Friday, December 04, 2009

An award that honours those who take small steps in big city

An award that honours those who take small steps in big city

The Namma Bengaluru Awards will be given away for the first time this year. Among the 4,000 nominees are those unsung heroes of the city, who have quietly gone about doing good work all these years, expecting little in return, reports Bosky Khanna

Bosky Khanna

He has a unique definition of 'infrastructure'. A Vidya Shankar, a retired central government official and president of the Bangalore South Welfare and Cultural Association, as also the Kuvempunagar Residents' Association, says that greening the city is an aspect of infrastructure improvement. "We have taken up a programme to plant 500 trees in Bangalore South each year, especially in places where trees were axed for road widening and development." Vidya Shankar has worked for a decade towards greening the city, and his work is finally finding some recognition.
Vidya Shankar is among the 4,000 nominees of the Namma Bengaluru Awards, which will be announced on December 12, 2009. The initiative was spearheaded by Member of Parliament and ABIDe convenor Rajeev Chandrashekhar, whose aim is to reward extraordinary contributions of ordinary citizens.
In a bid to make the city a greener space, Vidya Shankar has worked with the horticulture department. Though retired, he has his hand in many pies. Vidya Shankar has aided other tax-payers by taking up for discussion such issues as the self-assessment scheme introduced by BBMP. He has also presented to ABIDe a proposal that lists the ideal locations for future flyovers and underpasses. He has even made suggestions on the best possible way to maintain public property.
The list of nominees for the Namma Bengaluru Awards includes citizens who have, without much ado, gone about doing good work for the city.
Ravi K Shah, for instance, is an entrepreneur who conducts programmes on career counselling and personality development. He offers such support free of cost to those unable to afford it, and he has been instrumental in providing employment to several people. His efforts have helped several youth find suitable employment.
R Guru Rao, a freedom fighter and social activist, has set about making the city more disabled-friendly. "I approached the Lokayukta, and after that, efforts were made to make the Lokayukta's office disabled-friendly. There are many public buildings and BMTC buses that are now disabled-friendly. I have also sought that those with Parkinson's disease be granted subsidized bus passes."
Another nominee for the Namma Bengaluru awards is Sister Adela Korah, who belongs to the congregation of the Sisters of Prison. Sister Korah has been active in the education of children of prisoners, as also children lodged in prison. "I have been educating these children for six years. I was earlier working in the education ministry of the Catholic Church, and I realised that helping these children is important. Some of them commit crimes at the spur of the moment, and we cannot allow that to mark them, and mar the rest of their lives. They are capable of better, and they can be reformed."
There are also organisations that have been considered for the award. The organisation called People for Animals, based in Kengeri, was started after wildlife enthusiast Saleem Hameed, realised that there were almost no veterinarians in Bangalore who knew how to treat birds and handle reptiles and mammals. Most vets catered to pet dogs and cats, and these creatures could not expect to find trained healers.
Among the nominees is G Ventakeshwara Prasad, who has donated blood over 62 times. "By donating blood, one builds bonds with absolute strangers," he says.


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