“Project Orange will be a gamechanger in eyecare”
He is excited to share that by the end of this Rotary year, Tamil Nadu will have 200 vision centres at a cost of ₹30 crore. S Muthupalaniappan says that under the district project — Project Orange — the district team has come out with a hybrid model to plug the huge gap in the GoI’s target of setting up 20,000 vision centres across India by 2020 with support from WHO, International Association of Preventable Blindness and six major hospitals in India. “We have not even crossed 1,000 vision centres so far. Under the hybrid model, we will set up 200 eyecare facilities in RID 3232 and neighbouring districts. By Feb-end we will roll out the first batch of 104 vision centres for which seven GGs ($1.6 million) have been okayed with support from 32 clubs,” he adds.
For the second phase, 96 vision centres were “already mapped and we are in the process of applying for GG. This milestone will be a gamechanger for Rotary and the eyecare sector and will trigger the process to meet the GoI’s target.” The district has added four more dialysis centres to its existing 10 such facilities with the support of Tanker Foundation. A mobile cardiac screening unit will be donated to Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Hospital in April (GG: $180,000). So far, 13 GG applications worth $2.2 million have been filed, of which 10 grants valued at $1.9 million have been okayed and “are under different stages of implementation.” To help the differently-abled persons, “100 mobile vending carts are being given in a phased manner so that the vendors can overcome difficulties faced during the pandemic.”
Muthupalaniappan has set a target of training 100 women in beauty care under Project Sundari. With 129 clubs having a total of 5,400 Rotarians, he is aiming for a 10 per cent membership growth. Being the largest Rotaract district in the world (130 clubs, 25,000-plus Rotaractors), he is keen to retain members and engage the youth “so that they find value in Rotaract clubs.” His target for TRF giving is $1million.
Tree plantation, road safety projects his top focus
He will focus more on environment-related projects including mega tree plantation drives. K S Venkatesan has set a target of planting at least 50,000 saplings across the district. “All my 72 clubs were asked to take up plantation camps, and so far 20,000 trees have been planted,” he says. His second priority is road safety awareness for which the district will be holding a mega bike rally that will boost the public image of Rotary. “So far 12 road safety awareness camps were held, and we will easily cross the target of 30 such camps this year.” Pamphlets will be distributed at tollgates, bus terminuses and busy junctions urging motorists and heavy vehicle owners to drive safely with precautions. On the membership front, he is aiming for a 15 per cent growth. At present, there are 3,180 Rotarians, of which 120 were newly-inducted. There are 1,500-plus Rotaractors across 83 Rotaract clubs and he plans to add 200 new members.
He has plans to organise 30 blood donation camps across the district and till now, 20 have been conducted. All the clubs were given Smart TVs to be donated to government schools as part of the Happy Schools project. “We will be giving 200 cupboards to school libraries, and so far 113 units have been delivered at Hosur, Krishnagiri and Salem,” he explains. He aims to contribute $400,000 to TRF from his district. Venkatesan joined as a Rotaractor in 1989, having been inspired by PRID C Basker when he was the club president. “Later on, I became a charter secretary of RC Chinnasalem in 1997. Basker is my role model in Rotary,” he adds.
Membership growth a big challenge under new guidelines
Just when Rajan Gandotra was looking forward to give a push to community service projects and motivate Rotarians, “I was taken aback by the Feb 1 circular from the RI board that there will be no more funding for governor’s monthly visits to clubs and in-person meetings,” he says. He was in the middle of an official visit when he got the RI circular. While he has a target of adding 500 new members, “I am not sure, if this is possible after the new guideline on club meetings.” The clubs are not motivated through zoom meetings, and prefer a face-to-face meet with their governors, he says. There are 101 clubs in the district with 3,870-plus Rotarians. Project Vasundhra with a target of planting 1.2 million trees was virtually launched by RIPE Shekhar Mehta in the presence of 30 global leaders across time zones.
Under Happy Schools, Jeevan Jyoti School in Dhanbad will be provided with special equipment for teaching 110 differently-abled children through a GG project ($60,000) which is under process. “I have plans to do 50 Happy Schools during my tenure,” he says. Six dialysis centres with three machines each will come at one private and five charitable hospitals in Bihar and Jharkhand. “With an average GG of $50,000 for each centre, we have got approval for two facilities and are waiting for the rest.”
Two eye hospitals and two blood component separator units are in the pipeline. Gandotra was influenced by his school friend PDG Sandeep Narang to join RC Dhanbad in 1996. He is the fourth governor from his home club.