IITB in Uttarakhand

Correspondent – Rahul Maganti, InsIghT Editorial Board

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Netra, Uttarakhand
Chief Editors: Anubhav Mangal, Suman Rao
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Link to donate through Rahat Floods on HA Council portal:
http://gymkhana.iitb.ac.in/~hostels/form.html

A couple of incidents in the near past evoke pride at the campus community’s efforts in lending a helping hand at the time of crisis. The havoc that struck Uttarakhand is best understood by the fact that it has been the only news common to all of mass media in the last fortnight. The casualties have been the highest in the recent past. The prices of essential commodities reached exorbitant prices and a single pack of biscuits cost ₹ 250.

It is a proud moment for IIT Bombay. The first incident was about Netra, from the stables of a company called ideaForge, founded as a start-up by 5 IIT Bombay alumni as a collaborative development between ideaForge and DRDO. Netra is a completely autonomous hovering Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) ideal for short range missions and requires very short training time. The UAV is currently being used in Uttarakhand to assist in rescue operations. Netra, which was popularized by the film ‘3 Idiots’, has been deployed to scan the air space in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand in hope of locating missing survivors. This is being used by the armed and paramilitary forces and also the ITBP to take forward their valiant rescue operations amidst daunting weather and high rains in the Himalayan region.

When we started off, we were very skeptical about the response. But, the fact that we are receiving wonderful responses from everyone in the institute and also outside, keeps our morale and dedication high. This is what takes us forward.

Another reason for pride has been the efforts of a few like minded individuals under the name of ‘Rahat Floods’, who got together and responded collectively to the crisis and started collecting money and materials. They planned to do this in a massive scale and approached the Student Representatives and the Dean SA. The GSHA responded positively and with persistence and help from the Dean’s office, things got rolling.
While the response left little lacking, the actual hurdle now faces them. Organizing to derive maximum output remains quite the challenge. In this time when the institute wears but a deserted look, what has been managed is a volunteer to oversee a room in each hostel to drop the materials. They wish to collect financial aid and materials like buckets, umbrellas, mosquito nets, banners and tarpaulin sheets, mats and like. Their plan is to donate all this to Goonj, an NGO based in New Delhi, which was one of the first organizations to start the relief work. The good track record of Goonj, its efficiency, transparency and experience in this domain of activities is cited as the reason for its preference.

Says Vishal Kumar, who is dedicatedly coordinating the efforts, ‘ Our target is to collect material as much as we can. We are getting good responses from both faculty and students. We even received responses from few societies nearby IIT. They will collect the material in their own place and we will take that collected material along with ones collected in our campus. When we started off, we were very skeptical about the response. But, the fact that we are receiving wonderful responses from everyone in the institute and also outside, keeps our morale and dedication high. This is what takes us forward.’

When asked whether they have any message to the students, Rajesh Nakka, who conceptualized the idea, says, ‘ The only field where competition is replaced with cooperation is social service sector. Lets all cooperate and contribute in whatever ways we can. We have got a chance to help the people who are in distress and it is not wise to lose this opportunity. Not everyone and not every time you get a chance as precious as this.’

InsIght wishes them the very best in this fantastic endeavour and implores its readers to join the cause. Details of how to donate can be found at http://rahatfloods.blogspot.in/