Gosaba on Sunday, Hingalganj on Tuesday. Twice in three days, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee confronted a surge of anger, frustration and discontent as he visited victims of Cyclone Aila. Buddha perhaps for first time in his life was jeered by the crowd and asked to return to Kolkata.
Now cut to the relief work spearheaded by Seva Bharati – Seva Vibhag of RSS
It was a nightmarish experience for 50-odd swayamsevaks who braved the storm and rains and started distributing relief to distressed villagers at Basanti, Sonakhali, Kultuli, Gosaba, Pathankhali, Hemnagar and Mandirghat within six hours after the Aila lashed villages in the Sunderbans on May 25.
Initially, the starving villagers took swayamsevaks as state government relief employees and started to hurl abuses. However, when the distressed villagers discovered that they were RSS volunteers and risked their lives to bring them relief materials, they were simply over-joyed and begged pardon for their initial mistake. Women blew conch-shells to welcome the swayamsevaks in their mud houses.
Swayamsevaks of the two neighbouring districts have set up 32 relief camps and have been feeding about 30,000 cyclone-hit hapless villagers daily since May 26. The worst affected are the five blocks, Hasnabad, Najat, Sandeshkhali I & II and Hingalganj. Here 50 shakhas are affected due to large-scale inundation. Even after flooding, swayamsevaks are running two relief camps in Basantitala where cooked food is supplied to nearly 4,000 villagers daily. As the villagers have lost everything and have no means to cook rice, the meals are being cooked at the RSS relief centres on the main land and then transported by country boats to relief camps set up by sawyamsevaks in far-flung Sunderban islands daily.