On 60th b’day, visionary Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar gifts ‘eyesight’


Turning 60 today (December 25), Mumbai’s busy-bee Mayor Kishori Pednekar did not celebrate her birthday alone – but saw to it that around 100 unfortunate “sightless” people could look forward to a better life.

In a unique gesture, Pednekar made a personal donation of Rs 1,00,000 to the Vision Foundation of India (VFI), to perform free eye surgeries that can benefit upto 100 persons, said officials.

The amount will be utilised by 28-year-old VFI for its Rashtriya Netra Yagna – launched in 2015 – under which it has already performed over 5,60,000 eye surgeries for the less privileged in 19 states and 2 Union Territories, with a target of 11-lakh in 11 years.

“I turn 60 today. Recently, I have been blessed with a grandson. In the spirit of serving the people as I am graced with the double joy, I have taken this step to give ‘Drishti Sanjeevani’ to the needy persons,” said a smiling Pednekar, a trained nurse-turned-Shiv Sena politician who earned accolades for her work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Handing over a cheque for the amount to VFI Managing Trustee Dr Kulin Kothari, in presence of Joint Municipal Commissioner Chandrashekhar Chore on Friday, the Mayor lauded the services of the VFI which has been performing all types of surgeries and providing eye-care to the underprivileged all over the country.

“The less privileged persons suffering for cataracts, glaucoma, poor eyesight or other vision problems shall get the necessary treatment at VFI without discrimination. All necessary pre-examinations, surgeries, things like contact lenses or spectacles shall be provided to the patients by VIF,” Pednekar said.

Dr Kothari said VFI was founded in 1993 and is engaged in providing medical treatment, surgery, medicines, etc to the underprivileged people of society who are unable to access proper eye treatment, especially people in remote villages and tribal communities through its 60-plus collaborative centres around the country.

“The VFI aim is to diagnose the problem of blindness in time and provide eye resuscitation to the patients. Though we work all over India, 20 per cent of our work is done in Maharashtra alone,” Dr Kothari added.

VFI Manager Afzal Varaliya said besides the flagship Rashtriya Netra Yagna, the NGO has other major initiatives like Sugar N Sight for Diabetics, Mumbai Urban Slum Eye Care for the hutment dwellers in half a dozen slum-pockets, Child Eye for children and one Mobile Eye Clinic for people in slums or remote areas around Mumbai.

The VFI has performed around 1,000 eye surgeries on police and conducted eye checkups for more than 10,000 cops, it runs the Navneet Shah Eye Bank where retina donations are received regularly and there is a Primary Rural Vision Care Center each in Thane and Palghar districts, all offered as free services.

Varaliya said the VFI teams help out with other social or charitable groups or corporates to conduct eye camps in hospitals or outside to bring the benefits of best eye-care to the poor.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)



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