The Multi-District PETS and SETS for District 3261, 3030 and 3120 kicked off on a grand note in Raipur recently where RIPE John Germ, RI Director Manoj Desai and spouse Sharmishtha Desai, and PDG Kamal Sanghvi landed in the Chhattisgarh capital on a private jet, chartered for the occasion.
When asked if this was his special way of pampering the RI dignitaries for a gala event, 3261 DGE Major Deepak Mehta said, “Not really. On the day assigned to us for the MD-PETS, there were no convenient flights from Bhubaneshwar to Raipur, and RIPE Germ was on a tight schedule.”
It was a historical event as this is the first time a multi-district event was being hosted at District 3261.
DGE Deepak Mehta
But in Rotary, every challenge has a solution. DGE Mehta found his by requesting a Rotarian, D R Patnaik, who owns a nine-seater aircraft, to help out. “He willingly obliged, and we had to only pay for the fuel.” Thus the RI leaders landed in Raipur, where a colourful welcome awaited them.
Pomp, colour, prayer
What is a major Rotary event in India without the pomp and the colour? Raipur too pitched in its share, not the least in the form of the welcome given to Germ in traditional Indian style with kumkum, flowers and aarti by the members of the all-women RC Raipur Queens, all dressed in pink sarees! With 114 women members, this is perhaps the largest women’s Rotary club in India. The leaders reached the seminar centre in a horse-drawn carriage, which was preceded by a colourful army of tribal folk-artists and dancers, and accompanied by an Army Band requisitioned by Major Mehta. The elaborate welcome was complete with a group of priests chanting vedic mantras and blowing conch shells.
Titled Sangam, the event kicked off with motivational speeches by Germ and Desai, and under the able leadership of PDG Kamal Sanghvi, and the incoming DGs from the three districts — Major Deepak Mehta (D 3261), Mahesh Mokalkar (D 3030) and Dr Pramod Kumar (D 3120).
Around 300 clubs from the three RI districts were represented at the training event, and “for us it was a historical event as this is the first time a multi-district event was being hosted at District 3261,” said its DGE Mehta. He added, “Sangam had information and knowledge imparted by the luminaries from the Rotary world, and a session on Leadership and Teamwork was addressed by Jyotiraditya Scindia, a Member of Parliament from Madhya Pradesh, who has helped Rotary projects in the past.”
School for Special Children
A highlight of Sangam was the foundation stone laying ceremony of a school for special children, in which Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Scindia participated. Describing the project, Mehta said, “This is a very ambitious social service project of District 3261 where the Rotary Club of Raipur Royal and Rotary Club of Raipur Queens have come together to set up a school for special children.”
With 114 women members, RC Raipur Queens is perhaps the largest women’s Rotary club in India.
He said Rotary has already set up schools for special children in Jabalpur, Mandla, Bilaspur and Bhopal (not in D 3261). Lauding the work done by Rotary in serving the educational needs of special children, Chief Minister Singh announced that the Chhattisgarh Government would set up schools for special children in all the 27 districts of the State and sought Rotary’s help in this task.