A two-day Gyan Khel Mahotsav hosted by RAC Manali, RID 3070, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Government College, Haripur, offered 250 athletes from four colleges and village panchayats across Himachal Pradesh a unique opportunity to display their athletic skills and draw attention from the sports authority. “The state-level athletics meet also had volleyball and painting competition. Around 1,500 spectators enjoyed the showpiece event of our club,” says Simran Verma, club president. The sports meet was organised in memory of late Shamsher Singh Thakur, past president, RC Manali, who was the architect of this Rotaract club.
While the Kullu team won the overall championship with a prize money of ₹21,000 and trophy, Rinku Thakur was declared the player of the tournament and was rewarded with a prize money of ₹1,000, two mementos and medals. In the volleyball, the first prize money was ₹21,000. The theme of the painting contest that had 50 participants was Hamara Himachal, Pyara Himachal.
Rtn Roshan Thakur and Dinanath Verma, vice-president, Tempo Travellers Association of Manali, were chief guests at the sports meet which was part-funded by them. Rtn Amitabh Sharma, president, Ice Skating Association of India, donated ₹45,000, and the club mobilised ₹25,000 for the Khel Utsav.
Mega cleanliness drive
All the 28 members took part in cleanliness drives at major tourist spots and scenic venues across Kullu Manali — Solang Nala, Hampta Pass, Manali Wildlife Sanctuary, Bijli Mahadev Mandir and Hadimba Devi temple. “Our aim is to take up cleanliness campaign at 4–5 places each Rotary year with the help of NGOs and create awareness on the need to prevent littering by tourists who visit these places as the focus is on eco-friendly tourism,” explains Simran. The club roped in YouVah, Mahila Mandal (a SHG) and JIR Ghatotkach Yuvak Mandal, Dhungri, in their ‘Clean and Green Manali’ campaign. “We shifted out 3–4 carloads of garbage weighing around three tonnes from these places and offloaded them at the dump yard of Manali Municipal Council.” From there the conservancy workers segregated and slotted the waste before disposing them in an eco-friendly manner, she says.
On the medical front, 200 children and adults were examined at a health check-camp held on the Mall Road with the support of Shri Harihar Hospital, Manali. A range of tests for BP, blood sugar, Dexa scan (for bone density), spirometry (breathing test) and ECG was conducted; and six doctors screened the patients who were also given medicines.
In partnership with their parent RC Manali, the Rotaractors conducted four blood donation camps in which over 200 units of blood was collected; 500 saplings were planted at four plantation drives; and the club enhanced its public image with its members volunteering at the five-day Manali Winter Carnival in January that showcased the cultural and historical legacy of Himachal Pradesh. “We joined hands with the NCC and NSS cadets from various colleges and guided visitors thronging the winter festival. More than a lakh people visited the carnival that displayed folk music, dance, cuisine and performing arts of Himachal,” says Simran.
Negotiable club fee
While the members usually meet twice a month, if there are some ongoing projects “we will get together frequently to chart out our action plan,” she says. There is a two-level fee structure as the 11 executive members pay ₹1,000 each, while the rest are charged ₹500 only. “We don’t charge a member if he or she is from a poor economic background,” says Simran who has been a Rotaractor for four years.
She has completed her Masters in Travel and Tourism Management at the Panjab University, Chandigarh, and waiting for a job placement.
“I enjoy every moment of my Rotaract journey as social service is close to my heart, and I am looking forward to join my parent RC Manali in the near future,” she smiles.