Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar adopting Puttamraju Kandreega, a village in Nellore district, certainly has caught the national attention and grabbed the headlines. But what’s baffling many is what’s Sachin’s connection to the Nellore and who played instrumental role in his decision to adopt the downtrodden village. Here is the story behind Sachin’s visit to remote village. Ms Gorle Rekha Rani, the joint collector of Nellore district, is the lady who influenced Sachin to adopt Puttamraju Kandreega.
Going into details, Ms Rekha had bumped into Sachin on a flight where she introduced herself and that’s the whole genesis of Sachin adopting Nellore village. “I was on a personal trip to visit my son who is being trained in Goldman Sachs in New York. And Sachin was on the same flight. I am not a very keen follower of cricket but knew about Sachin Tendulkar and the impact he could create. Everyone in the flight lounge was taking his autographs and photographs as a cricketing hero, but I looked at him as an MP. I introduced myself as someone from Andhra and told him that I knew his friend Chamundeshwarnath.
That was a plus point as I could gauge the difference in his demeanor, he was very receptive. Then I asked him how he was utilising his MP funds and invited him to come to Nellore where he could start a model village,” Rani told DC. “We got talking and started writing notes on a tissue paper! There were about 10 to 13 issues he wanted to concentrate on – children, women, drinking water… he was talking almost like an administrator,” Rani added.
“We spoke for about an hour, exchanged email IDs and later started co-ordinating. I admired his commitment. After I returned from the US, I told my collector about the same. I then got Sachin to speak to our collector and get the project rolling,” Rani said, adding “Sachin made sure he chose a very interior village. If this village develops, there are 10 villages around it that can use its infrastructure.” During his visit, Tendulkar had laid foundation for the construction of Rs 2.79 crore worth developmental works (in the first phase).
And definitely all the credit goes to Ms Rekha Rani. Meanwhile, Rekha who had lost her IPS husband Pardesi Naidu in a Maoist mine blast in 1987, has her hopes pinned on her son. Definitely, IAS officers like Rekha Rani are an inspiration to reckon with.