Despite Covid, he wants to add 1,000 members
Over long years, Pandian has led many district projects that saw a participation of large number of Rotarians and their families, “thus creating strong bonds of friendship during special occasions such as Pongal vizha, Diwali and hosting polio marathons,” he says. The district has 97 clubs and 3,850 Rotarians, and he plans to induct 1,000 new members. He is sad that duing the corona pandemic, 300 members have quit Rotary in the district in the last few months. There are 75 Rotaract clubs with about 2,000 members in this district. But as colleges and schools were closed, it is difficult to add new Rotaract clubs now, says Pandian. Once normalcy returns, his district will take up disbursements of one lakh seed balls through choppers for which permission is in place. RC Gudiyatham will construct 65 new houses for needy families (GG: ₹1.5 crore), while RC Ranipet Sipcot will conduct a mega polio marathon in the last week of January. In healthcare, RC Tiruvallur Royal has inked a pact with the Government Hospital for maintaining its blood bank over a 10-year period at a cost of ₹85 lakh.
RC Tiruvannamalai Moon City has joined hands with the Tanker Foundation to open a dialysis centre with eight machines through a GG project ($85,000) being done with a few clubs from Nepal. A CT scan centre will be set up by RC Vellore Midtown (GG: $60,000) and an existing dialysis centre with 18 machines is being expanded with eight more units by RC Vellore Fort. Pandian’s target for TRF giving is $2 million. He aims to collect 5,000 units of blood through blood donation camps. “Through my auditor friend, I became a charter member of RC Vellore East in 1987 and then switched over to RC Vellore Midtown in 1990. I have conducted artificial limb fitment camps benefitting over 300 amputees,” he adds.
Happy schools, medical projects to be top district programmes
Keep Rotary simple and take it to the public is the district slogan he had coined as part of a public image building exercise. He wants to add 10 new clubs and 500 new Rotarians to the existing tally of 107 clubs and 3,800 Rotarians in the district. “There are 60 Rotaract clubs and 1,500-plus Rotaractors. Ten new clubs have been formed and 10 more will be added by end-June,” says Saumya Mishra. He plans to convert 50 Rotaractors into Rotarians during his tenure. In TRF giving, his target is $200,000.
Two dialysis centres will be set up at the JPM Rotary Eye Hospital, Cuttack, (DDF) and the government hospital, Berhampur, (GG: ₹40 lakh).
Fifty Happy Schools will be set up in Berhampur, Bhubaneswar and Balasore through a mix of DDF, private sponsorship and CSR funds. Digital classrooms will be installed at 40 government high schools. Two ventilators will be donated to the SCB Government Medical College Hospital, Cuttack, under the Covid disaster response grant. Over 200 freshly-cooked food packets are being distributed daily to needy families under the Hunger-free Odisha, a flagship district project, in and around Bhubaneswar.
During his training as a lawyer at the American Centre, Kolkata, “I was introduced to Rotary by Rtn Kailash Kanungo who invited me to join RC Bhubaneswar Cosmopolitan in 2000.” Later on, he became the charter secretary of RC Bhubaneswar Confluence in 2008. One of his memorable moments in Rotary was the adoption of two villages — Phirkinali and Pitagadia in Khordha district — when he was club president. “We had built a school, laid an approach road, provided water and electricity, and toilets in each house in these two villages,” he recalls.
A mega multispecialty hospital coming up in Tirupur
There are 142 clubs with around 6,000 Rotarians in this district spread across Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode, Kasaragod and Malappuram in Kerala and Tirupur, Erode and Ooty in Tamil Nadu.
Hari Krishnan Nambiar is confident of inducting at least 800 new members during his tenure.
“I have chartered six new clubs, including two e-clubs, out of 10 planned for this year.” RC Tirupur West is constructing a three-storeyed multispecialty hospital (GG: $100,000) with an investment of ₹5 crore in Mangalam village. Named Tirupur West Medical Trust Hospital, it will be inaugurated in two years. The same club is constructing a 6km-canal for providing irrigation at this village under a GG project.
Nambiar’s goal for TRF is $770,000. Three government schools in Tirupur will get toilet blocks (GG: $45,000) shortly and 10,000 schoolchildren have been given postal savings accounts with a balance of ₹250 in and around Tirupur. A mobile blood bank in Tirupur and mobile breast cancer detection unit in Mettupalayam were inaugurated recently. “We plan to launch paediatric heart surgeries and this is still on the drawing board,” he says. All the 28 clubs in Kannur will implement this medical project. He was influenced by the late PDG Suryaprakash Bhat to join RC Kasaragod in 1998.
Membership, TRF giving are his twin challenges
Retaining membership and motivating Rotarians to give to TRF are the two main challenges being faced by Rajarama Bhat during this pandemic. With 83 clubs and 3,130 Rotarians, “I have set a modest membership growth of 10 per cent, adding at least 300 new members.” By June-end, he is hopeful of starting 4–5 new clubs in the district.
There are 50 Rotaract and 103 Interact clubs with around 4,500 Rotaractors in the district. “I want to charter more community-based Rotaract clubs as members quit at regular intervals in institution-based clubs,” he says. Noting that only 25 per cent members are giving to TRF, he has urged each Rotarian to contribute at least ₹2,000 every year to the Foundation. “The slogan — Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) — is dear to me,” says Bhat, adding that he aims at a district contribution of $200,000 to TRF. A dialysis centre was set up at the Goretti Hospital, Kallianpur, under a GG of ₹30 lakh. “We are looking for a global partner to set up a dialysis unit at the GH, Balehonnur in Chikkamagaluru district. A mammography unit was installed at the Usha Nursing Home, Shimoga, with a GG worth ₹37 lakh,” he says.
The district has entered into a partnership with a private channel to distribute 2,500 computer tablets to Class 10 students under Project Gnanadeevige.
Bhat was influenced by his business friend Narayana Shetty to join RC Kallianpur as its charter member in 1985. “Though I have moved out of this place and expanded my business, I still continue to be an active member in my home club,” he adds.
Project Positive Health, his priority
With around 3,920 Rotarians across 159 clubs in the district, Sudip Mukherjee is hopeful of a 15 per cent net growth in membership this year. “Some members have left the clubs due to economic reasons and the pandemic lockdown,” he says.
However, he is keen that district-funded projects for small clubs as well as district grant projects for medium clubs should not be affected despite many hurdles. “We have taken up cervical cancer vaccination camps, set up a mobile eye screening van, done IoL surgeries for the underprivileged and set up a vocational centre for needy persons, all through global grants,” Mukherjee explains. For TRF giving, he has set a target of $400,000.
Project Positive Health-Know Your Numbers is being implemented in urban and rural Kolkata by the clubs and RCCs throughout the year. “While nine exclusive NCD camps were held so far, we have conducted tests for NCDs in participants in two other mega health camps,” he says.
His father S K Mukherjee who was president of RC Ballygunge, got him to join Rotaract in 1981 and later on, helped him to become a member of RC Calcutta Lansdowne in 2001. “My Rotary mentor is PDG Angsuman Bandyopadhyay,” he smiles.