Two decades ago when his hometown Latur was devastated in the earthquake, Madhav Mane (30) was a helpless standard V student, who could barely fend for himself. Today he works as a research scientist in a German-based company and has recently made a union of 52 villagers whose families suffered damage in the natural calamity.
Together, they are determined to turn a barren tract of land into a flourishing agricultural farms. Mane says he is researching on how his people could farm on the lands that had turned barren due to the earthquake.
Madhav currently resides in Mumbai. He belongs to a farmer family, but had lost his land and hope of further education after the Latur diaster. He was lucky to be one of the hundred students who were provided education by the Bharitya Jain Sanghatna (BJS) and finished his higher secondary schooling in a Wagoli school.
Recalling his family’s struggle after the disaster, he says that his schooling suffered and his family had to start from zero again. “We had to work in others’ farms. With BJS’s help, I completed my masters in science,” he says, adding, “Today, we have brought 52 villagers from Latur together and formed the Marathwada Bhumiputra Vikas Samajik Sanstha. The Sanstha organises various programmes to explain people the importance of agriculture. We also invite experts to encourage people to take up farming. We plan to revitalise the lands in Umarga area where the agriculture land has become infertile. There are no rains in that area. We are researching to change this by bringing about changes in the agriculture patterns.”
To commemorate 20 years of Latur earthquake and establishment of Wagholi Educational Rehabilitation Project, BJS organised a live demo of earthquake by the National Defence Response Force (NDRF) at WERP Ground Wagholi on Sunday noon where several survivors attended the event. BJS, founded by Shantilal Mutha, provided education to the earthquake survivors and orphans from Latur.
One such survivor of the earthquake has not only completed his MA and BEd, but also fought with the state government to get jobs for several villagers who lost everything in the deadly earthquake 20 years ago. Meet 33-year-old Amar Birajdhar who also runs a dairy business.
For the past 17 years, Birajdar has been fighting to get various state grants for the earthquake-hit people which were promised by the state government. Birajdhar was 14-year-old when he lost his loved ones in 1993 earthquake. He later joined BJS. “The government had made promises, including job guarantee in government sectors and several other grants. But we had to fight for nearly ten years to get jobs,” he says.
“Some villages, Killari, Magarul, Nandurga and a few other villages are still lying barren and some of the land has been handed over to the forest department. We, along with BJS and the Bhukampgrast Kruti Samiti, have been demanding that the government reused the barren land by planting saplings of Baniyan, tamarind and other such species which will bring rains.”
NDRF stages demo on rescue operations
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion stationed in Pune gave a live demonstration of earthquake rescue operations, including the use of life detectors and smoke ventilators, especially during earthquake disaster, on Sunday. The techniques used during rescue operations such as river crossing were also shown. Various ways of cutting through wooden and iron debris and bringing down injured and dead persons made the demonstration interesting. Alertness and eye for minute details are the key factors while acting on such rescue operations, said Alok Awasthi, Lt Commandant, NDRF.