The IAS Officer Who Revamped Open Spaces Of Etawah Into Gyms, Parks, and Stadiums
- Raghav Goyal
- Published on 27 Sep 2020, 10:06 am IST
- 4 minutes read
At first blush, it may look like Herculean task to accomplish. It is, but Mr Raja Ganapathy Ramaswamy showed by the results that the word `impossible’ does not exists in his dictionary.
- Mr. Raja Ganapathy Ramasamy, IAS Officer, CDO Etawah
You can call Etawah the city of wrestlers and body builders. It’s said there is not a single family here which has not produced a wrestlers. But before the IAS officer Mr Raja Ganapathy Ramasamy took charge as Etawah’s Chief Development Officer (CDO), things were in disarray here.
For one, there was no place in the entire Etawah where these young men could go and exercise. Often, they could be seen running on the highways- that’s where Mr. Ramasamy laid eyes on them for the first time and thought of the whole thing as quite bizarre, besides of course being very dangerous to the lives of these people, with heavy traffic whizzing past them from a few feet away.
Mr. Ramasamy himself is an exercise enthusiast. So he could really grasp the situation, as also empathize with the youth of Etawah. As he told Indian Masterminds, “I was inclined towards fitness and working out since my college days. I used to go for long runs and work out on a daily basis.”
Taking On the Land Mafia
Once in his office, the IAS officer decided to do something about the budding bodybuilders and found a new set of problems. But he soon overcame them. It didn’t take much time for Mr. Ramasamy to realize that the youth needed open spaces for performing fitness activities. Within one year, he gave a complete facelift to Etawah. Now it’s a new, revamped city with many open-air gyms, herbal gardens, and children parks.
The big task for Mr. Ramasamy was to provide a space for people so that they could exercise properly and safely. As he said “I found a very large number of land acquisition cases, mainly by the local mafia, and dealt with them immediately. Once the land was vacated from their illegal passion, we utilized the space by making gyms and parks there,’’
And therefore, in a matter of just one and a half years of service in Etawah, Mr Ramasamy constructed 80 open gyms at village gram panchayats level, 180 children’s park at various schools, 25 parks with the facility of open gym, footpaths, 125 herbal gardens at primary schools, 11 rural multipurpose stadiums with running tracks.
All these initiatives came under various schemes and allocations under the MNREGA, village panchayat funds, and public representatives’ local area development funds.
Unstoppable Mr. Ramasamy
The IAS officer also contributed to ‘Operation Kayakalp’, a project which was carried out in the 14th Finance Commission. It aims at raising the standard of living of the villagers and to develop a better India by way of the overall development of gram sabhas.
Mr. Ramasamy recalled, “Under ‘Operation Kayakalp’, I took the initiative of conducting a beautification drive of 1400 schools, established around 230 herbal parks, and also constructed some 200 children parks.”
He has also played a major role in the rejuvenation of four local rivers – Senger, Purah, Anaiyah, Sirsa with a total length of 250 kilometers and built 10 river ghats at river Sengar. He also gave a “corporate look” to the traditional government offices by renovating 8 block offices in Etawah
Apart from this, he also helped various Self-Help Groups (SHG) of women by building 30 RO plants in semi-urban areas, which are being operated by them under ‘Prerna Jal’ programme. He also took the initiative of building 80 work sheds at their workplace and also established `Prerna Canteens’ which are being run by differently-abled women of SHG.
In these 18 months of service as the CDO, Mr. Ramasamy has delivered Etawah the transformation which its people always pined for.
END OF THE ARTICLE