Sunday, July 13, 2014

Community reporter passes away after battle with cancer

Community reporter passes away after battle with cancer
P. C. Ummer, a regular contributor to the Community Report section, dies at 56.
By Ramesh Menon Gulf News Reader and Community Reporter
Published: 15:00 July 13, 2014

Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of Gulf News met with Gulf News reader P.C Ummer and his two sons Mohamed and Sameer Mohamed at the Gulf News today.

P.C. Ummer, an active participant of social and cultural activities, award-winning Gulf News community reporter and family man, died yesterday in Abu Dhabi on July 13, 2014, at the age of 56. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

He was an alumni of Christ College Irinjalakuda. During our college days we were involved in literary and cultural activities, as well as student welfare issues. After graduation, we didn’t know whether our paths would meet again.

Moving to Abu Dhabi in the late 1980s, I regularly contributed to community issues through letters and reports in Gulf New. As I followed the news with keen interest, I noticed a familiar name appearing in the same sections.

Recognising the person, I obtained his address from Gulf News and contacted him. Coincidentally, he, too, was residing in Abu Dhabi.

With great happiness I found that it was none other than my college mate, whom I thought I would never meet again.

He covered a lot of community issues in his work with Gulf News, just as I did. Many of his suggestions were eye openers to the authorities to rectify issues identified.

A while ago he confided in me about being diagnosed with cancer. A man of strong will and like any other cancer patient, he did not discuss much about it after that.

Ummer kept himself cheerful and was an active participant in activities of the India Social and Cultural Centre and other community associations in the Capital.

Last week, I got to know that he was in intensive care struggling for his life. He remained in a critical condition for almost a week. Being a person who doesn’t give up easily, his family and friends kept hope that he would recover. However, that was not to be.

One more victim of cancer, who had to suddenly put a full stop to his life and leave with unfinished words and deeds for the family and society they belong to.

It once again brings a pressing issue to the fore. Treatment for cancer is very expensive and it is high time authorities in all countries came out with more subsidised treatments for cancer patients. May his soul rest in peace.

Editor’s Note: Gulf News expresses its deepest condolences at the passing away of P.C.Ummer. An active community reporter and voice of the people, he helped raise many important issues to the fore. He won community report awards over the years for his work.

The most recent example was his report, ‘Abu Dhabi bus stops falling apart’, that was published on April 21, 2013. He raised the issue of ignored bus stops and lack of air-conditioned shelters for passengers in the Markaziya area in Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi. Four months later, new bus shelters had been constructed in the area.

Our prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need.

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