Relief work in Kerala during the floods was a collective effort undertaken by fishermen, good samaritans, the Indian armed forces, the NDRF as well as several IPS and IAS officers. Each one of them had a different role to play, but if a single cog were to dysfunction, the entire mechanism could have been in greater trouble.
And so we brought you the stories of every hero that we could find—from a young girl who donated her savings, to a soldier who was officially on leave but spent his ‘vacation’ rescuing hundreds in Chengannur.
Among the hundreds of heroes and thousands of equally important, but mostly unrecognised volunteers, was Kannan Gopinathan, the collector of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, who was facilitating work in relief camps—but without revealing his identity.
Gopinathan hails from Kottayam, and when he heard the news about Kerala floods, he knew exactly what to do.
The very first thing he did was to donate Rs 1 crore to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, on behalf of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Then, he took a leave from his office and rushed to Kerala to undertake some groundwork. The first area he reached was Pathanamthitta. He volunteered to work and the camp coordinator, very frankly just said, “Please keep your bag aside and start work at the earliest.”
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No pomp, no show and no glory. The IAS officer was merely a volunteer who wished to work for the people of Kerala. And so he did.
Like every other volunteer there, he worked tirelessly from dawn to dusk.
From Pathanamthitta, Gopinathan headed to Alappuzha, one of the worst-hit areas in Kerala. It was here that the district sub-collector and state Finance Minister had facilitated a historic rescue operation. You can read the fascinating story here. About 3 lakh people were in rescue shelters in Alappuzha and Gopinath was there, working with other volunteers.
From there, he went to Ernakulam and continued his efforts.
Throughout his time in Kerala, the IAS officer even shared updates on Twitter.
Used to the comforts of private travel, I asked,
Chetta.. Can I get an auto from here?
Why auto? Take the bus, it’s 10 rs & hardly a KM walk.
Couldn’t refuse that advice.
Public transport & walk!
— Kannan (@naukarshah) August 27, 2018
While some were about the amazing work that people were doing for the state, some were on the lighter side like having to stand in a local bus for a good hour and a half!
Kannan Gopinathan is an unsung hero, who certainly is an inspiration to all of us!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)