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Contribution of Rs 71 lakh for Kargil soldiers’ houses

 Media Coverage  |  29-06-2022

Lokmat has built hostels for children of martyred soldiers in Nagpur, Aurangabad, Latur and Solapur

New Delhi, June 29: The chairman of editorial board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha Vijay Darda on Tuesday presented a cheque for Rs 71 lakh to defence minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande on behalf of Lokmat Foundation for the construction of houses for the soldiers guarding the war memorial in Kargil.

On this occasion, Lt Gen P S Shekhawat was also present. Darda called on the defence minister and the CoAS at the ministry of defence, South Block, Delhi.

In fact, Kargil War Memorial was constructed in Kargil in 2004 on the national highway NH-1D from Srinagar to Leh after the Kargil war victory in 1999. Since this place is very close to the Pakistan border and there is a strong possibility of a terror attack here, an Army contingent has been deployed for its security.

To save these soldiers from freezing cold of minus 42 degree Celsius, pucca houses were needed and its cost was estimated at Rs 71 lakh. This need of the Army was fulfilled by the Kargil Martyrs’ Relief Fund of Lokmat. The construction of the houses is going on in full swing. It will be inaugurated on the Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26. Darda has also been invited to this ceremony.

Darda also apprised the defence minister of the assistance provided to the families of the martyrs of the Kargil war in 1999 by the Lokmat Media Group and the amount given to the injured. He told the defence minister that the Lokmat Media Group had till date collected Rs 2.58 crore in the Kargil Martyrs’ Relief Fund since 1999. Out of this, Rs 1.08 lakh each was given to the legal heirs of 41 martyred jawans and big amounts were distributed among 39 injured jawans. Around Rs 48.28 lakh was spent under this head.

Besides, hostels were constructed for the children of martyred soldiers in Nagpur at a cost of Rs 38.05 lakh and in Aurangabad at a cost of Rs 45.91 lakh. Similar hostels were built in Latur and Solapur at a cost of Rs 29.95 lakh and Rs 24.5 lakh respectively. The Lokmat Media Group spent a total of Rs 13,841,000 for this purpose. Darda donated the remaining amount of Rs 71 lakh to the Kargil War Memorial Fund of the Army Welfare Fund on Tuesday. Thus, the Lokmat Media Group has so far spent Rs 2.58 crore for this cause. The entire amount collected was deposited in a separate account at the Sitabuldi Branch of Bank of India at Nagpur. Maintaining transparency, the amount was not used for any other purpose. The financial assistance was given in the form of FDR to the families of martyred jawans through account payee cheques which were transferred to the accounts of their legal heirs after maturity.

All the hostels were constructed on the land owned by the defence ministry. After the construction, the hostels were handed over to the defence welfare department with a request that children of injured or martyred jawans be given priority in admission.

The Lokmat Media Group published the names of those who contributed towards the fund on a daily basis, irrespective of how little their contributions might have been. The Lokmat Media Group also appealed to the people to make more similar contributions. The Lokmat Media Group also published a book titled ‘Raktanjali’, written by  Lt Col Dr VP Singh which was released on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26, 2001 by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Ashoka Hotel in Delhi. The then defence minister Jaswant Singh, the then home minister L K Advani, the then finance minister Yashwant Sinha and the three service chiefs were present. The foundation stone of the Sainik Hostel in Nagpur was laid by the then defence minister George Fernandes on June 21, 2000. The Lokmat Media Group vice president Ashish Bhatia, national editor Harish Gupta, senior editor (business and politics) Sharad Gupta, and Darda’s personal assistant Praveen Bhagwat were present when the cheque was handed over to the defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.

Consultative board

A consultative board was formed to oversee and ensure transparency in all the works. The board comprised Lt. Commandant (retired) P N Modak from Aurangabad as its chairman and Wing Commander (retired) T R Jadhav as secretary. The members included Wing Commander (retired) Ramesh Bora, Nagpur, Lt. Commandant (retired) P B Keskar, Pune, Colonel (retired) Ramesh Waghmare, Major (retired) G K Ghuge, Captain (retired) P R Gokhale, Colonel (retired) V L Vadodkar, Nagpur.

Door-to-door opening of accounts

The Lokmat Media Group went to the homes of the soldiers who were eligible for assistance, opened their bank accounts and handed over FDRs. The Lokmat Media Group ensured that the family members should not spend the aid money on other works. Therefore, one FD was made in the name of the wife of the martyred soldiers and one FD each in the name of the children. 65 accounts were opened in the name of the relatives of the 41 jawans. Among them, 21were from Aurangabad, 7 from Solapur, 3 from Nagpur and 10 from Sangli.

Contribution of Rs 2.58 crore

An amount of Rs 48.28 lakh was spent on financial assistance to the families of the martyred soldiers and the injured, Rs 13,841,000 were spent on construction of hostels for the children of the soldiers and the amount of Rs 71 lakh handed over on Tuesday together with interest comes to a total of Rs 2.58 crore.

Dedication of Lokmat

The space dedicated in the newspapers of Lokmat Media Group to collect funds is worth lakhs. The members of the Lokmat family also devoted several thousand hours to this virtuous work.

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