It was a precious moment in the life of the 35 members of the Thurkey Bazaar Jeevan Raksha Samithi (Thurki Life Rescue organisation), a social organisation of the natives of Thurkey Bazar and Kaithakkolly on the outskirts of the Kalpetta Municipality of Wayanad district as they were honoured by the State government at a function recently for their estimable rescue operations in the state since 1979.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran distributed certificates and medals to the members of the organisation and gave away a cash reward of Rs.25, 000 for their free meritorious services rendered to the society at the Collectorate Conference hall recently. Addressing the members at that function Mr. Rajendran said the works of the Samithi was a model for the entire State.

The Minister said the government was considering a documentary film on the rescue operations of the Samithi and it would be screened throughout the State as an inspiration to social service workers.

Though a small organisation, the periphery of its tasks has stretched throughout the district and the neighbouring areas of the State. The free services of the Samithi include the rescue operations at the time of rain related calamities, accidents, drowning, fire accidents and blood donation during emergencies. All the expenses of the operations are met by the Samithi.

The organisation has rescued the lives of more than 45 people this year alone, when the monsoon wrought havoc in the district. Apart from this, the members have recovered more than 50 bodies in various incidents so far. The Samithi is the first social organisation in the district which published the blood directory many years ago, the Minister added.

Though the name of the Samithi has been familiar in the district for the last 30 years, it was known to the outside world only after the rescue operations in the train accident on the Kadalundi railway bridge on 23 June in 2001, he said. The rescue operations of the Samithi in the incident were praised by all walks of society.

Apart from the rescue operations, the Samithi has also organised blood donation camps, debates and seminars to impart social awareness among the youth in the district regularly. Every year training for the young members and the interested public on under water rescue operations are conducted in the Thurki River after the monsoon, Shal Puthalan, secretary of the Samithi said. The drowning incidents have increased considerably after the construction of the two dams at Karapuzha and Banasura Sagar in the district. Oxygen cylinders will be purchased for rescue operations with cash rewards by the government, he added.

The Revenue department, police and even the Fire and Rescue personnel in the district seek the assistance of the Samithi at a time of emergency. Muhamed Vallyappu and Thurki Kunjahammed are the patrons of the Samithi.

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