Since the time of Lt Gen SK Sinha as Governor of Assam, Shri Pani Ram Das remains more attractive personality to the people of Assam. All because he helped Army authorities to make the great Patharughat Ronn (war) memorial live with public. Every 30th January morning he will be escorted to that holy place to pay homage to those farmers brutally killed by the British.
This time Paniram Das did something more unique. Instead of thinking for his 06 children and 10 grand child, he decided to donate 2 bigha (6 acres) of land worth Rs.10 lakh to Indian Army for setting up a VTC (Vocational Training Centre) at Kalaigaon of present Udalguri district of Assam in this 30th January 2009. This will have facility for local youths and women for skilled training of Candle making,DTP,Weilding,Capentry,Plumbing etc.
The Indian Army Red Horn division established under “Operation Sadvavna”, inaugurated this VTC at 1400 hrs. Maj Gen Chandra Prakash,VSM, GOC Red Horn Division Rangiya inaugurated the project and thanked Shri Pani Ram Das for his noble work by even donating land at free.This project will cost Army Rs.6 lakh. The ceremony was attended by the local Sub Deputy Collector (SDC) Shri DN Hazarika, Brig RK Rajput, Bigrade Commander, Artillery Brigade HQ Hattigarh, Colonel Ajit Kr Borah, Commanding Officer, 65 Field Regt, Dr Naba Kumar Das, Govt Vety Surgeon & Officer, Kalaigaon and lot many Govt and military officials in and around.
A large number amounting to thousands of local people attended the function. Since this is the first of kind after long Army operations in the region, people could see light of the day. Local school children presented a colourful cultural ceremony while the function concluded by the day end.
Indian Army authorities formed a local management committee under the SDC as Chairman to take care of the VTC.
However it is also interesting that same Army badly tortured shri Pani Ram and family on midnight during onset of Operation Bajrang in Assam quoting ULFA HQ on 08 Jan 1991.Army never seek apology for the biggest blunder, but it was then honourable Governor Gen SK Sinha to take promt action to seek official apology.
(This author is the 4th son of veteran freedom fighter Shri Pani Ram Das)
Dr.Bikash Kumar Das
Founder,Rhino Jungle Adventures