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India Center Opens in Shrewsbury

Anil Saigal

The opening of the India Center is a dream come true for the India Society of Worcester, which envisioned building the community center nearly twenty-five years ago. Attended by over two hundred people, the "Griha Pravesh" held on Sunday, February 8, 2004 was the culmination of the efforts of the volunteers who had put endless hours to make the community center a reality.

It was in the 1970's that a group of people came up with the idea of building a community center. The 5-acre plot of land at the intersection of I-290 and Main Street in Shrewsbury was purchased in 1991. It cost nearly $650K to build the new India Center. The community center was made possible due to the generosity of several people. Vicky and Subu Kota made the largest donation of $100K. Other major donors were Kalpana and Ravi Acharya, Caroline and Sahdev Passey, Sarla and C.S.P Patel, Avinash Patwardhan and Keshav Pandey. As of today, ISW has raised $500K and thanks to the Commonwealth National Bank, they were able to obtain a loan of $150K to complete the construction and open the center to the public.

The India Center has 4,500 sq. ft of floor space with a built-in pre-wired sound system and includes a 1,800 sq. ft. community hall, a kitchen and 6 classrooms for Sunday school. In addition, there is an outdoor picnic area and parking space for more than 100 cars. The management of the center is done by the ISW executive committee. Currently Pradeep Sharma (President), Rajiv Dayal (Treasurer), Neena Mohanka (Public Relations), Suresh Gupta (Chair - Religious Programs), Satya Mitra (Chair - Fundraising) and Subu Kota (Chair of Board of Directors) serve on the committee.

Lokvani spoke to Satya Mitra, who is serving his third term as the Chair of the Fundraising Committee. "My goal is to raise $150K in the next two months and pay off the loan so that the India Center is debt free on the day of dedication ceremony on April 17, 2004. We plan to raise this money by requesting 150 families to come forward and pledge $1,000 each," said Satya. "This will not only free us of debt but it will also provide a firm footing in the society for us and the Indian generations to come."

The Griha Pravesh was conducted by Mr. Subba Rao Kompela, founder of Soundarya Lahiri, who performed the Ganesh Puja and Havan. Lunch for the attendees was catered by Milan Restaurant.

The naming options for India Center that are still available include the school wing, music system, and classroom furnishings or be a Diamond, Gold, Silver or Bronze level donor to be on the Donor's Board. Also if you are looking to hold a family or community get-together, India Center facilities are available to the general public for a nominal rent.

On behalf of Lokvani and the Indian Community, we congratulate the members of ISW who have made this India Center a reality.

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Vicky Kota, C.S.P. Patel, Satya Mitra and Sahdev Passey

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