Mysore/Mysuru: At the event where PPE kits worth over Rs. 1 crore was donated, President’s Civil Defence Gallantry (Shaurya) Medal Awardee and Officer Commanding of Quick Response Team of Karnataka Civil Defence Dr. P.R.S. Chetan, also a Past District Governor of Lions Clubs, was felicitated. Chetan is also the head of Karnataka Government’s COVID-19 Task Force.
Last year, Dr. Chetan was among the five rescue personnel who were washed away in the overflowing Tungabhadra while rescuing people affected by floods at Veerapura Gaddi near Hampi. He was close to death and fought till the last breath to survive.
Chetan was washed away for about three kilometres in the gushing water. He was exhausted and there was nothing except hillocks and water around him. Worse, there was no one in the vicinity. A plant that was stuck to his leg helped him move toward the river bank and from there, he moved to safety. He was caught in water currents for more than three hours.
Dr. Chetan and his team rescued thousands of people affected by the floods and landslips in Kodagu last year and this year in parts of North Karnataka and Shivamogga.
Dr. Chetan has been awarded with the President’s Civil Defence Gallantry Medal for saving several lives in the Tungabhadra river flood rescue operation. This is the first Gallantry Award to Civil Defence in the last 50 years.
The rescue operations were carried out in the crocodile-infested river. Over 200 people — mostly foreigners — were stranded at the Hippie Island in Veerapura Gaddi. The only option was to either airlift or ferry them across the river to safety. The team rescued all of them.