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This AGNI has been burning for 8 years
Binoy Valsan in Mumbai | April 25, 2007 20:15 IST
Renowned for its path-breaking Bombay high court order against Bandhs in the city, compiling voters list and taking social work to grass root levels, Action for Good Governance and Networking of India, an NGO, celebrated its eighth birth anniversary at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on April 24.
Speaking on the occasion, Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna underlined the importance of organisations like AGNI to keep the blood and life pumping in the veins of cities like Mumbai and Bangalooru.
"Two-thirds of the Mumbai population are slum-dwellers devoid of basic facilities and amenities. The battle to make Mumbai a better place to live could be won with effective institutionalised help working in tandem with government machinery," he pointed out.
The relevance of organisations like AGNI was further highlighted when the Governor cited that the transition of Mumbai to Shanghai was only possible with active citizen participation.
"AGNI could function as a locomotive to bring together people of the city and also instil a positive change of mindset in them. People should not become over-dependent on municipal organisations, rather they should also play an active role and assist them," he added.
Alfred D'zouza, an active member of the organisation, was elected as the Corporator for Juhu ward in the recent civic polls. Alfred, who had been a relentless worker in all social endeavours of the organisation, was present on the occasion.
"If you want a change, it is up to you. When the system and people join hands with a well-etched plan then a change is inevitable. AGNI has been the best platform as far as I am concerned to motivate and propel me ahead," he said.
Speaking to rediff.com, Alfred said he was finding himself more responsible, duty bound and accountable to people post his election victory.
"I am used to doing such kind of work with AGNI. More and more people should come into the forefront as it would make a huge difference to the existing social scenario," he said.
DM Shukthankar, the NGO's vice chairman and managing trustee, elaborated upon some activities of the organisation, especially the awareness drive undertaken to ensure that commoners are rightfully utilising the right to franchise.
"The final say rests in the hands of the voters. We are just helping them make a better choice," he said.
Speaking to rediff.com, Rahul Narwerkar of Shiv Sena's legal cell said, "Active citizen participation is the key for achieving the laid down goals essential for the overall progress of the city."
Some of the AGNI volunteers who have witnessed the birthpangs of AGNI eight years back at Don Bosco School are all smiles with their tremendous achievement down the lane. Most of them, senior citizens, are still upbeat about going ahead full throttle with their work.
"Our shadow committees have turned out to be a tremendous success. These committees are formed in respective wards and consist of 10 to 15 members and are deeply involved in working for the uplift of the ward as a whole," Xavier Fernandez, an AGNI member, pointed out.
Trupthi Patel, a veteran AGNI member, observed that senior citizens have a major role to play in such initiatives as most of the civic workers take their advice seriously and end up doing a better job.
Besides AGNI volunteers, the function was also attended by Joint Commissioner of Police Satish Mathur and a number of officials and social activists.