MANOJ CHAUHAN, a 17-year-old from the City who laid down his life while saving others in the flash floods of August 1, 2005, has been nominated posthumously for the National Bravery Award 2006-07.
Ironically, the family of Manoj is facing hard times and does not even have funds to go to Delhi to attend the award ceremony. Lions Club member and chartered accountant Radheshyam Somani highlighted the contribution of the brave child in saving 30 lives, the plight of his family and official apathy here on Wednesday. He said when the City was caught by surprise due to flooding in the low-lying areas, the brave Manoj risked his own life to save many others.
On that fateful day about 10-ft of water had entered Maruti Nagar Colony and Manoj who lived in the area went out with empty tin cans, tyre tubes and other floatable material to reach out to those trapped in the water fury.
He continued this exercise from 4 am to 12 pm despite being a heart patient and managed to save 30 people. The next day he fell due to contaminated water filling his lungs and excessive stress. He died from pneumonia and related complications four days later.
Somani said that the boy was a ‘shakha parmukh’ of the children’s wing in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) from where he had learnt discipline and the will to serve.
His family includes a paralytic father, an unlettered mother, a sister of marriageable age and a younger brother. The entire colony had not lighted their stoves for three days as a mark of respect to Manoj and politicians from several parties had come to sympathise, but did little else.
Somani has asked the Chief Minister and public why the government, which doles out about Rs 5 lakh to the dead in any kind of accident, was showing reluctance in providing for this family.