Women Officers In Khaki At The Forefront In Evacuating The Calamity-Hit In Himachal

Shimla: Gloria Gaynor’s song ‘It’s raining men’ appears to be a passe as it is women power in the forefront in evacuating people and carrying out rescue operations in one of the severest natural disasters in Himachal Pradesh in the recent past.

Amidst a flood-like situation in the mountainous state, where at least 31 people died in floods and landslides, it is a deluge of power by them as they are out in the open heading and monitoring operations.

They are Mandi and Kullu Superintendents of Police — Soumya Sambasivan and Saakshi Verma Kartikeyan, respectively.

Both Kullu and Mandi are the worst deluge-affected districts, besides Shimla.

Both are assisted and motivated by their boss and acting Director General of Police Satwant Atwal Trivedi, the first woman IPS officer from the state who has been awarded the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service.

Official sources told IANS that both SPs — Soumya Sambasivan and Saakshi Verma — have been monitoring the rescue operation at the spot round the clock since July 8.

As per official estimates, 12 bridges, including the century-old Pandoh bridge and Aut bridge in Mandi, have been swept away in the flashfloods.

Mandi’s ancient Shiv temple has been submerged in water in the swollen Beas river. The bridge connecting the temple has been washed away in a flashflood.

Donning raincoats, both Soumya Sambasivan and Saakshi Verma have been visiting habitats along the rivers and water channels to convince people to move to the safe places or the rescue centres set up by the government.

Videos of Soumya Sambasivan convincing an elderly man to vacate his house despite the threat to it from the gushing waters have won accolades from the public.

In the video, she was asking the man: “If you will not be alive, what will you do with your household items. This is my house. If my house is not here, then why will we live.”

She replied, “If there’s life, then there’s the world. Our priority is to keep your life safe.”

“We have rescued 80 people. The entire district is in a situation of complete disaster. We are on the job in rescue and relief operations. We are constantly monitoring areas along the banks of the Beas river which has been in spate for the past many days,” Soumya Sambasivan told IANS.

Representative image generated through AI by Hill Post Team

Likewise, Kullu Superintendent of Police Saakshi Verma has been on the toes to try to reach out to the maximum number of tourists and locals who have been stranded after the snapping of road links with landslides.

“Contact established by police. Around 400-500 tourists in Ulga, Pulga, Tosh, Barshaini (Manikaran village) are safe in the hotels and home stays,” tweeted action DGP Satwant Atwal on the basis of information provided by Kullu Police.

In another tweet, she wrote: “Positive: Nearly 74 people have been contacted in various parts of Kullu district such as Nirmand, Jari, Banjar, etc. They are safe.”

In a series of tweets with pep talks like “We are ready” and “Proud of our brothers in khaki”, Satwant Atwal and her husband Additional Director General of Police Abhishek Trivedi have been updating the people round the clock about the ongoing rescue operations being carried out by the police and Home Guard personnel.

“We have been trying to update through tweets round the clock about the ongoing rescue operations, condition of road networks, traffic updates and more importantly the status of the stranded tourists and locals,” Abhishek Trivedi told IANS.

He said besides police control rooms have been set up in all districts for any assistance related to calamity.

Regarding the rescue of 300 people, including 75 women, stranded at the glacial-fed Chandertal for the past three days,

Satwant Atwal tweeted: “Chopper sent (on Tuesday) to Chandertal had to return due to bad weather. Will try again as cloud cover gives way.”

According to the Deputy Commissioner, everyone is safe in Manali, Parvati Valley as well as Tirthan and Jibhi area in Kullu.

“We have contacted these 12 tourists from MP and they are safe,” tweeted Abhishek Trivedi.

In one of the tweets, Satwant Atwal posted an audio of establishing contact with five tourist families who were staying at Banjara Resorts in Kullu.

Even Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu praised the disasters response forces, the local administration and police forces for their remarkable bravery and resilience during the challenging operation to rescue civilians trapped in the Beas river.

“Yesterday (July 9), they saved a total of 9 lives in Kullu, and today, in the early hours of the morning, they rescued 6 individuals in Nagwayin, Distt Mandi. The dedication and selflessness of these heroes are commendable,” Sukhu tweeted.

In one of the toughest and courageous operations, the National Disaster Response Force has safely evacuated six people trapped in Nagwain in Aut tehsil across the river in an operation that lasted till Sunday midnight.

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