?The Rashtriya Swayam-sevak Sangh (RSS) has gained a foothold at the tsunami-hit villages in Kollam district of Kerala by outpacing the rest of the non-governmental agencies in relief and rehabilitation work. Arattupuzha and Alappad Panchayats, which bore the brunt of tsunami, though ruled by the Marxists and Congressmen respectively, are looking to the RSS for help. Sewa Bharati, an RSS social service arm, has opened two local offices each in Arattupuzha and Alappad,? reports The Peninsula, Qatar'sleading English daily.
According to the report the RSS has appointed four top leaders to coordinate Sewa Bharati units. It is planning mega schemes, including cultural and educational centres, to ?guide the students and youths on to the proper path.?
Sewa Bharati will train women in self-employment ventures besides building houses and distributing fishing boats and gear to the tsunami victims. Sources said that the 2,000-sq feet of a cultural centre at Arattupuzha would be constructed soon. VHP working president, Ashok Singhal unveiled the schemes recently. He distributed five fishing craft, nets and Yamaha engines at the function.
While the political parties, including the CPM and also the NGOs had flagged off after the first few weeks? services, the Sewa Bharati activists had maintained the tempo by distributing food and medicines and holding classes for students. They have also undertaken renovation of small family-owned temples damaged during the tsunami.
The RSS has deployed 100 volunteers each in the two Panchayats. A large number of people, especially youth, are actively associated with the Sewa Bharati activities. Some 27 Christian organisations have also been permitted to construct houses in the Arattupuzha Panchayat but the row over rehabilitation remains a festering sore.