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Drishti lifeguards, unpaid for 8 months but still saving lives

There’s no denying that this monsoon season has been the most extreme in recent history. A few days ago, ItsGoa collated pictures and videos that have been shared extensively through social media, documenting the severity of the flooding that has enveloped Goa from North to South. At a time when domestic tourism is high in the state, travellers are still pouring into Goa despite the rain and the taxi-strike. Some of these travellers insist that no matter how many warnings are issued, ‘it can’t be that bad’, and end up venturing into the sea even when stopped and told otherwise. This has already happened several times in the last two months, a prominent incident being where three people were carried away by the current at Candolim beach. Thanks to the heroic efforts of the Drishti lifeguards, they were managed to save two out of the three.

These same lifeguards have been putting their life on the line in the past few days, aiding the rescue efforts carried out by the local authorities. With Goa experiencing extremely heavy incessant rains and fierce winds, many parts of the state have experienced flooding and weather-related emergencies. It should go without saying, that keeping a cutting edge lifesaving mechanism functioning well requires finances. One never knows when a severe natural calamity can strike and it’s important to keep the team motivated and ready to face the challenges. The sad truth, however, is the Drishti lifeguards have not been paid for 8 months.

8 months without pay

Ravi Shankar, CEO, Drishti Marine said, “Our lifeguarding team has (also) been supporting local authorities in relief operations. However, delay in payments since the last eight months has put a severe financial strain on the operational processes on beach cleaning and lifeguarding as we have received no payments since Dec 2018. Despite the same, the agency has continued to stand by the people of the state due to the moral obligation we have towards the residents and stakeholders in Goa”.

Drishti lifeguards have been working along with local authorities in evacuation, rescue and relief operations. The fire department sought the assistance of lifeguards late into the night in Revora, Dhargal,  Bicholim and Dodamarg on the Goa-Maharashtra border as water levels in the river saw a steep rise leading to low-level areas being inundated with water. Affected villagers are being evacuated to safer areas. All of Drishti’s lifeguards are trained and certified by the Special Rescue Training Academy an internationally accredited training agency.

Uncompromised rescue service

Lifeguards equipped with kayaks, canoes, rescue tube, rescue boards, lifejacket and handheld radios are assisting in the operation. The sea has also thrown up a huge amount of garbage and debris on the shore. Drishti Marine has continued to offer its assistance and mobilized manpower and equipment for clearing garbage from the beaches. Since December 2016 till date, the agency has collected and transported 3858400 kgs of garbage from along the state’s coast and cleaned the beaches.

According to the IMD, heavy rainfall with high-speed winds is likely to continue over the next few days. Red flags have been posted across all beaches under Drishti’s surveillance indicating that these are strictly non-swim zones. You can visit the Drishti Marine website for more information.

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