Nineteen months ago
a savaging supercyclone emerged from the Bay of Bengal. With winds
of up to 300 km/h and 30 feet high tidal waves, it thrashed and
ripped the state of Orissa for more than 36 hours. Returning back
to the sea, it left behind a trail of untold devastation, the
worst in the history of India.
In the aftermath of the supercyclone, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha,
under the able inspiration of His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami,
distributed emergency relief and aid to over 61,000 victims in
84 villages in the worst affected areas, namely Jagatsinghpur
Moreover, BAPS adopted 2 villages, Chakulia and Banipat (Erasama
Block), for total rehabilitation. After over a year of hard endeavor
by BAPS volunteers, and assistance from the Orissa Government
and local people, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha completed the monumental
task of reconstructing the two villages.
Sunday 10th June 2001, more than 6,000 people had gathered to
witness the grand inauguration and rehabilitation ceremony of
the cyclone ravaged villages of Chakulia and Banipat. At 10.00
am, Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the king of Jagannathpuri - Gajapati
Shri Divyasinhdev Maharaj - began the Vedic pratishtha of the
newly built Shri Swaminarayan Mandir between Chakulia and Banipat.
The pratishtha ceremony of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj was performed
by Swamishri and Shri Jagannathji by the king.
inauguration of Banipat village was performed by the Chief Minister
of Orissa - Shri Naveen Patnaik, Shri Biswabhusan Harichandas
(Hon.Minister of Revenue), Shri Surendra Nath Naik (Hon. Minister
of Panchayati Raj), Shree Damodar Rout (MLA-Erasama) in the presence
of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Shri Gajapati Maharaj.
Similarly, the inauguration ceremony of the Primary and High School
and the village of Chakulia were also performed.
the assembly, attended by over 6,000 people, Shri Damodar Rout
praised the work of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha by commenting, "BAPS
was the first organization to bring relief in this area. Not only
this, but the sadhus stayed behind to gift us with pucca homes
and schools for which we are extremely grateful."
Shri Surendra Naik commented, "This Sanstha has worked without
any selfish interest in this area. I have personally come to see
the work done by the sadhus of BAPS on a number of occasions and
every time I have come, I have been inspired by their zeal to
serve and care."
Shri Harichandanji commented, "I have seen work done after
the cyclone in many areas by many different organizations, but
I have never seen such perfection anywhere which I see here today."
Chief Minister, Shri Naveen Patnaik, commented, "BAPS Swaminarayan
Sanstha is doing praiseworthy work in a variety of fields that
help our society morally, culturally, medically, educationally
and socially. Although the Sanstha is based in Gujarat, it has
come this far to help us rebuild our lives by rebuilding our homes
and livehoods. I take this moment to thank Pramukh Swami Maharaj
and his organization for all that they have done."
Shri Divyasinhdev Maharaj said, "Many have come here with
relief and some have also helped with rehabilitation. However,
BAPS has done something greater through its sadhus who have instilled
moral and character-building values in our lives. This is something
extraordinary that will build a better home and even better society."
Pramukh Swami Maharaj blessed the function, "The supercyclone
that struck two years ago devastated the lives of the people of
Orissa. It has been our duty from the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan
to serve the people in times of need ... It is important that
our lives should be addiction-free and wedded to moral values.
Only then will this village be ideal."
Altogether, BAPS has constructed
cyclone-proof homes, a Primary and High School, a beautiful mandir
and a road connecting the villages with the Erasama Road within
a short period of 16 months.
The ceremony which began at
10:00 a.m. ended with prasad at 1:00p.m.