He was about to be appointed an apprentice in TANGEDCO
A pall of gloom descended over Mittaadharkulam, a small hamlet with just 229 houses near Thisaiyanvilai, as it had lost one of its young members in a gruesome murder. A disturbing wail suddenly erupted from a small house on the South Street as the poor family had lost its eldest son, who always worked for the welfare of his native place, like his father.
Estaak Vincent (58) works as a pump operator in the Kottaikarunkulam village panchayat. He used to take his eldest son E. Sathish Kumar along with him whenever he went to the pump house situated three km from the village to operate the motor that supplies water from Nambiyar riverbed to the residents.
Since Sathish, with his ITI electrical trade, was smart in repairing pumps and electric lines in the village panchayat, Mr. Esthaak could be seen all the time with his son, considered by the villagers as the pump operator's right hand.
After illicit sand mining started taking roots on the Nambiyar riverbed, drinking water supply to the entire Kottaikarunkulam panchayat was affected with water level in the infiltration wells going down alarmingly.
Mr. Esthaak, who had to operate the pump once or twice a day earlier, had to repeatedly discharge his duty after shuttling between the water source and the hamlet at least four times a day.
To check this menace, a group of youths from the village voluntarily came forward to put an end to illicit sand quarrying that seriously affected groundwater table and also drinking water supply to the entire rural local body. Naturally, Sathish Kumar, who had completely understood his father's predicament, also became part of the team.
When the villagers came to know that a mini-tipper lorry had gone towards the Nambiyar river basin shortly after midnight for illegal sand quarrying, Mr. Esthaak, along with Sathish Kumar and a few youths from Mittaadhaarkulam, went to the spot around 2.30 a.m.
After dividing themselves into small groups at different points, they waited for the lorry to return to the main road. On seeing the lorry coming towards him, Sathish Kumar tried to stop the speeding sand-laden vehicle. Even before he could move to safety, the lorry crushed him to death as his shell-shocked father witnessed it from a distance. “After hectic pump repair work on Sunday, he returned home only around 9 p.m. and had a deep sleep. It was I who woke him up and took him along with me to the spot,” recalls Mr. Esthaak, as he inconsolably weeps. He draws a paltry sum of Rs. 2,000 as monthly salary and gets something more by repairing pumps and drinking water lines laid on the streets.
Sathish's relatives, certifying him as a ‘smart guy' with a helping tendency, could not believe that the family would have met with such a rude shock.
“In fact, he was about to be appointed in an apprentice post in TANGEDCO. Unfortunately, the family of six members, which would have come out of its poverty, has lost one of its members now,” said Geneva, a relative of Mr. Esthaak.