Jal Sewa’, being organised by the Janta Jal Sewa Samiti, Phagwara, today started with a havan yagya at the Phagwara railway station followed by an impressive function on the 27th year of the service. With the day temperature rising in North India, volunteers of the Janata Jal Sewa Samiti, Phagwara, performing this noble act at the Phagwara railway station since 1986, gathered here to quench the thirst of railway passengers.
As soon as a train comes to a halt at the station, volunteers with colourful plastic glasses of water run up and down the two platforms, offering cold water to passengers seated in the compartments. The empty glasses thrown by passengers are then collected by the volunteers, washed and then refilled with water. The service of offering water to train passengers continues from morning till late evening.
On festive occasions like, Ram Navmi, Baisakhi and Janamashtami, sweetened water is offered to passengers by the Janata Jal Sewa Samiti volunteers. Besides offering water in glasses, the volunteers also refillwater bottles and ”surais”(earthen pots) that passengers carry whiletravelling on trains.
Barring a few, virtually all mail and express trains make a brief halt at the station. It is because of the brief halt of trains that volunteers advise the passengers to throw the empty glasses on the platform as they cannot collect each and every glass from them in that short period.Though Manav Sewa Sangh activists, led by Ramesh Mata, worked hard to serve drinking water to train passengers in the past and several shopkeepers joined the sewa after closing their shops, but the Janta Jal Sewa Samiti, headed by local resident Vipin Khurana, was now being patronised by several philanthropists. of the area. ”Offering water to a thirsty person is the greatest service,” Khurana said. Khurana personally takes care to see that the water being offered is clean and he even checks the ice slabs before these are put into the large tubs of water that are placed at different places on the two platforms at the station.
A large number of glasses goes missing, but the next day local residents come to the station with more new glasses. Perhaps at no railway station in India is this form of service organized. The ‘jal sewa’ (offering water), this summer season, was inaugurated by Congress MP Santosh Chaudhary, while former minister Joginder Singh Maan and Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Ram Parshad were the guests of honour at the 27th annual function of the samiti held here today.
Santosh Chaudhary announced a donation of Rs 2 lakh from her discretionary funds to the samiti. Former Nagar Council president and philanthropist Malkiat Singh Ragbotra said while in summers ‘jal sewa’ is performed, in the winter the samiti activists serve medicines, fruits, bread and milk to poor patients at the local Civil Hospital.