Paradip: Up until 2011, they had been living themselves. An incident of taking a mentally challenged person injured in a road mishap to a nearby hospital has brought about a transformation in them. They are now a source of inspiration for others.
Debakalyan Mohapatra, Debiprasad Sahu, Amresh Mandal, Deba Mandal and Deepak Sahu along with several others used to hang out at Biju Patnaik park at Atharabanki square here. Some of them work for different business houses while several others run their own businesses.
One afternoon in 2011, an accident took place before their eyes while they were chit-chatting at the park. A heavy vehicle hit a mentally challenged person and sped away. The man was writhing in pain lying on the road, but there was none to take him to hospital. Debiprasad and Amresh rushed to his rescue.
“We felt duty-bound to take the injured man to hospital. We had first taken him to nearby Biju Memorial hospital and then admitted him to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. We had pooled a fund to meet the hospital expenses of the man, said a beamed Debiprasad.
Amresh joins him adding, “And our effort did not go waste. The man was fully cured and was able to stand on his legs. Now he is well and fine.”
This single incident gave the young men immense pleasure and immense impetus to carry on with their work. The day they saw the mentally challenged man smiling and walking on his own, they could realise the worth of their simple gesture of mankind. The transformed men decided to devote their time for the cause of others.
Since that day onwards, they have been involving themselves in a lot of charity. Seeing the young men brimming with enthusiasm, several other like-minded youths have also joined them. Engineer and environmentalist Amresh Naresh Samant is among the members.
They took up a plantation drive in the port town to maintain greenery and fight ever-increasing pollution. They chose the campus of Biju Memorial Hospital and planted a number of trees there. They themselves watered the plants in turns. In 2012, they founded an NGO and named it ‘Adarsh Prayas’ (Noble Initiative).
Over the years, they have been able to create a small jungle like surrounding at the hospital, Paradip Garh School, Doplar Radar station and college. These jungles also have facilities for animals and birds. In summer season, the members make it a mental note to water the pots in these areas. They fill up the pots by turn.
When asked about the services their organisation is involved in, advisor Bishnu Charan Muduli said, “The members help mentally challenged people undergo treatment. They also distribute food and clothes among these patients. Help is being extended to hapless elderly persons as well. These apart, we also provide study materials to poor students, have launched cleanliness drives after every festival and puja, cleanliness drives on sea beach, created awareness against use of polythene and plastic, distributed jute bags, arranged blood donation camps, helped fire incident victims, extended help in rescue operations during natural calamities and helped maintain traffic.”
For all its philanthropic activities, the municipality has felicitated the organisation on many occasions in the past.
“We have not received any kind of help from any source. Nor do we expect to get any help from anyone. We carry out all the activities with the money pooled in by the members,” observes Kaibalya Sahu.
Another member Sudhir Parida added, “We have plans to launch a drive to make Paradip pollution free and the National Highway accident free in coming days.”
At a time when the generation-next is being criticised for its lack of sympathy, empathy and social etiquettes, these young men certainly are guiding lights to others, said an elderly local.