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99 Yatra
Why Sahibs death breaks the heart of a Kutch village
02 July 2007

Bhuj : When the news of Sahib Singh Verma’s death in an accident on Saturday reached Dudhai, an obscure village in eastern Kutch, a busload of local leaders wasted no time in leaving for Delhi to participate in his last rites. The village, some 40 kilometres from Bhuj, also observed a total bandh; it will mourn Verma’s death for 12 days.

The reason: the former Delhi chief minister had visited the border district soon after the 2001 earthquake and adopted it for reconstruction. Eventually a trust headed by him, called Swabhiman Trust, successfully built 648 houses after shelling out Rs 17 crore. Verma not only helped redevelop the village, christened Indraprastha after reconstruction, but also struck a chord with the locals. He attended the January 26 programme religiously to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in the January 26, 2001 quake.

“He has become a household name in eastern Kutch,” schoolteacher Kamlesh Thacker said. “He used to tell us that till the day he was alive he would never miss the quake programme…. Most of the village elders have gone to Delhi to mourn his death.” Shaken by Verma’s death, the village also postponed the inauguration of an educational institute on Sunday. Verma, Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal, MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and Baba Naharsinh (Sunahariwala) was scheduled to attend the inauguration.

“He (Verma) was a godsent for us... Had it not been for him, we would never have lived in such beautiful houses after the quake,” said Kankuben Ravaji Virda, Ahir sarpanch of the village.

Courtesy: Delhi Newsline - Delhi,India kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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