Blood and concern, Gujaratis have both for blast victims

July 29th, 2008 - 5:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, July 29 (IANS) Much blood was spilled on the streets of Ahmedabad in the serial blasts that claimed at least 50 lives, but this city’s blood banks have plenty to offer to victims, with college students, NCC cadets and others queuing up as donors everyday. “I feel as if I am donating blood to a family member,” said NCC candidate Parmar Alpesh; 150 National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets in their teens have proudly donated blood.

Similar was the feeling among hundreds of men and women from across Gujarat who came forward after news of the tragedy spread. The 21 blasts across Ahmedabad last Saturday injured around 200 people.

“We have so much stock of blood yet no one has asked us,” said Jigar Suthar of the private Mahagujarat Blood Bank referring to news reports that LG Hospital in Maninagar was in need of A & O positive blood groups.

There is enough blood for victims in need of it at government hospitals.

As far as blood supply is concerned, doctors are being cautious but not worried. “Though we have sufficient blood, we may need more if the situation demands,” said a doctor at VS Hospital.

Volunteers have come from many districts in the hope of giving blood. On Sunday, it was an opportunity for the first-time students of Patan who came in droves to donate blood.

“I feel happy that my blood is being used for needy victims of the serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad,” said Jignna Desai, 19, narrating her first time experience.

There were several youngsters like Desai who gladly queued up at a camp in the Mehsana Sarvjanilk Vidyalaya.

Tejendra Prasadji, the former head of Kalupur Swaminarayan temple in Ahmedabad, popularly known as Mota Maharaj, was present on the occasion.

“It is rare to see entire people of the state showing such intense solidarity with the wounded. And what can be better than donating blood for the needy,” the Maharaj said.

Ashish Rathod, 18, was thrilled to give his blood. “There can be no better way to share your sympathy with the affected people of Ahmedabad,” he said.

G.K. Patel, 60, an orthopaedic surgeon who had arranged the camp in Mehsana to commemorate his 150th blood donation camp was the cynosure of all eyes.

“We will provide as much blood as needed for the victims,” Patel said adding that collection teams from VS Hospital, Red Cross Society and Cancer Hospital were present there.

“In the days to come we could go up by 3,000 bottles if the need arises,” he said.

The aftermath of the tragedy is writ large over the hospitals.

Hashmukhbhai Chaloda, 52, is ruing the day he took bus No.150 from Guptanagar to Sarkhej. There was an explosion in the bus that left him blind in one eye and partially damaged the other. His hearing has also been affected.

Under treatment at VS Hospital here, a crestfallen Hashmukhbhai said: “I don’t know what will happen now.”

Saturday’s events are ticking away in his mind.

“I noticed two youths sitting in front of me in the bus and they had a black bag between them. The bus had crossed Juhapura and the youths got down at the next Hajibaugh stop.

“Before anyone could realise anything, they vanished quietly, leaving the bag behind. As the bus began to move someone called the conductor who was issuing tickets in the rear saying the two men had forgotten their bag,” said Hashmukhbhai.

The conductor said the bag would be handed over to Sarkhej police at the next stop. It was 7 p.m. at that time and as Hashmukhbhai sat wondering about the bag, it suddenly started bouncing and exploded, spewing dense black smoke.

“I think I was thrown out of the front door.” With his face bleeding profusely, Hashmukhbhai was rushed to VS Hospital where he lies in a specially created general ward for blast victims.

Ambaben, 51, and her daughter Bhavna, 20, from the Govindvadi area of Isanpur in Maninagar had just bought vegetables from a vendor close to a tea kiosk when they heard a booming sound.

“We had just paid the vendor and Bhavna was taking the change when the massive blast occurred,” Ambaben told IANS from the general ward.

The panic stricken mother and daughter instinctively ran away from the scene and in the mad rush, Bhavna fell and fractured her right leg while Ambaben sustained leg injuries caused by bomb splinters.

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