A 60-year-old milkman has emerged as an unlikely hero in Uttar Pradesh after rescuing 15 children from drowning in the Ganga with even chief minister Akhilesh Yadav acknowledging the feat.
Officials said that Ramjit Yadav of Dallapati village in Mirzapur district will be felicitated by the chief minister for his brave act.
Mirzapur district magistrate Rajesh Kumar Singh told HT on Wednesday that the official function to reward felicitate and reward Yadav was likely to be held on Saturday.
Yadav’s act of bravery came on Thursday when he had boarded a boat with his cans of milk, a daily routine which takes him to Mirzapur township, situated across the Ganga. Mirzapur is around 250 km east of Lucknow.
15 students had also boarded the boat on their way to school in Rampur, police said.
However, midway through the journey the boat started listing and started taking water, leaving the panicky students crying and shouting for help.
The boatman by then had lost control and the vessel capsized in no time, threatening the lives of all on board.
Police quoted the rescued students as saying that Yadav caught hold of one of them and asked the others to cling on to him as he swam across the swollen river.
Some other people on the bank saw Yadav’s valiant effort and jumped into the water to pull all of them to safety.
Since then, Yadav has become not only a hero in his own village but also in all nearby villages.
“Despite being of such age, Ramjit made a spirited effort to save the children,” said Ajay Sonkar, a resident of the village.
Ramjit himself was, however, modest about the feat saying his swimming skills helped him prevent what could have been a tragedy.
“Since my hut is located on the bank of the river I learned swimming when I was 12. It helps me keep fit and on several occasions I swam across the Ganga to reach the town,” he told HT over phone.
He also felt that the district administration should pass an order restricting small boats from transporting school children.
“The district administration should take adequate steps for their safe journey,” he added.