds in G-plot area having 7 villages. We charged a fixed rate for diesel and used the water pumps of the villagers, paid the money for fuel and thus cleaned the ponds.
In all a very good joint effort by the local villagers and the members of our team. Then we returned back to our original job of providing books to school children. We spoke to the school administrations of the schools present there, decided on a plan to distribute books. By the end of this month we plan to distribute books to at least 3 schools for all classes starting from 5 to 12.
This concludes in brief our work experience in G-plot of sunderbans in our effort for Aila relief.
– Report By Pavan Kumar, Student, IIT Kharagpur.