By now most of the people are aware that 21 employees of a blanket-manufacturing unit have been killed and many others injured when a four-storey building at Focal Point Extension in Jalandhar collapsed on April 15, but very few know that a few people from the city left their work to participate in the rescue operations.
The tragedy had struck Shital Fibres around 11.30 pm on last Sunday when a number of employees were working in the factory.
As soon as the news reached the city, a number of people rushed to Jalandhar, not because they where apprehensive that the incident might involve some of their relatives but just to help.
Sikander Singh is one of them who left his work to join the rescue work in Jalandhar. He said, "I am a commission agent and associated with Shah Satnam Ji Green S Welfare Force. As soon as we got information about the tragedy, we rushed to Jalandhar and reached there in the wee hours of April 16. I was not the only one, our group had engineers, doctors and other professionals."
"On reaching the spot we saw that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and army had started the rescue operations. We then approached the deputy commissioner and offered help, who then allowed us to join the rescue operations. We worked under the directions of the army and NDRF," Singh added.
Singh said he and his friends assisted the army in searching people who were buried under the debris alive. "On the very first day we lifted debris and felt contended when we succeeded in taking out people who were alive, though later we found many bodies also. We had rescued one person alive after cutting his leg. We did everything as per the directions of the army and other agencies working there."
While describing the scene, he said as the area was congested heavy machinery reached late. Before cranes and other machinery reached, we did everything with our hands or some tools which were provided by the army.
Another city resident Jaspreet Mann also joined the rescue work after taking a leave from his job. He said, "I am a bank manager and as soon as I came to know about the tragedy I rushed to Jalandhar along with other people to join the rescue operations."
Harpreet, a youth from the city who was also in Jalandhar, was so enthusiastic to help during the rescue operations that NDRF Commandant SK Verma said he would recommend his name for national award for life saving.