New Delhi: A charitable organisation founded by billionaire NRI entrepreneur Manoj Bhargava has pledged Rs 500 crore to fund development activities in Uttarakhand.
On the occasion of its fifth anniversary, the Hans Foundation, which works closely with NGOs by providing them financial assistance in 25 states, announced the decision at a function here last evening.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has welcomed the initiative.
"I am inquisitively waiting for the project to start. A lot of work is being done by the organisation in the state at the individual level. Thousands of people are being helped especially in healthcare sector where they have established two hospitals in Kotdwar and Haridwar already," Rawat told a news agency.
The contribution of Rs 500 crore, a part of foundation's 'Uttarakhand 2020' project to be given to the state over a period of six years, is set to be ploughed into works to significantly improve the quality of low-income communities in the state.
The project focuses on malnourishment, disease prevention, clean drinking water, effective agricultural programmes in villages, primary healthcare services, education and environment regeneration with introduction of smokeless stove in every household villages by 2020.
The Chief Minister said his government would fully support the programmes and noted that together with NGOs, they can do a lot to benefit the common man.
Manoj Bhargav said, "Basic needs of people in poor areas especially in villages need to be dealt and development for them should be done at the ground level."
Bhargav is the founder of '5-Hour Energy'- a popular energy drink in the US.
Co-founder and chairperson of the foundation, Shweta Rawat, said that Uttarakhand was chosen because "it is one of the most beautiful places in India which needs large-scale development initiatives that will improve the quality of life of people especially children living in villages in the state."
The Chief Minister also said that the state government was reviewing more such projects.