I never lost hope of retrieving Royal Vasishta: Dharmadi Satyam

By Express News Service

RAJAMAHENDRAVARAM: Dharmadi Satyam, who has earned accolades for retrieving capsized Royal Vasishta from the Godavari without depending much on technology, was felicitated at CP Brown Mandiram here on Thursday.  On the occasion, Satyam, the owner of Balaji Marines, and his team were praised for their efforts in accomplishing a task which was found to be impossible by agencies with superior technology and experience.

Pantam Kondal Rao, Managing Director of CCTV channel, Anup Jain, philanthropist, Dr A Padmalatha, Bhavani and others participated in the programme. Sannidhanam Sastry, founder and caretaker of CP Brown Mandiram, presided over the meeting.

Dharmadi Satyam recalled his experience in handling such difficult assignments. He did many odd jobs to support his family after his alcoholic father abandoned his filial responsibilities. Eldest of seven siblings, he worked as a daily-wager and cleaned glasses in a liquor shop. He became the sole breadwinner of the family, Satyam said recalling his younger days. He accepted any job that came his way with humility.
Later, Satyam worked on building boats and, during this time, gained experience in pulling out sunken boats from the sea and rivers.

He bagged his first big assignment when he was called to retrieve a conveyor belt, weighing 22 tonnes, from a coal mine in Maharashtra. Satyam said before he stepped in, a three-member team made a vain bid to pull out the conveyor belt but perished during the operation. Appreciating his success, coalfield authorities paid him Rs 12 lakh instead of Rs 7.5 lakh as per original contract. His next mission was bringing ashore a vessel caught in cyclone near Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. Again, he received huge bonus — Rs 22.50 lakh and material worth Rs 5 lakh from the government though he was to receive Rs 13 lakh as per the contract.  

On mission Vasishta, Satyam said though there were many sceptics about the success of the efforts, he never lost hope and recalled the willing cooperation from district collector D Muralidhar Reddy, superintendent of police Adnan Nayeem Asmi and Kakinada port officer Dharmashastra. His eight-day effort was crowned with success when the boat was pulled out with ropes. Seven decomposed bodies of the tourists were found stuck in the wreckage of the boat. This brought to an end the endless agony of the relatives who spent sleepless nights not knowing the fate of their loved ones.

Satyam blamed the tragic accident on the passengers’ failure to balance the boat during its journey on the rough river. He said passengers have a tendency to shift from one side to another in unequal numbers during such joyrides. Passengers should distribute evenly on the deck to keep the boat from tilting to a side, he advised. He ruled out survival chances of people trapped in AC and luxury rooms even if they wear life jackets in accidents like the one involving Royal Vasishta.

“My confidence and hard work have helped me reach this position. I never wish harm to others.  I have the habit of helping others since my childhood,” Satyam said. He was presented with a shawl and a memento by Sannidhanam Sastry and others.

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