‘Humsafar’ 19th Blind Challenge Car Rally 2024 organised

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Chandigarh

3 March 2024

DIVYA AZAD

‘Humsafar’ the ‘19th Blind Challenge Car Rally’ was organised by Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) Arushi India(Bhopal) in association with Caryakshetra in Chandigarh. The rally which was flagged off from Sukhna Lake, covered around 25 kms and ended at Omaxe Club, New Chandigarh. The concept of the rally was unique. While the vehicle was driven by a sighted person the navigator was blind, the visually challenged navigator read the route given to him or her in braille and very skillfully guided the driver to the final destination. Cars were driven at a slow speed.

The team of driver -Anurag Agarwal and navigator – Arjun Sharma came 1st. The second position was taken by the team of driver-Inderjeet Singh and navigator – Veerpal. The 3rd spot was awarded to driver -Swaijeet Brar and navigator Ramjanam.  Cash prizes were given to the top three navigators and trophies too were awarded to the winning teams. 

Fifty cars participated in the rally with each car having a blind child navigating the drive and a sighted person driving. These cars were flagged off by Col Karaminder Singh (Retd), Secretary, Society for Handicapped Patiala which also provided 50 blind children to act as navigators;H S Gujral, IFS (Retd.), Chairman, State Environment Society Punjab; Dharminder Sharma (IFS), Chief Wildlife Warden Punjab; Garima Singh, Commissioner of Income Tax(Audit), NW Region; Brig. Vikram Goswami (Retd.); and Maj D P Singh, Kargil War Veteran also popularly called ‘Blade Runner’.

Anil Mudgal, Co-founder of the NGO Arushi India said, “The Blind Challenge Car Rally is an annual feature of Arushi-India Bhopal.  For the last eighteen years Arushi has organized this car rally in Bhopal. The 19th edition was held in Chandigarh. The event tried to spread a social message – the urgent need for eye donation for corneal blind people. “

What’s alarming is that India with one-fourth of the world’s blind population has 30 lakh corneal blind people and 60% are below 12 years of age.

Garima Singh, Commissioner of Income Tax(Audit), NW Region said, “I have been informed about the huge shortage of ‘eye donations’ for corneal transplants. What’s worrying is that only 25000 corneas are donated every year in India while 30,000 new patients are added each year to the long list of 2 lakh patients already waiting to be cured. I would appeal to fellow Indians to pledge to donate their eyes so that after death their eyes help the ‘corneal blind’ see the world.”

Yogesh Gera, Volunteer, NGO Arushi India said, “The idea behind the rally was also to showcase the skills that the visually impaired possess.”

The prize distribution ceremony was held at the rally’s concluding point. It is noteworthy that Omaxe, Salus Pharma, Om Group and AutoVogue  were some of the corporate entities that lended support to the rally.The proceeds of the rally shall be utilized towards therapies, education and treatment of blind & special children. 

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