They survived biggest disaster of their life

Chandigarh, Punjab: Families of soccer player Navjeet Singh Pallia (22) and local basketball coach Manjit Singh returned home after witnessing “the biggest disaster of their life”. Both the families, who left for Hemkund Sahib on June 13 and 14 respectively, returned with stories of their battle for survival.

Navjeet, who is known as Dutt among his teammates, said he had never experienced such tense moments in his life. He had gone to Hemkund Sahib with his parents, two aunts and a cousin.

After the disaster, the Air Force helicopters lifted his family members; however, due to the paucity of space, Navjeet and his cousin, the two “young legs”, were asked to trek to the base camp at Gobind Ghat.

“It was very risky, but holding a long stick we following the instructions given by the deployed personnel. There were no mobile network, and it was only when we reached high altitude, we managed to call our parents,” he said.

“The situation worsened when a bridge near Karan Paryas suddenly collapsed. It took hours to rebuild the bridge. I finally met my family after a day and a half, following which we returned to Chandigarh,” said Navjeet.

Navjeet’s grandfather, Gurcharan Singh Pallia, who was alone waiting for the family, said: “I was just praying for their homecoming. I have visited the Hemkund Sahib many a times, but never came across such a disaster.”

Manjit Singh, a basketball coach with the UT Sports Department, too, shared his ordeal on returning home. He was accompanied by his wife, children and other family members to Hemkund Sahib. The cab in which they were travelling is still parked in some remote area of Uttarakhand.

“All the three parking lots of the gurdwara were completely washed out. It was very difficult to survive there,” he said.

“The Army personnel, before crossing any hill, used explosives to make a path. A parantha that was priced at Rs 40 in the morning was available for Rs 80 during the night hours,” said Manjit Singh.

During his return, Manjit Singh came across a family that had lost all its children in the flash floods. He thanked the Almighty for bringing him and his family back home safely.

Source: The Tribune

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