An impressive function was held at Keechankuppam village in the outskirts of Nagapattinam town on July 6 to mark the handing over of 248 permanent houses constructed by Sewa Bharati, Tamil Nadu, for the tsunami victims. The religious ceremonies like griha pravesh, go puja, vastu shanti puja, etc., were conducted on July 5 and early morning of July 6.
Swami Goutamananda, president of Ramakrishna Mutt, Chennai, first inaugurated the majestic arch erected at the entrance of Vyas Nagar, the name given to the new colony. Very appropriately, a statue of Maharishi Ved Vyas has also been installed at the entrance in a small but beautiful garden. After the inauguration, all the dignitaries proceeded to the stage. The dignitaries included Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Sarkaryavah of RSS, Shri Raman, Deputy Collector of Nagapattinam, Shri Radha, IAS, Chief Planning Officer of Nagapattinam, Shri Kothandaraman, chairman of Nagapattinam Municipality, Dr Shankar Tattwawadi, overseas coordinator of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Shri Shyam Parande, secretary of Sewa International, Dr Senkottayan, state president of Sewa Bharati, Tamil Nadu, and others. The newly constructed houses have been handed over to the government and not to the tsunami victims directly.
Inaugurating the plaque bearing the names of the main donors of the first phase of the project, viz IDRF-USA, Sewa International-UK and Sewa International-USA Chapter, Swami Goutamananda applauded the exemplary spirit of solidarity shown by the volunteers and office-bearers of the three main donor organisations in helping the victims of the tsunami disaster in the most appropriate way by giving them a permanent shelter, which is a basic necessity. He also praised the numerous selfless volunteers of Sewa Bharati, Tamil Nadu, for helping the tsunami victims at every stage since the attack on December 26, 2004.
Shri Mohan Bhagwat remarked that the spirit with which Sewa Bharati volunteers rendered a yeoman'sservice is quite different from others. ?Sewa Bharati renders service with the spirit of ?service to man is service to Almighty and nation? and not with any other considerations. Also the volunteers feel that it is their duty to give their time and energies to the needy sections of the society,? he said and added that the Sewa Bharati has been successful in kindling the spirit of service in the recipients as well, unlike usual cases where the recipients keep permanently receiving and are never made to participate and share their time and energy for service activities. Shri Bhagwat handed over a model of one block of four houses to Shri Radha, symbolically to mark the handing-over of the fully completed 248 permanent houses in the first phase.
Shri Radha, Shri Raman and Shri Kothandaraman, who also spoke at the function, were unanimous in applauding the brilliant spirit of selfless service demonstrated by Sewa Bharati'svolunteers.
Dr Shankar Tattwawadi said he is very satisfied with the speedy and efficient construction work, which has been accomplished by Sewa Bharati. The entire fisher folk of Keechankuppam and Akkarapettai who attended the function thanked the Sewa Bharati and all donors for their unique gesture of compassion showered on them.
In the first phase of construction the IDRF-USA has funded the cost of 100 houses, Sewa International-UK 70 houses and Sewa International-USA 40 houses. The site of the colony is located on the bank of back-waters and fishermen can bring their boats to the backyard of their colony. Each house measures 390 sq.ft. as against 325 sq.ft. recommended by the government. Many private testing agencies were employed by the Sewa Bharati to ascertain the quality of work at every stage of construction.