Tamaji Pote (66), who lost six relatives in the July 30 Malin tragedy, cannot hold back his tears as he looks at the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA) job card of his family. The discoloured booklet carries a family photograph, which is the sole physical memory he has now to preserve for lifetime as every other thing has been lost in the landslide.
“Our album of photographs taken during different family functions has been buried along with everything in the landslide. It was difficult to find bodies, let alone other articles. This photograph, which shows almost all of us together is the only memory I have now,” said Pote.
The gram panchayat office at Malin, which is a stone’s throw away from the site of the landslide, has a stack of MNREGA job cards that were being frantically searched by survivors a day after NDRF and other rescue workers called off search operation on Thursday.
Krushna Dhengale, a youngster, who lost six relatives, said he would enlarge the MNREGA job card photo before ‘dashkriya’ ritual, which is observed after the 10th day of the demise of an individual.
“The ritual is scheduled for Sunday, and I would have to get photographs enlarged before that. The landslide swept away our home completely. I feel a bit relieved to get at least a photograph of my family members,” he said as he held the job-card close to his chest.
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Around 22 cards were found at the Malin gram panchayat office, which were collected by volunteers for distribution among survivors. Manoj Zanjare, a volunteer, said he would visit rescue camps and other places to hand over job-cards since it carried photographs of victims.
“Villagers stayed at the rescue site for hours in the hope of seeing their relatives for one last time. Destiny was so cruel that it did not happen for many unfortunate ones. The MNREGA job cards carried photos of several victims. It would to some extent sooth the hearts of the survivors,” he said.
Ganesh Rajguru, gram-sevak with Malin village, said digging of wells was the primary work that was carried out through MNREGA for beneficiaries of Malin village.
“MNREGA job cards found at Gram Panchayat office were issued in December, 2008. Malin village had around 189 beneficiaries of MNREGA,” he said.
All affected families are expected to assemble in Malin during Sunday’s ‘dashkriya’ ritual.