This Rotary restaurant offers idli, tea, vada, bonda for ₹5 each and a plate of variety rice for lunch costs just ₹20. It is the Rotary Vallalar People’s Restaurant run by RC Tirupur West, RID 3203, inaugurated six months ago by RID A S Venkatesh. “It is a no profit, cost-to-cost eatery which is patronised by college students, workers and office-goers. We do not compromise on quality,” says V Ragupathy, who is leading the club for the second consecutive year.
He was the unanimous choice to continue as club president as he had lined up several transformational projects last year. The restaurant displays the club’s projects in all areas of focus since its charter in 2006. “During the Covid second wave we home-delivered food from our restaurant to quarantined patients, police personnel and frontline medical staff. Food packets were distributed in large numbers to sanitary workers and street dwellers,” he says.
A 15,000 sqft hospital estimated at ₹5 crore is being constructed by the club in Tirupur for which Ragupathy himself has donated 55 cents of land worth ₹2 crore. Four global grants support the construction of toilets in seven government schools, provide life-saving devices at an ICU in the government hospital in Palladam town and at the Rotary Tirupur West Medical Trust Hospital, and improve infrastructure in five PHCs.
The club is largely focusing on restoration of water bodies. Two ponds are being desilted and cleaned at a cost of
₹2 crore. “Once the work is completed, the entire area will become a haven for birds and meet the water needs of 20,000 acres of agricultural land across 20 villages.” The club has formed the Rotary Noyyal Water Resources Management Trust to implement these restoration activities. Ragupathy is its founder trustee and the club members have contributed generously for this initiative. “We have ₹75 lakh in the trust with two Rotarians contributing ₹25 lakh each. Funds keep flowing in and we plan to restore more water bodies. There are at least 100 ponds and lakes fed by the Noyyal River here in Tirupur,” he says.
This project, which has earned the appreciation of government officials and local people, has enhanced Rotary’s image and is attracting new members. Last year he had chartered two new Rotary clubs, inducted 156 new members and contributed $110,000 to TRF with significant support from six major donors and $32,000 as Directed Gift from club member Swamy Manojkumar. “This year I am confident of inducting at least 100 members and contribute $100,000 to TRF.” The present membership strength is 278 with 65 women Rotarians. Another project formulated by the club is directing rain-water into water bodies through huge pumps. “We have applied for a GG and are awaiting the collector’s nod to begin the project,” he says, adding that many corporates are interested to fund this initiative.
Since last year the club is putting ₹250 every month in the accounts of 2,500 girl children to help them pursue higher education.
No to a big fat wedding
Indian weddings are known for their extravaganza and pomp, but Rotarian Arul Pranesh and his bride Anu chose to celebrate a simple marriage and donated ₹38 lakh saved from the wedding towards Covid relief. “We had initially budgeted ₹50 lakh for our wedding. But due to the pandemic, both our families agreed to scale it down to ₹13 lakh. Our wedding was solemnised at a local temple,” says Pranesh, a member of RC Tirupur West, adding that his father, Arul Selvam, a member of RC Tirupur Smartcity, was his inspiration. “Selvam is known for his generosity,” says Ragupathy, president of RC Tirupur West.
The newly-weds directed ₹11 lakh to the new Rotary hospital being constructed at the Perundurai government hospital campus in Erode, ₹8 lakh towards the ICU facility being set up by RC Tirupur West at the Palladam Government Hospital, ₹5 lakh to the Rotary Corona Care Centre in Tirupur, ₹2 lakh to an old age home run by RC Punjai Puliyampati, and ₹7 lakh to eight families affected by the pandemic.
“We have the blessings of so many good souls. We couldn’t ask for a better start to our new life,” smiles Pranesh.