SAGA OF AN UNSUNG HERO
An IAS officer leads rescue team to TN hamlets left inaccessible by cyclone GAJA. Johny Tom Varghese is the Additional Director of the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department and has been appointed as the Nodal Officer of Nagapattinam. The tremendous impact of Cyclone GAJA across coastal, delta regions of TN are there for everyone to see. Trees were uprooted, houses have flown away and there is a sense of despair among the residents of the State. With causalities rising with each passing minute, rescue personnel have no time to lose and are relentlessly working towards evacuating people to safety. It is in such precarious conditions that the involvement of bureaucrats plays a critical role and their expertise in making quick decisions, ensuring timely actions comes into the fore. As always, direct ground level involvement that provides last mile connectivity is the need of the hour as compared to deploying a rescue team while overseeing arrangements from the comfort of one’s armchair. He is one such person who truly pulled all the stops in this regard and unquestionably belongs to the farmer category. In the last one week he has made several visits to the affected villages. Only a few months ago, Kerala was devastated by the worst floods in nearly 100 years, its after-effects are still plaguing the state. The manner in which the armed forces, fisher folk, the common people joined hands at Kerala’s darkest moments is an example that will undoubtedly go down in history. The services of IAS officers at the time of need, who went beyond the call of duty and truly exemplified what it means to serve the citizens in time of need is commendable.
The writer is an advocate based at Chennai.