Young MLA from Madhya Pradesh sets an example

Young MLA from Madhya Pradesh sets an example

Young MLA from Madhya Pradesh sets an example

As politicians squabble for brownie points over the relief and rescue work in flood-battered Uttarakhand, a young MLA from Madhya Pradesh (MP) worked silently for days in flood-hit areas.

The legislator paid lakhs of rupees from his pocket to hire a chopper that helped save 90 pilgrims.

Sanjay Pathak, MLA from the Vijay Raghavgarh Assembly constituency in Katni district of MP, hired a chopper from a private firm at his own expense and flew it for at least 40 hours for nearly a week.

The chopper made multiple sorties to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gaurikund, Joshimath and other badly affected areas. At the end of the week-long exercise, the MLA payed over Rs 25 lakh to the aviation firm.

Some state governments, including Punjab and Gujarat, had their choppers flying for relief and rescue operations in flood-hit areas, all at the cost of the state exchequer.
Several state governments have been involved in evacuating mainly people domiciled in that state, but among the 90-odd people evacuated by Pathak’s chopper, majority of them were from various states.

Talking to Deccan Herald on Friday, Pathak said for every hour the chopper flew, he paid Rs 75,000.

Pathak said: “I stationed myself in Dehradun and other flood-ravaged areas. I used to avoid getting into the chopper as that would have meant one less person on board for evacuation.” At the Sahastradhara air-field in Dehradun, Pathak was a lesser know face all these days as he engaged himself in coordinating sorties sans media glare and publicity.

“Early on the morning of June 20, I received four calls from natives of my constituency who were stuck in Badrinath. They were crying for help. I wasted no time in hiring a chopper and joined the rescue operations,” he said.

Pathak said he decided not to return to MP even as pilgrims from his state were being rescued. “It was a crisis of enormous magnitude. I could not help but stay longer,” he said.

The MLA retained the chopper all through the week to help others. Pathak lamented the “poor” planning and coordination that he was privy to, essentially at the hands of the state administration.