Residents' association says no to NGO working for cancer-hit children

Residents’ association says no to NGO working for cancer-hit children

Residents’ association says no to NGO working for cancer-hit children


Association president says ambulances driving in and out will affect emotional wellbeing of their children

Bengaluru: Cancer is the biggest challenge facing the humanity. According to a recent data, 9.6 million people die every year from the disease. Unfortunately, half a million deaths happen due to ignorance of the disease and 70% of India's poor cancer patients lose their lives due to late detection of which 15% are children. Many NGOs are working to mitigate the suffering of cancer-hit patients, children in particular. CanKids India is one among them which provides temporary stay, food, transportation and counseling support for rural children and their mothers who need to travel to big cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata to seek advanced medical treatment for pediatric cancer.

CanKids India's noble cause has run into rough weather as residents of the gated community where it is located are opposing its activities. The building is donated to the NGO by Santanu Das, an NRI, working in Chicago as a business development executive for Tata Consultancy Services. A couple of years back, he learned about the work being done by CanKids India and, to help its cause, he purchased a plot in Reliaable Lifestyle off Sarjapur Road in Bengaluru and constructed a three-storey villa and gave to CanKids India to provide shelter to the cancer-hit children from rural Karnataka during their stay in Bengaluru for medical treatment.

A few members of the association governing the Reliaable Lifestyle gated community have decided to stop the use of the house in their neighborhood for charitable purposes. "They state that the community is only for residential purposes and I should not provide my house to the NGO for their work. I have tried my best to reason with the association president and other members, saying he was not using his property for non-residential/commercial purposes but only trying to support a good cause but to no avail," Santanu Das told The Hans India.

As a result, the project is now stalled and CanKids India' and Das are unable to house any children and their mothers who are being referred to them by the leading oncology departments of Bengaluru hospitals.

According to Lokesh, a member of Cankids India says, "We have been asked not to use this residence for any charitable purposes other than residential purposes. The owner of the house is full of support as he knows the problem faced by the cancer patients to get proper treatment. But the association members of this Reliaable Lifestyle are opposing, saying that it is illegal and they are not ready to allow the cancer patients into the locality. This is the "Home Away From Homes" program under CanKids India - a low-cost model where the children with cancer and their families can stay while they are undergoing treatment. So we have partnered with the State governments and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that children with cancer are detected and diagnosed at the earliest, appropriately referred to the right cancer centers and managed through shared care models of treatment, care and support. This won't be much trouble for the local residents as our members will be staying back at home and use only ambulance services for hospital visits. We tried our best to solve it, but nothing has worked."

According to the reports, the first set of two children and their mothers were turned away by the association members from the gate on June 28. Santanu Das and CanKids representatives are at their wits' end as to how to convince the association to allow the project to go forward.

Reacting on this, Rajesh Murugan, president of Reliaable Lifestyle, said, "We are ready to work for a social cause and make some handsome donation for the patients who are in need. But we are going by the rules in sale-deed of our property which states that the houses in the community should be used only for the residential purpose and not for any commercial or other NGO activities. It is not legally approved for NGOs to work in the residential boundaries, so we are questioning it. We want our 160 families and 100 plus kids to spend carefree and quality-time in the gated community. This kind of atmosphere of ambulances driving into the area frequently will affect the kids' emotions, so we are requesting them to plan accordingly."

Reliable Lifestyle is a residential villa plot off Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru which has spread across 20 acres of land with 372 plots and currently 112 residents (160 plus families) and 25 under construction. "We have also spoken to Mr Santanu Das and the NGO chairman to convince and take a vote from the residents. If the majority of residents approve the NGO's activities then there would be no problem. The association is a channel for the members to air their views," Rajesh Murugan further added.

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