Veterans come together at AVI Club in Noida’s Sector 29noida Updated: Jan 22, 2018 14:00 IST
The Arun Vihar Club was opened in 1992 and facilities for members have been constantly upgraded.(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo)
When Aruna Kapoor, a senior citizen, along with her husband late Brig (retd) RN Kapoor bought a house in 1985 in Sector 29, Noida, all she missed was socialising with “other large families of defence personnel.”
The same is the case for Col (retd) VB Srivastava, 80, who settled down in Sector 28 in the late 1980s.
However, the wishes of Kapoor, Srivastava and hundreds of other defence veterans settled in sectors 28, 29 and 37 of Noida were fulfilled in 1992 with the opening of Arun Vihar Institute (Club) in Sector 29.
“Even decades after my retirement from the Army, I still enjoy bonding with other defence officers and their families. It’s the same environment,” Col (retd) Srivastava, one of the primary members of the AVI Club, said.
Kapoor also shares a similar view. “We meet here as one family. I have experienced so many good things over these years. The club is a boon for the defence veterans who stay alone, as their children live away. Senior citizens are given their due regard here,” she said.
Over the years, the club has grown in terms of the number of members as well as facilities. The club presently has about 4,500 members and is run by a managing committee comprising a president, vice-president and nine members, who are elected annually by club members.
The incumbent president, Col (retd) IP Singh, who took over the facility this week only for his second tenure, puts the idea behind setting up of the AVI Club succinctly. “I am from Aligarh. After passing out from the National Defence Academy, I joined the Madras Regiment. I served at NDA, Dehradun and was an instructor, Infantry School, Mhow. I bought a house in Sector 29 of Noida and have been living here since 1986. Similarly, there are thousands of other defence officers belonging to various other parts of India who chose to make Noida their home. The AVI Club provides them with the feeling of living in a family unit,” he said.
The club provides social and recreational facilities to its members. A well-stocked, well-used library with a large monthly purchase of new books/magazines is also set up.
The club has a tennis court, two badminton courts (one indoor and one outdoor), a billiards room with two tables, separate card rooms for playing bridge and rummy. The club also runs a well-equipped gymnasium with treadmills, weights, U-bike and stepper. The club has a bar, party rooms, guest rooms, an ice cream parlour as well as restaurants.
The club has also a provision for AVI Smart Card, which can be used as currency inside the club.
Singh said the club has added several facilities in the last 25 years and it is being further upgraded. “Besides expanding the existing facilities, we made the club paperless. All notices, circulars and newsletter are uploaded regularly on our website,” he said.
Singh said the AVI Club in association with Punjab National Bank set up a veteran facilitation centre for its members, which is a big hit.
“The centre started running in the last week of November 2017. Since then, I have been getting 10 to 15 visitors every day. Most of them either have queries about their pension fixation under the one rank one pay scheme since July 1, 2014, or merger of IDs of their various bank accounts opened during the course of their posting at various stations across the country. We also have to issue a life certificate every November for the continuation of the pension to the defence personnel or their spouse,” Somesh Singh, deputy manager, PNB, said.
He said the centre, which has an ATM dispenser as well, is soon going to be upgraded. “The area is to be extended to have a lounge with a coffee vending machine for the visitors, passbook updating and cash deposit facility,” he said.
The club president said running a facility is a process of continuous renewal. “With the support of our committee members and the veteran members, we plan to carry forward the legacy of the previous managing committees and further upgrade the facilities at the club in due course of time,” he said.