Press Release: Thursday 20th October, 2005 (6 Katak, Samvat 537 Nanakshahi)
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Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)—Two aftershocks dealt another blow to the earthquake survivors grappling to stand on their feet. These shocks disrupted relief effort in the earthquake-affected areas in Indian occupied Kashmir. This however, did not stop a team of three intrepid UNITED SIKHS volunteers from Delhi - Harbhajan Singh, Jaspreet Singh and Jorawar Singh from taking a truck load full of blankets (2000), and Woollen garments, from Amritsar to the earthquake victims in Uri, Baramulla, and Kupwara sector. Harbans Singh, who arranged the shipment on short notice, said the quality of Blankets was not compromised.
Dr. Gurbachan Singh, UNITED SIKHS director of community affairs, stated that excise and state entry toll charges have been waived for relief materials brought into Jammu and Kashmir. He said that UNITED SIKHS is working with all other Sikh organizations operating in the area to channel their relief effort into the far-flung areas of Kashmir (India). He said he has called upon state government departments to visit devastated areas and assess damage with an effort to pay compensation to the surviving families.
Karnail Singh of Sandhu Bros Farms, Tracy, California generously donated funds for the purchase of the blankets and other relief supplies. He assured UNITED SIKHS of his continued support to provide aid to affected families in Kashmir before the first snow. He categorically emphasised the need to rebuild all damaged gurudwaras.
A total of nine Gurudwaras were damaged in Kashmir, according to the latest report available from Kuldeep Singh Bali, President of the Srinagar Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee. The locations of these Gurudwaras are:
1 - Uri (Gurdwara Parampila)
1 - Slamabad, 2 kms from Uri
1 - Legaima
2 - Tribuni, Tangdhar
2 - Kupwara Sector
2 - South of Baramulla
Despite the availability of supplies, it's difficult to get it to villages close to the Pakistan border due to lack of good roads. Daleep Singh, 57, Sarpanch and President of Gurudwara Sahib Tribuni said, "We live next to the L.O.C, (Line of Control). There are no roads leading to our village to receive relief supplies. You have to walk single file on a narrow path alongside our fields. Despite many requests, no roads have been built since 1947."
"There is no high school to cater for the area. Tribuni is the first village that gets hit by shells during border skirmishes. With no proper irrigation support, our agriculture depends entirely on monsoon rain. We are delighted to see Sikhs from other parts of the country in our village," he added.
In a separate development, Bhai Esher Singh, UNITED SIKHS Team Leader, along with the Gurudwara Prabandhak committee of Srinagar, and Baramulla met SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur, and SGPC members Sucha Singh Langah and Harsurinder Singh Gill - in charge of J&K - to discuss the immediate needs for survivors in devastated areas in Kashmir.
UNITED SIKHS appeals to everyone to help build shelter home for 170 Sikh families before snow fall. See our earlier appeal at www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-15-10-2005-00.htm
To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.
UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.
UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.
Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.
We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.