Smartphone, too, saved lives in Uttarakhand

Smartphone, too, saved lives in Uttarakhand

Smartphone, too, saved lives in Uttarakhand

Technology can be man’s best friend in trying times was more than proved  in Uttarakhand, where all communication lines snapped after the June 15 deluge.

A group from Maharashtra realised, though the hard way, that buying a smartphone was not just a style statement but a meaningful investment. Marooned in treacherous terrain along with some  2,000 stranded pilgrims post flash floods, Jayesh Bhangdiya wrote a small note on a piece of paper with a sketch of the area where they were stuck, clicked a photo with the phone’s camera and mailed it to his contact using his upmarket cellphone.

And a person known to him, Sunil Baheti, delivered the email to Uttarakhand Inspector General (Law and Order) Ram Singh Meena in Dehradun, who in turn shared it with the Army for air dropping food packets and airlifting all 2,000 of them to safety.

IG Meena confirmed to Deccan Herald that perseverance and technology combined has added another chapter to the success rescue stories of the hilly state as thousands are still battling hunger and extreme weather conditions with the hope of returning home safely.

“Sunil Baheti came to me seeking help to rescue a group of pilgrims from Maharashtra stranded in Jungle Chatti, which was not accessible as rain had washedaway the road from Gaurikund to Kedarnath,” IG Meena said.

Though Jungle Chatti is just two kilomters from Gaurikund, the deluge made it difficult to locate the stranded pilgrims but for the email which contained a map, the senior IPS officer pointed out.

As per the email made available to Deccan Herald, the note written in Hindi says, “the stranded people cannot move towards Gaurikund as roads have disappeared.
However, if Army personnel descend at Ramabada and bring food for starving pilgrims, then they can be fed and taken back to the same place for rescue work.” 
Interestingly, the sketch of the five kilometre-long stretch from Gaurikund to Kedarnath marks both - the place where the 2,000 pilgrims were stranded and the patch of road which went missing, two kilometres from the starting point.