Bihar flood aid from Oman entrusted to Prakash Jha’s NGO

October 13th, 2008 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 13 (IANS) Around Rs.2.1 million funds raised in Oman through a charity drive for Bihar flood victims will be channelised to the Indian state through Punarwaas, an NGO set up by film director Prakash Jha.The Indian embassy, under whose aegis the fund raising drive was conducted by the Indian Social Club, has chosen Punarwaas, which has set up several relief camps in Bihar in the wake of last month’s devastating floods, for channelising the funds.

India’s Ambassador to Oman Anil Wadhwa handed over the cheque of Rs.2.1 million at a charity dinner in Muscat last weekend.

The charity dinner was also attended by well-known Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari.

The amount included 11,000 Omani riyals (Rs.1.37 million) donated by well-known Oman-based Indian businessman and Simran group of companies chairman Ishak Jilani.

“The recent floods which ravaged Bihar state caused horrific losses of life and property. The scope and scale of this tragedy struck an instant chord with the Indian community in Oman and they responded very well by mobilising funds,” Wadhwa told reporters in Muscat.

On his part, Jha expressed gratitude to the expatriate Indian community in Oman for the gesture.

“I am touched by the big-heartedness shown by the people of Muscat. I must say the experience of coming to Muscat has been unique in the sense that I am yet to experience this kind of generosity elsewhere,” said Jha.

During the course of the charity dinner, an auction was also held for Jha’s film memorabilia, including a complete set of his movies and two sets of personally autographed posters.

Over 2.5 million people lost their homes in the floods.

Meanwhile, in Qatar, Indian Ambassador George Joseph also thanked the Indian community in that country for its contributions to Bihar flood victims.

A total of 25 community forums, four Indian schools, two professional bodies, 10 companies and 40 individuals made the donations, the Gulf Times reported.

At a meeting in Doha, the donations were formally handed over to the ambassador.

“Within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), perhaps it is only from Qatar that Indians sent two representatives to the flood-affected areas for studying the real situation before providing relief,” Nilangshu Dey, president of the Bihar Flood Relief Committee, said at the meeting.

The two-member team, led by Shakil Ahmed Kakvi, president of the Indian Association of Bihar and Jharkhand, also met Minister for Chemicals, Fertilisers and Steel Ram Vilas Paswan, and Bihar government and Red Cross officials during the course of the visit.

According to the report, apart from financial donations, the 420,000-strong Indian community in Qatar has sent 2,100 blankets, 1,500 dhotis, 500 saris, 400 mosquito nets, and 400 sets of clothes for children.

The relief materials were routed through the Red Cross.

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