Friday 25th August 2006
The dedication ceremony of 245 newly constructed houses built by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha with the support of BAPS Care International at Pattipulam Kuppam (145 houses) and Mahabalipuram Kuppam (100 houses) was held on Friday 25th August 2006. The total cost for this Tsunami rehabilitation project is estimated to be over 6 crore rupees.
In the holy presence of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and the esteemed presence of H.E. Shri Surjeet Singh Barnala, the Governor of Tamil Nadu, the dedication ceremony took place at Pattipulam Kuppam from 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Prior to the assembly HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the Governor inaugurated the houses to the accompaniment of Vedic verses sung by BAPS sadhus and South Indian Nadaswaram music.
Also present in the assembly were Thiru Pradeep Yadav (Collector, Kancheepuram district), Thiru D. Moorthy (MLA, Thiruporur), local dignitaries and over 2,000 residents of the newly constructed villages.
After the garlanding ceremony, Sadhu Brahmaviharidas, in his welcome address, summarized the BAPS tsunami relief work, “In the initial hours and days following the devastating tsunami in December 2004, BAPS with its force of 2,000 volunteers and active support of BAPS Care International, provided immediate emergency aid to the victims.
“BAPS reached 51 villages along coastline stretching from Chennai to Kanniyakumari covering over 800km in the states of Tamil Nadu (Kancheepuram, Viluppuram, Cuddalore, Nagappattinam, Thanjavur, Kanniyakumari Districts) and Pondicherry. The BAPS relief kitchens served over 5000 hot meals a day for 37 days, totaling 174,000 hot meals. As part of the Sustainable Livelihood Projects 250 milch cows were donated to families in Kanyakumari, and 100 coir rope making equipment and raw materials were provided. And now 245 houses, 145 in Pattipulam Kuppam and 100 in Mahabalipuram Kuppam, are being dedicated.”
Then the Governor addressed the gathering, “Whenever a calamity has struck our nation, our people have shown tremendous support to the affected. This is the greatness of our people. When the tsunami struck causing grievous loss to lives and property, help by way of food and materials poured in from all parts of the country, from NGOs, voluntary organizations and the public.
“Today, I am happy to hand over the houses reconstructed jointly by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, India, and BAPS Care International, USA – International Socio-Spiritual Charitable NGOs, to the Tsunami victims.
“I am happy to know that BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and its volunteers swung into rescue operations within 20 minutes of the natural calamity and were helping rescue workers on the Marina Beach in Chennai. It is heartening to note that they provided relief items, school bags, note books and gave psychological and emotional counseling to the traumatized victims.”
In his blessings to the audience, Pramukh Swami Maharaj said, “Our Bharatiya tradition teaches us to serve others. In fact, our human life should be spent in helping others and for attaining mokhsa.
“After the tsunami, many dharmic and social organizations rushed to help. By the grace of God good work has been done.
“The way to face natural disaster is through prayer and service.”
Voicing their appreciation village leaders said, “Two years ago we were hit by the wave of a tsunami. It was a wave of death and suffering. Today, we have been blessed by a wave of hope and life. From the beginning the BAPS has involved us in the rehabilitation process. So the houses have been built to our total satisfaction.”
Each house is of approx. 300 sq. ft. and furnished with lights, fans, bed, utensils and other household items. The new houses have been built upon the site of the old houses destroyed by the tsunami.
The work has been completed in 13 months using local labour and materials. This also helped the local work force and industry to recover from the disaster.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is grateful to the state, district, taluk, panchayat government administrative offices and the villagers for their co-operation and support throughout the rehabilitation period.