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Pune making a difference: Love your life, love your cit y

Driven by the passion to make a difference, a number of motivated Punekars are making the effort ­ individually and collectively ­ to bring about change. Hindustan Times was on hand to capture inspiration in our midst.

pune Updated: Jun 28, 2018 17:01 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Pune
Roseland Residency Co-op Housing Society is a shining example of how housing societies can embrace eco-friendly initiatives.(HT PHOTO)

Roseland Residency: Housing Society with a difference

Roseland Residency Co-op Housing Society is a shining example, of how housing societies across the country- not just Pune- could embrace eco-friendly initiatives and make a huge difference to society. Located at Pimple Saudagar under the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, this residential colony with 30 buildings and approximately 3,500 residents has many achievements to its credit.

Dry, wet and sanitary waste is segregated by every household here. The society has a good e-waste collection system, wet waste and garden waste composting facilities, a sewage treatment plant (STP) for recycling drainage water and a sparrow conservation.

All the 30 buildings will now have rainwater harvesting system, with the system installation in the last of the five buildings underway.

(Left to right) Reva Nagar, Rutuja Ubale, Shubankar Thenge and Vikrant Patil, actively promote garbage segregation. ( HT PHOTO )

“The idea of social responsibility must persist with each and every citizen. Citizens should not completely rely on the civic authorities for everything. Instead, we should come up with our own innovations and become self-efficient,” says Siddharth Naik, treasurer of the society while explaining the philosophy of the residents.

Every building has a few volunteers to ensure compliance from the residents who are mainly employed in the IT and auto industries located in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

The electricity conservation efforts of the society was rewarded by the Maharashtra Government with the

‘10th State Level Award for Excellence in Energy Conservation and Management’ in 2014-15.

All of these initiatives were brought in step by step and the management committee of the society now wants to ensure sustainability of these initiatives year after year.

This society has made our city proud by winning the National Swachh Bharat Award 2017 under the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) category.

- Parth Welankar

Take ownership of your locality, the Kalyani Nagar Residents Association shows the way

Members of Kalyani Nagar Residents Association tend to plants planted by them. ( SHANKAR NARAYAN/HT PHOTO )

The Kalyani Nagar Residents Association (KNRA), born out of the local mohalla committee establishedin 1982 has achieved what other RWAs (residents welfare associations) would want to achieve earnestly. There’s strong bonding among the residents of the locality and there’s equally strong interaction with the civic authorities and corporators.

“During the last decade, we have tried to improve the quality of life inKalyani Nagar and want to bring about greater transformation in the days to come. We have our own urban challenges and issues but we will ensure that they are sorted out with the help of the PMC administration ,” said Naushad Furniturewala, chairman, KNRA.

One of their most successful acts was to get the civic body to convert an open space into a public garden.

The residents of the area have supervised the storm water drain maintenance to prevent inundation of the arterial roads in the area. Besides Furniturewala, the core committee includes vice-chairman Satish Kothari,treasurer Dr Shailesh Swami and secretary Urvashi Srivastav.

- Nadeem Inamdar

Lakshya: An agenda to support athletes in their prime and help them hit gold

Prutha Vartikar, a table tennis champion is one of the many success stories of Lakshya, a voluntary group established with the single-point agenda of supporting athletes in their prime and helping them achieve their dreams. ( SANKET WANKHADE/HT PHOTO )

It all began in 2009 as a chat over dinner. Some sports enthusiasts had gathered and were bitching about the sports environment in the country. “That’s when we thought instead of just criticising why don’t we contribute something to sports,” recalled city businessman Vishal Chordia.

The idea was picked up by his friends and this gave birth to Lakshya. This voluntary group was established with the single-point agenda of supporting athletes in their prime and helping them achieve their dreams.

Besides Chordia, Lakshya’s founding members include businessmen Manish Jain, Ashish Desai, Chess Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte and Sunder Iyer, secretary, Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association.The first six city athletes they selected for support were Rahi Sarnobot (shooter), shuttlers Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and V Diju, boxer Pooja Rani, Ankita Raina (tennis) and Vidit Gujrathi (chess).

When Ankita shifted base to Pune in 2007 for sports training, she was just 14. She finished runner-up in the Australian Masters and soon Lakshya took her under their wings. Her tournament fees and travel expenses were taken care of and she could now concentrate fully her game. She is currently India No 1 and the first women from Pune to make it to the French Open qualifiers.

(From left) Amey Yeravdekar, Swastik Sirsikar, Ashish Desai, Vishal Chordia, Abhijit Kunte and Sunder Iyer, of Lakshya ( HT PHOTO )

Kolhapur-born shooter Rahi won a gold in the 25m pistol event in 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune and then shifted to Pune for training. Identified by Lakshya for support, in 2013, she become the first Indian pistol shooter to clinch a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, Korea, and after other victories, was nominated for Arjuna award in 2015.

Other success stories from the Lakshya family include table tennis champions Pritha Vartikar and Pooja Sahastrabuddhe and wrestler Rahul Aware who won a gold medal in Commonwealth Games (2018).

With wholehearted support from Pravin Masalewale, Bharat Forge and other Pune-based corporates, the Lakshya family is growing and has set its sights on the 2020 Olympics. “That means we want 20 of our players at the Olympics,” said Chordia.

- Ashish Phadnis

Healing the homeless: Dr Abhijeet and Dr Manisha Sonawane lives ‘hippocratic oath’ on streets of Pune

Dr Abhijeet Sonawane and Manisha Sonawane treat beggars in Pune. They have been counselling them to stop begging and live a life of dignity. ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

Forty-three year old ayurvedic doctor Abhijeet Sonawane does not shun beggars but sees them as family. His day begins with a visit to the city temples, in search of ailing, elderly beggars. He knows that many of them are not into professional begging but are poor destitutes abandoned by their children. His faith rests in his “religion of healing,” and as a part of his work, he treats destitutes of all ages, with special affection for the elderly.

“Every time I see an elderly beggar struggling with life, it reminds me of my Baba, a guide who changed my life,” he says. It was a beggar who had showed Sonawane the real purpose of life, 18 years ago.

In 2000, after completing his medical education from Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Sonawane left home with a bag full of medicines to treat patients in the rural areas. The plan was to go door-to-door and treat patients for a small fee. However, his approach backfired in a village near Khadakwasla, as people thought he was a quack.

That was when he met Baba and Amma, a beggar couple, who showed him the right path and gave him hope and inspiration. “They were not beggars by birth but an educated couple who had been ousted from their house by their children. But, despite their situation, their optimism baffled me,” he said. Since then, his life’s purpose was set to change lives of the beggars, as he had embraced them as family.

Sonawane, has not only treated almost a hundred such patients for free; he and his wife, Dr Manisha Sonawane have been counseling them to stop begging and live a life of dignity. “They are all my family and we help them with small jobs, or arrange for small vending kiosks so that they can earn a living and be dignified,” he said.

- Ananya Barua

Mukul Madhav Foundation: Neonatal ICUs lift civic health facilities

A new born in neonatal intensive care (NICU) at the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital, Yerwada. ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

Intensive care for preterm babies has been a crying need at government and municipal hospitals in the state. This is where Mukul Madhav Foundation, a CSR partner of Pune-based Finolex Industries stepped in to make a difference.

The foundation has provided neonatal care facilities at three hospitals in the city- Sassoon General Hospital and Pune Municipal Corporation’s Late Rajiv Gandhi Hospital, Yerawada, and Sonawane Hospital at Bhawani Peth.

The 12-bedded Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) at the two civic hospitals opened on May 5, after the success of the 59-bedded NICU at Sassoon General Hospital, which completed one year on April 16.

A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sonawane Hospital, Bhawani Peth. ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

The Sassoon Hospital’s NICU extends critical neonatal care to around 5,000 critically sick infants, free of cost, annually. These NICUs adhere to world class standards and have helped reduce infant mortality by almost 50%.

The well-equipped NICU at Sassoon has 12 doctors and 72 specially trained nurses, said Dr. Rajesh Kulkarni. “With this NICU the survival rate of babies has increased to 95 percent which is huge,” he noted.

Mukul Madhav Foundation’s managing trustee, Ritu Chhabria said, “The NICU at Sassoon General hospital completed one year on April 16. The Neonatal ICU at Sassoon hospital is a level-III unit with full-fledged facilities. Resting and shower rooms for mothers are also being provided. Understanding the growing need for NICUs, the foundation decided to set up NICUs at Rajiv Gandhi Hospital and Sonawane Hospital as well.”

- Jui Dharwadkar

Rotary Club, NIBM: Policewomen get access to hygiene and cleanliness they rightfully need

Pune police’s female personnel now have a fully equipped retiring room, furnished with bunk beds, study tables, wardrobes with a locker facility and a full-length mirror; not to mention clean, private restrooms. ( RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT PHOTO )

Police Inspector Anuja Deshmane is all praise for the Rotary Club of Pune NIBM. What has delighted her and many other women from the Pune Police force is the sensitivity with which Rotary has provided decent washrooms for them.

“Before this there was no place for us to change and our toilets were very dirty. Cleanliness has been an issue here with many women using just a few toilets. The best part is having a retiring room where pregnant policewomen and those on bandobast duty can rest for a while,” she said.

It all began when a Rotary survey in 2012 revealed that women in the police force did not even have a proper toilet or a place to change clothes. “Each Police Station has 7 to 17 policewomen and no privacy,” said Swapnila Malwade, president-elect of Rotary, NIBM. Pregnant policewomen were found using public toilets which having poor hygiene. Young women in the force had no lockers to keep their purses and belongings.

Rotary Club, NIBM then decided to step in and make a difference. Past president Vivek Dixit said Rotary decided to provide Women Police with a fully equipped Retiring Room of 200 sq.ft. furnished with bunk bed, curtains, study table with chair, wardrobe with locker facility and a full height mirror. The room has an attached bathroom with pressurized shower facility and a dedicated 500 litres water tank.

So far eight police stations in the city have such rooms and recently, a 500 sq ft retiring room with toilets was inaugurated in the Pune Police Commissionerate which has a force of 120 women.

Each of these facilities has cost Rotary around Rs. 6-7 lakhs and their next challenge is at the Shivajinagar Headquarters where 300 women are on training. The Rotarians are hopeful that more people will join hands with them and participate in this effort.

- Prachi Bari

Dance and joy with Hrishekesh Pawar: A two-step hope for healing Parkinson’s disease

Hrishekesh Pawar (third from left), conducting the specially designed dance programme for people with Parkinson’s disease. Pawar runs the Hrishekesh Centre of Dance in Pune and introduced the dance for people with Parkinson’s in 2009. ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

A specially designed dance programme for people with Parkinson’s disease has helped bring about a positive outcome. Pragna Joshi (64) who has been attending dance teacher Hrishekesh Pawar’s classes is able to cook, attend to household chores and has also regained her self-confidence. “I owe this to the classes,” says her husband and retired chemical industry professional Nalin.

Pawar conducts a special dance programme for people with Parkinson’s. “We have respect and love for Hrishekesh who’s selflessly given his time and energy to these patients. He patiently teaches them movements which help them deal with their limitations,” said Joshi, adding that Hrishekesh has not charged a penny for his efforts.

Pawar runs the Hrishekesh Centre of Contemporary Dance in Pune and finds it fascinating to see dance making a difference to people’s lives. He introduced the dance for people with Parkinson’s in 2009.

“It is affiliated to the Mark Morris Dance Group, New York. The project in Pune is run in collaboration with the Sancheti Orthopedic Hospital,” he said.

Pawar believes the primary quality of dance is to heal. “Anyone who dances has witnessed the joy. Apart from the Dance for Parkinson’s, we are working with Deep Griha Society which works with under privileged children,” he said. His latest collaboration is with ceramic artist Ruby Jhunjhunwala for her sessions titled - Muthi for downsyndrome children.

- Anjali Shetty

First Published: Jun 24, 2018 18:30 IST