Monday, October 26, 2009
SILVER STAR - UK - MOBILE DIABETES UNIT LAUNCHED IN GOA
At a simple ceremony this hot Sunday afternoon 25th October, 2009 the first of its kind Mobile Diabetes Unit MDU of Silver Star a UK based charitable institution (www.silverstaruk.org) was launched in the 25th State of India, Goa by the world acclaimed film star Amitabh Bachchan at the Goa Hyundai showroom cum works campus at Nagoa Verna Plateau Salcete Goa India.
Speaking on the ocassion the Guest of Honour, Mr Bachchan 67 was indeed privileged to have the honour to launch the first of its kind unit in the State of Goa. He was pleased that the MP United Kingdom Mr Keith Vaz has taken the initiative to launch the third such unit in India and was happy that it was in Goa. To him Goa had a special place in his heart. He remembered his first visit to then Union Territiory in 1969 on the sets of the film Saat Hindustani and thereafter on several ocassions. After his accident which proved near fatal while shooting for the film, "Coolie" he has had more ocassions to be in the ICU then outside, he said. He was alarmed at the fact that almost every 6th Indian is a diabetic and assuming that every 6th person in the world is an Indian India could well be designated as the world capital of diabetes. Mr Bachchan requested the CM of Goa to use his services for any social cause in Goa and he would be most willing to participate in the same or contribute to whatever cause be dear to Goa and Goans.
He wished that many well wishers would come forward to contribute to the growth of Silver Star in India. Answering a query of a journalist Mr Bachchan admitted the fact that just one MDU would not suffice for the State of Goa but he was confident that with the contribution of others more such units would come up in Goa. He himself annouced a donation of Rs.11 lacs (his birth day 11th) on the ocassion as his personal contribution to the cause.
Speaking further about his love for Goa he thanked the Goans for the love and affection showered on him and his family while he was in Breach Candy Mumbai and during times his family went through bad phases. He singled out Ms Zarina Fernandes an employee of the Syndicate Bank a native of Porvorim amidst the audience who was his oldest fan in Goa. (Ms Fernandes stood up to acknowledge the handsome praise from the filmstar she got herself photographed at the request of this writer )
He was again all praise for the organisational acumen of 21 years long MP from Leicester UK Mr Keith Vaz whose parents hail from Calangute Bardez Goa. Mr Bachchan recalled the tremendous ovation he received in Leicester during his visit to UK , and attributed all this to the youthful MP.
Earlier the UK MP Mr Vaz, informed the gathering that little did he suspect that he himself would be a victim of Diabetes type II when he had gone for a casual diagnostic test at his hometown in Leicester UK. Ofcourse his mother died young as a diabetic he said. His love for Goa made him set up the third MDU in India specially in Goa, said the youthful MP who was born in Aden and informed that his wife Maria hails from Velim Salcete Goa . Speaking to this writer his wife Ms Vaz informed that they have a home also in Betalbatim Goa. He was indeed alarmed at the fact that 14 million people in India have been diagonised to be suffering from diabetes Type II and the undetected ones could be double or even more. He was full praise for the Chief Guest Mr Bachchaan and indeed had a special message to convey to Mr Bachchaan from the British PM Mr Gordon Brown who specifically requested him to convey his belated best wishes on his(Amitabhs) birthday (11/10/ 1942)to the best actor on the planet admired for his basic humanity and charitable contributions. This was greeted by a thunderous applaud. Mr Vaz thanked the Government of Goa the elected representatives and the Health Department for all the help rendered to his charity mission via the Silver Star in Goa.
The Chief Minister Mr Digamber Kamat, thanked the UK MP Mr Vaz and the film star Amitabh Bachchan for launching the MDUnit in India and making Goa the first state in India to have this unit. He recalled that his Government had indeed launched the free insulin kit just a day before in North Goa and promised all help for the success of the Silver Star charity activities in Goa.
Capt. K Nair 86 an entrepreneur in the Hotel industry an owner of Leela Goa a native of the south Indian state of Kerala a freedom fighter at the age of 13 years spelt out his love for Goa when he opened up a resort in Cavelossim on an area of 75 acres and employing over 1000 in Goa. He has fallen in love with Goa and would never leave this place he said. Capt Nair also complimented the Government of Goa the ex-CM Dr Wilfred A De Souza who was present on the ocassion, the PWD Minister Mr Churchill Alemao . So much was his love for Goa that he named the botanical garden in his Resort at Cavelossim after Mr Pratapsing Raoji Rane he informed the audience to the surprise of many.
Earlier the patron of the Silver Star Mr Nana Bandekar mine owner from Vasco-da-Gama was introduced to the dignitaries on the dais.
Sidelights of the event
a) the function started an hour late much to the annoyance of the children present to see the mega film star-- who wished for his autograph but were denied the same
b) strict frisking of the VVIP's and VIP's besides the guests annoyed the dignitaries at the entrance
c) the electronic and print media personnel too were not spared the strict frisking annoying most of them
d) there was no drinking water or refreshments, even at costs, made available at the venue even the security personnel and police who had to bear the sweltering afternoon heat were scouting for water to quench their thirst but could find little comfort.
e) the MDU was the third such unit of Silver Star the first after "George" being launched in 2008 followed by the second named after Silver star Patron "Ms Dorothy Purdew" and the present one after Patron "Capt Krishna Nair"
f) specially printed banner placards were given to the children and the gathering greeting Mr Amitabh Bacchan
g) Mr Paresh Joshi Proprietor of Goa Hyundai was thanked for the arrangements.
h) an advertisement on the local english daily TNT revealed that the invitation was meant for the public but the entry was given only to the invitees. Seeing the chairs vacant in the invitees arena those in the general arena (uninvited audience) was made to occupy the invitees/dignitaries chairs just before the function commenced.
i) the press both from the audio visual and print media occupied the front of the stage resulting in the invitees howling at them. The press retaliated because the place designated for them were occupied by the uninvited guests.
j) Rs. 100 chairty coupons were sold at the venue and Mr Sunil Gangwani was the lucky winner of a free air travel courtesy Kingfisher airlines Goa - London
k) Goa unit volunteers of Silver Star are Susheela Mendes and others
from the Nagoa venue end
GODFREY J. I. GONSALVES,
BORDA, MARGAO, 403 602, GOA. (INDIA)
+91 98221 58584 (24 HRS)