Kollam: A trip from Kerala to Kashmir and back in a 1989 model Ambassador car. Three youths from Kerala who completed the trip were not only engaged in a cross-country ride but also acted as ambassadors of the state campaigning for aid to overcome the flood havoc here. The trip proved a success as an amount of around Rs 8 lakh was digitally transferred to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) as a result of the their efforts.
Close pals Muhammed Shafi and Ijaz Abdul Nissar, who completed their MBBS course from Azeezia Medical College, Kollam, and Niyas Khan, a civil engineer, took the Mangaluru, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab route to Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir in the Ambassador car.
They started from the Martyr’s Column in Thiruvananthapuram on the evening of September 6 and reached Ladakh on September 17. All along the way, the youths distributed notices on the flood tragedy witnessed by Kerala in August.
They interacted with the students of various medical colleges across the country and foreign as well as domestic travellers at tourist spots. All the people the youths met expressed support to the flood relief measures and many contributed to the CMDRF.
Before the trip, the youths had decided that they would not accept cash contributions for disaster relief. Instead, donors were asked to transfer money digitally to CMDRF through channels like Paytm and other payment apps.
The youths finally arrived back in Kerala on October 2. They also received appreciation from the state’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac for their efforts.
The Ambassador car belonged to Muhammed Shafi’s grandfather. Shafi resides at Kunnuvila House, Pappala, Kilimanoor in Thriruvananthapuram district. Suitable modifications were made to the car for the long trip. Some accessories and parts were removed to reduce the vehicle’s weight. Speed was reduced while negotiating the steep inclines to avoid heating of the engine. Though a long distance was covered by the old car during the entire trip, it never gave any trouble to the travellers.