Parliament winter session: Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar has faced many fearsome bowlers in his long and illustrious career but the kind of experience he had today in Rajya Sabha will surely not please him. It was a momentous occasion for the ‘Bharat Ratna’ awardee as he was to speak for the first time in his tenure in the Upper House. As he got up to speak, opposition leaders created uproar in the Upper House over PM Narendra Modi’s Pakistan remarks on his predecessor Manmohan Singh during recently concluded Gujarat election campaign. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who is the Rajya Sabha Chairman, tried to pacify the agitating lamakers but his efforts went in vain. Tendulkar, however, remained calm and patient with a trademark genial smile on his face. It was not the kind of start Sachin expected in Parliament but then his scores in debut Test and ODI innings read 15 and a duck, falling prey to legendary Pakistani fast-bowler Waqar Younis both times! Quite a coincidence, no?
Meanwhile, the Cricket icon had visited Donja village in Osmanabad district of Marathwada, Maharashtra. Notably, Tendulkar had adopted the village under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). He has committed Rs four crore from his MP Local Area Development scheme funds for the infrastructure development in the village, a release issued by his spokesperson said. “I am overwhelmed by your enthusiasm and spirit and hope that all of us can work together towards development of the village. The initial challenges in implementing the development work have been successfully overcome and I am sure that the execution of the work will pick up speed. We want to showcase the development in Donja as a case study for other villages across the country,” it quoted Tendulkar as saying.
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Donja is the second village adopted by Tendulkar under the SAGY after Puttumraju Kandriga in Andhra Pradesh. Under the SAGY, a water tank will be constructed and pipelines will be laid for providing potable water to houses in Donja, the release said. A new school building will also be built along with sewage system and concrete roads. Tendering process for most of the projects has been completed and work orders issued, the release added. Spreading Happiness InDiya Foundation, an organisation associated with Tendulkar, has also undertaken to provide solar energy based lighting solutions to the school and other public amenities.
Donja, with a population of over 2,800, was recognised as an ODF (open defecation free) village shortly after Tendulkar adopted it in November 2016. During his visit, Tendulkar met Osmanabad Collector R V Game. He also played cricket with children from the local school and interacted with them.