Mangalore, August 20: On Wednesday August 20th, merit-cum-means scholarships worth Rs 3 crore was awarded by World Konkani Centre (WKC) under its Vishwa Konkani Students Scholarship Fund (VKSSF) to students from Konkani communities in a ceremony held at TV Raman Pai Convention Centre, Kodialbail in Mangalore.
The guests Mr T V Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education, Ivan D’Souza, MLC, Sandeep S Shenoy, M Padmanabha Pai, managing trustee of Shree Venkataramana Temple, Mangalore, Melreeda Rodrigues president of ICYM central council, Mangalore diocese, Dr P Dayananda Pai, chairman of Konkani Language and Culture Foundation, Basti Vaman Shenoy, president of World Konkani Centre, Pradeep G Pai, secretary of VKSSF, Venkatesh N Baliga secretary of WKC, Lenita Menezes, president of VKSSF Alumni Association, Preetham Kamath, Vimala V Pai, K B Kharvi, Annappa S, Ramesh Nayak were the present on the dais.
The scholarships to the students were distributed by the dignitaries on the dais. Scholarships were awarded to 579 engineering students, 36 MBBS students and four students who were going to study abroad.
Addressing the gathering, T V Mohandas Pai in his keynote address, he said, “Five years ago, providing scholarships to the students of Konkani community was a dream, and now the dream has come true. My dream is that by 2030 Konkani community should become better and more than one lakh students should get scholarships. Entrepreneurs should be trained to develop technology and for this entrepreneurship development programme has to be introduced.
“In 10 years’ time, those who graduate have to become entrepreneurs and everyone should become billionaires. We do not have political strength, but we have the strength of knowledge. We lack leadership in our society. If we want to come up in society, we should make use of technology. Through the latest technology, we can promote and propagate our culture and traditions. We have to keep our language, history and culture alive, or else we will lose our strength,” he said.
Further stressing on the importance of the Konkani language, Mohandas Pai said, “We are united by languages and we are divided by languages, as there are various types of scripts in Konkani language. People of this generation speak English in their houses, they do not have pride towards our Konkani language. This should not happen.”
MLC Ivan D’Souza in his address promised that in the next council meeting to be held in Belgaum, he would speak in Konkani. “As our Konkani language is added in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, no one can question me for speaking in Konkani in the coming council meetings,” he added.
U Ramdas Kamath, chairman of VKSSF welcomed the guests, while Smitha Jaideep Shenoy compered the ceremony. The vote of thanks was proposed by Pradeep G Pai.
Ramdas Kamath slams government
Addressing a press meet after the scholarship award ceremony, Infosys executive vice-president and chairman of Vishwa Konkani Student Scholarship Fund Ramdas Kamath slammed the state and the central governments for the pathetic condition of the roads in Mangalore and blamed the governments for the poor growth of IT sector in the city.
He said that, “Today the state’s IT exports have slipped to 34% from 37% and the state does not seem to be bothered about it. Even though we have transported IT services worth 1,75,000 crore last year the drop in exports is a major setback”.
“It is a tragedy that the so-called cent percent literate Mangalore city contributes not even 2% of the state’s total IT exports. The government is not doing anything for the IT Park established at Mudipu. There is scarcity of water. Anyone who has back pain and travels by road to the IT Park will surely get admitted to hospital. Apart from this, even the road connecting Mangalore to Kerala has become deteriorated badly. This region has been totally deprived of the government’s attention,” he said.
Submitting recommendations to the state government on improving tourism in the state, he said, “The government has already sanctioned Rs 66 crore for the development of beaches in Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, out of which about Rs 20 crore has been released. The state government has also sent proposals to the central government for releasing funds for the development of roads connecting the beaches to the highways.
He also stated that, “Toilets should be constructed close to the beaches. A lot of garbage is thrown around the beach, this has to be checked. There should be an administrative mechanism to maintain our beaches. The concerned zilla panchayat or the gram panchayat or any organization should be given the responsibility of maintaining the beaches clean”.
During press meet, Mr T V Mohandas Pai principal patron of the fund, president of Vishwa Konkani Centre Basti Vaman Shenoy, secretary of Vishwa Konkani Student Scholarship Fund Pradeep G Pai, VKSSF alumni president Lenita Jenifer Menezes, Pallavi Prabhu, Royal Denzil Sequeira were seen among the gathering.