CHENNAI: The rat-hole miners, who saved the lives of 41 trapped workers in the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse in December, were among the many Good samaritans honoured by ALERT NGO on Friday. The rat hole miners were presented with the Icon Award. ALERT (Amenity Lifeline Emergency Response Team) trains people in administering first aid.
Speaking to reporters, Mohammed Ifshaad Ansari, one of the rat-hole miners, said his wife had asked him not to go there as it was risky. But, he thought God had given him the opportunity to serve the nation by saving the trapped workers. “After saving those lives, I felt like doing a good job,” he said.
Feroze Qureshi, another rat hole miner, said when they went into the tunnel there was nothing in his mind other than the faces of trapped 41 people and their families. “We had only one goal - to save the lives of 41 people. After seeing us, the trapped people told us we are god for them. While coming to participate in the rescue operation, we covered 250 km of tough terrain, so I was not feeling well, but my health had no impact on fulfilling my goal.”
“I had never carried out such a rescue operation, it was my first time. We just do pipe laying work. They called us and showed us the pipe and we were confident that we could rescue the 41 people,” said Qureshi.
Other recipients for their helping heart include Jayalakshmi, a nurse from Thoothukudi who conducted delivery of a pregnant woman with hearing and speech impaired when Thoothukudi was flooded; V Anburaj, who rescued many lives by risking his life in floods in Thoothukudi; and Pudukudi Melur villagers who provided accommodation and food to the stranded train passengers at Srivaikuntam railway station.
Industrialist Ratan Tata was conferred with Lifetime Achievement Award for making business excellence as a means to social upliftment, philanthropic endeavours and others. Sarabjeet Singh, senior vice-president, Indian Hotels Company Ltd, received the award on behalf of Tata.
Dr Mohan Kameswaran, MD, Madras ENT Research Foundation, R Seshasayee, chairman, Adyar Cancer Institute, and others participated in the event.