Kerala owes Gen Bipin Rawat for prompt despatch of Army personnel for rescue ops during 2018 floods

Kerala owes Gen Bipin Rawat for prompt despatch of Army personnel for rescue ops during 2018 floods
People pay homage to those killed in an IAF chopper crash in Varanasi on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: Prompt rescue operations proved critical in saving many lives as most parts of Kerala were marooned in the catastrophic floods of mid-2018. The people of Kerala owe a lot to General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff who was killed in the Coonoor chopper crash on Wednesday, for deploying promptly hundreds of army personnel for the rescue mission.

General Bipin Rawat, then then Chief of the Indian Army, was quick in responding to the assistance sought for rescue operations by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan when the situation went out of control by mid-August that year.

Minutes after the meeting of the Chief Minister with the top Defence officials from the State ended, a call from an unknown number came to the mobile phone of Disaster Management Authority Member Sekhar L Kuriakose. It was Bipin Rawat. After self-introduction, he enquired with him about the entire flood situation prevailing in Kerala.

Sekhar recollected that Rawat was unassuming and informal. The talk lasted for almost 10 minutes. By this time, Rawat asked him in detail about the worst-hit areas in the floods, defence units employed in various places and the information regarding those who were dead and injured in the calamity.

He asked Shekhar not to hesitate to ask for more help from the Army after holding discussions with the Chief Minister. Rawat was so sincere and he didn't show any kind of officiality. Though the content of his conversation was very serious, his interaction was casual. His voice was so soothing that it gave the officials the much-needed self-confidence and courage during the crisis-ridden period.

The international cyber police meet organized by the Kerala Police "Cocoon" was the last official function in which Bipin Rawat attended. He inaugurated the programme on November 12 through video conference.

CDS Rawat, his wife and 12 other defence personnel died as a twin-engine military chopper crashed in Coonoor on Wednesday.

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