DG Pankaj Shah – 3131
“Let’s turn the wheel together and reach out with our hands, heart and soul so that humanity thrives. We have the power and magic to serve to change lives,” said RI President Shekhar Mehta at the installation of DG Pankaj Shah of RID 3131.
He urged Shah and club presidents, to dream big, set ambitious goals and execute grand projects to make the current year an outstanding one in their life. “Both in membership and service projects, our zones are the Kohinoor of RI and if clubs adopt and work on ‘Each one bring one’, we will add at least 50,000 new members this Rotary year,” he added. The Rotary Foundation’s annual income is around $10 million, and it can be doubled only if each member gets another one.”
This was definitely not the best of times, but IPDG Rashmi Kulkarni “made the most of it by executing service projects worth ₹50 crore.” Mehta appreciated her for holding the largest number of virtual youth exchange programmes among the zones. In his address, RID Dr Mahesh Kotbagi said he was a Rotarian from RID 3131 for 26 years, and became club president when he was below 30 years. Embracing RI’s latest mantra of DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), he however said he was against reservation of any form.
Stating this was an emotional moment for him, Shah said he had done careful planning for two years to choose his team and set goals — over 1,000 members, of which 768 have already been inducted; six new clubs; six satellite clubs; and a Rotary Alumni directorate, from which 100 will be drawn into Rotary. On TRF giving, his goal is $2 million ($1.75 million last year). “We will surely get at least four AKS members and 30 Major Donors. More than half of our clubs will become 100 per cent Foundation donor clubs by the year-end,” Shah said.
Around 14 corporates would contribute over ₹5 crore as CSR funds for various projects this year. Some notable projects the district plans to implement include e-Vidya Project (Classes 6-10); translation of NCERT school books into Marathi under RILM; a Divyang Rotaract club; multidistrict RYLA; at least 80 virtual RYE programmes; distribution of reusable sanitary pads; making use of a carbon footprint app; and high-level digitisation of RI district offices and records.
The district will attempt Guinness Records in creating medical awareness, distribution of school kits, and an initiative on peace and conflict resolution. “Properties are being shortlisted to build a Rotary Community Centre in Pune. And with the help of Army, we are going to set up an oxygen generation plant in Siachen under a special initiative,’ said Shah.
IPDG Rashmi Kulkarni said due to strict restrictions during lockdown she never had a physical meeting at all during her tenure. Right from the PETS, district assembly to club visits, seminars and major events, “everything was done virtually.” But still 5,000 hectares of land are now brought under watershed management; and 10,000 cataract surgeries were done during her year.
Under literacy, teacher training programmes, digital guru mantra, Cyber Suraksha and e-RYLA had reached out to 30,000 beneficiaries. A 70-bed Covid centre was set up; the clubs had installed oxygen plants, distributed oxy cylinders, ventilators, PPE kits, masks and food grains across the district. “To tackle the third wave, a paediatric Covid centre was set up in Pune.” More than 50 GG projects worth $4 million were accomplished last year. The main highlight was the conduct of 350 e-RYLAs for 35,000 beneficiaries and the holding of e-NGSE by RID 3131 with 10 individuals and 15 groups. Following an audit on its administrative process, an ISO certification (ISO 9001:2015) was given to RID 3131 which was unwrapped by Mehta.
DRR Parth Jaokar, and the event host RC Pune Sarasbaug’s president Rajendra Satalkar received the installation collar from Mehta.
DG S Balaji – 2981
It was contributions galore at the hybrid installation of DG S Balaji, RID 2981. He contributed ₹1 crore to TRF as the first of his three instalments to become an AKS member. A 93-year-old non-Rotarian from Puducherry Dr N Seetharaman donated ₹50 lakh to the Foundation to install modern facilities in hospitals, while Rasu Thevar, another non-Rotarian, willed his house worth ₹1 crore after his demise to RC Kumbakonam to provide schools with educational aids. Ten out of 22 AGs have decided to become Major Donors.
RI President Shekhar Mehta, on a live telecast, urged the delegates to “make a balance sheet of your life with the left side listing all the love, care, education and nurturing you had received from your parents and society, and the right column listing the things you had given back in return. Both columns should tally, but as a chartered accountant, I find in my life it is not tallying.
I find more things added on the left which means I have to do more.” Rotary clubs must ‘grow more to do more’ and this can happen only if ‘each Rotarian brings one member. “Focus on attracting more women and youth in the membership drive.” He urged Balaji to diversify the nature of clubs by forming virtual, satellite and hybrid clubs with more flexibility and called upon the spouses to join hands with Rotarians to “empower girls who form 50 per cent of humanity by skilling them with better education and scholarships and ensure that they enjoy equal rights and privileges.”
In his address, Balaji said each club will adopt a village and improve the livelihood of rural families in at least 128 hamlets. He is aiming for a net membership growth of 1,234 and charter 20 new clubs. “I plan to open eight vision centres that will screen 500,000 people for avoidable blindness and a mammography van worth ₹1.5 crore will detect breast cancer in aged women,” he said.
The DG, along with spouse Jeyasree, daughter Rtr Deepika and son Interactor Rohith Krishna, were felicitated by district office-bearers.
Gaurish Dhond – 3170
A well-known social worker Gaurish Dhond was installed as RID 3170 governor by RID Dr Mahesh Kotbagi at a gala event in Panaji.
Kotbagi said he had witnessed from close quarters the service rendered by Dhond to society over the decades and also appreciated IPDG Sangram Patil for his “amazing work he did as governor last year.”
Dhond highlighted some of the key projects he would be carrying out under the seven focus areas. PDGs Gurudatta Bhakta, Jorson Fernandes, Vinaykumar Pai Raiker, Ravi Deshpande and Union minister for state for tourism Shripad Naik were present at the installation.
DG J Sridhar – 3232
Making Chennai a city of pride through various initiatives in partnership with city corporation, providing essentials to communities in the pandemic times through service avenues and taking up sustainable projects will be the priority areas for the clubs of RID 3232, said DG J Sridhar. He took charge in a colourful and solemn installation ceremony. RI Director A S Venkatesh, presiding over the event, addressed the gathering in his unique style laced with anecdotes reverberating with the current year’s theme. Earlier, IPDG S Muthupalaniappan in his opening remarks recalled some of the signature projects initiated during his tenure such as Project Orange and Covid relief activities undertaken across the district. District trainer PDG J B Kamdar and District counsellor PDG Sv Rm Ramanathan also spoke on the occasion.
DGE Dr Nanda Kumar and DGN Ravi Raman attended the event along with their spouses. District secretary R Ravi Shankar gave the vote of thanks.