The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rescue after 12 days under rubble
- Doctors see little hope for 60-year-old abandoned by family during Gobindapur eviction

Calcutta, Dec. 28: A 60-year-old man, buried for 12 days under the rubble after the eviction drive at Gobindapur railway colony, is fighting for life after his rescue.

Doctors attending on Sailen Haldar say chances of his survival are slim.

Police said Haldar was found buried under the rubble of his shanty at Gate No. 1 of the railway colony around 4 pm yesterday.

'The eviction of the settlers ' Haldar was one of them ' was conducted on December 15. We sent him to Nirmal Hriday ' the home for the destitute set up by Mother Teresa in Kalighat,' said Tanmoy Samui, a sub-inspector of Lake police station.

'After a lot of effort, he told us his name. He was in rags, lying in his own urine and excreta. It was a horrific scene,' he added.

'Since he was in no state to be carried in our vehicle, we contacted Hive India, a voluntary organisation that works for the destitute. He was taken to Nirmal Hriday by their ambulance,' said an investigating officer.

The police said Haldar's wife had left him long before the eviction.

'Going by the information we could gather from different sources, it appears Haldar had been living in Gobindapur for a long time and has a son. But it seems the son deserted him during the eviction. We are trying to find him,' said an investigating officer. 'It is difficult to get more details until we either find any of Haldar's neighbours or his son.'

Baburam Pramanik, the secretary of Ballygunge-Tollygunge Railway Colony Sangram Committee, said some members of the organisation heard a faint cry from under the rubble. 'They removed the rubble of broken darmar and bamboo and found Haldar.'

'He may not live. He was in bad shape when they brought him here. Our doctors are looking after him as an emergency case but they are not hopeful of his survival,' said Sister Glenda of Nirmal Hriday. Unable to open his eyes or speak, Haldar only keeps gasping. 'Doctors say his ailment is malnutrition. He has been given oxygen and saline.'

Nitai Mukherjee, the executive director of Hive India, said his organisation was trying to find Haldar's son.

However, an investigating officer said: 'It is very difficult as he purposely left his father. It will be amazing if he comes forward and identifies himself.'

The task to find out the son has become more difficult as Haldar's neighbours have shifted after the eviction. 'No one was able to tell us exactly where his neighbours are now. They moved to different places in the city and its suburbs. Some went to makeshift hutments at Nonadanga,' he said.

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