Tirupathi, the gateway to the famous Tirumala temple, was amid a real crisis due to the torrential rains (sometimes around 14 cm in a single day), monsoon season and cyclonic storms in the second and third weeks of November 2021. Tirupathi and Thirumala were fully affected besides many adjacent areas in Chittoor, Cuddapah and Anantapur districts.
To compound matters, a waterfall burst forth from the Thirumala hills onto Tirupati. Visuals and videos showed how entire areas like the Kapileshwaraswamy temple, Ghat road etc., came under a torrent of water in one go. The water pouring down from the hills gathered in the zoo park. The pressure caused the compound walls to break suddenly. As a result, water rushed into the homes of nearby areas like the Rickshaw colony, causing immense damage.
Overall, Tirupathi was badly affected due to continuous rains, with railway tracks and bridges being washed away, roads being submerged, people and cattle going missing or being washed away and electric power being lost. There was extensive loss of property and some loss of life. The immediate on-ground situation was one of dire hopelessness since Tirupati was almost cut-off from the rest of India, and no one in the local area had seen or experienced something like this before!
It called for immense character, spirit and selflessness to engage in immediate action and deliver a tangible response to this event of nature’s fury. Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla was heartbroken by the suffering and the cries from hunger and thirst of the people in low-lying areas. He valiantly rose to the occasion to turn the tide on events with concrete action.
Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla had served the nation and the local area in different projects and capacities previously, and this was one more chance to contribute courageously to the common welfare.
Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla thoughtfully assessed the situation and decided that immediate action was required on various fronts
1) All the flood-affected areas in Tirupati had to be identified and categorized for severity.
2) Number of people affected had to be enumerated to arrange for food and relief material. Special attention had to be paid to young children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the aged.
3) Medical help, clothing, shelter and means to protect against any rains had to be provided.
4) Liaison with NGOs had to be undertaken for relief work, tracking of missing persons, preventing the spread of epidemics like cholera etc. and ensuring that COVID was also not spread among the people either at home or in relief camps
5) Any individuals volunteering also had to be taken care of so that they did not fall sick or anything adverse did not happen to them.
In line with the above, he immediately connected with different NGOs and local government authorities and extended all help through his REACH global foundation. Under his able direction
1) A robust diesel auto was arranged with immediate essentials that were readily available like biscuits, bottled water and prepared food and swiftly dispatched to the affected areas. It was gradually converted to a mobile food bank to distribute food packets as the days went by.
2) All volunteers were provided with good quality water-resistant footwear, umbrellas, and other necessities.
3) Food preparation was undertaken on a mass scale. Many food packets were prepared and distributed over the course of the program to alleviate the people’s suffering to the extent possible.
4) Clothing and food were also distributed in severely affected areas like the Rickshaw colony on priority as they bore the brunt of the flood’s fury. When the compound wall of the Zoo Park broke and water entered their homes, Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla being in their immediate vicinity, rushed to the help of the Rickshaw colony residents with food, water bottles and clothing.
The distribution activities were clearly planned based on the severity of the areas affected. Effective coordination with the local Sarpanch and nodal government officers like VROs ensured proper prioritization, and that relief was able to reach the right hands.
Gradually the mobile food bank covered many areas of Tirupati on subsequent days, including Auto Nagar, Padmavathipuram, NTR Colony, Seethamma Nagar, Saraswati Nagar, Scavenger’s colony, Giripuram area, Chiguruwada etc.
In many cases, because of extended hunger, people grabbed the food packets, and this moved Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla to increase the scale of outreach even more. As an NRI doctor, he also spread the message of maintaining hygiene and cautioned against the spread of water-borne diseases and COVID.
In his personal capacity, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla contributed financially to various NGOs and the Rotary Club to enhance the scope and impact of the flood-relief activities. He individually spoke to many volunteers and flood-affected families and individuals and motivated them with kind words of hope. This helped them keep their focus on better things to come and removed any negative thoughts and feelings caused because of the destruction all around. He thus demonstrated professionalism, medical competence and touched people’s lives and hearts with his service-mindedness.
For the various activities of Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla, recognition and credit poured in from various quarters like the local governmental authorities, various NGOs whom he guided and supported and the Rotary club. The local newspapers extensively covered the activities of his REACH Global foundation and his personal contributions as well.
Many industry colleagues have acknowledged and applauded Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla that despite over 40 years of knowing him and his stellar achievements, he has remained the same – down-to-earth, simple in lifestyle, true to delivering compassionate care and above all, serving the nation and the place of birth in all possible ways as a son of the soil.
Even on many occasions when Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla was called up to distribute relief material or financial aid either in a personal capacity or on behalf of the REACH Global foundation, he has refused. To him, the country and the cause was more important than an individual, and he is always of the opinion that only goodness and helping tendency should be in the forefront, rather than an individual.
By setting an example in humility while silently championing the cause of the needy and serving the country in an all-around capacity, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla continues to inspire the youth, other NGOs engaged in service and the general public. With his positive activities and by leading life as an example, he continues to show everyone the right direction to tread, and thousands pray with gratitude that his glorious deeds continue.