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The Officer's Counsel

The Officer's Counsel

Author: Ullekh N.P.
Publication: India Today
Date: August 15, 2005
URL: http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20050815/offtrack.shtml

Introduction: A senior police officer keeps alive his son's memories by helping disadvantaged youth

In the Andamans on duty, U.N.B. Rao, an IPS officer, heard the heartbreaking news of the death of his 20-year-old son Urivi Vikram in a road accident in Delhi on December 13, 1990. Rao and his wife Chhaya were expecting their only son to visit them a few days later. The shattered Raos didn't lose faith in life and its mission. To keep alive their beloved son's memories, they started the Urivi Vikram Charitable Trust (UVCT) in 1991 to provide counselling and career guidance to disadvantaged youth in the age group of 13 to 21.

Fourteen years on, the UVCT supports itself with funds provided by friends of Rao, who is now joint commissioner of police, Delhi, and grants from the government and agencies such as unfpa. Under-achievers and school dropouts who seek help from the trust, which has nine centres across India, find it a sanctuary to get rid of the feeling of being losers. Rao, whose doctoral thesis at IIT Delhi was on policing and adolescents, says, "The number of young adults who gain confidence at our centres runs into several thousands."

"Most parents don't understand the trauma that a young adult goes through because of social, health and financial reasons," adds Rao, whose efforts contributed to the formation of a subgroup by the Planning Commission on adolescents, in which the UVCT is a member besides another subgroup set up by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs to chart out programmes for adolescents.

Apart from holding youth awareness seminars and career melas, the UVCT also runs career-oriented programmes called Project Prerana, Project Shakti and Project Sahara. It is setting up the Urivi Vikram National Centre for Adolescents to broaden the scope of its activities.

Rao, who received the President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service this year, observes strict silence on the question of how he finds time to do all the work he does. But his wife will tell you that he sleeps less than four hours a day, managing his busy life as a police officer and a social worker.

On the terrace of his residence, where plants flaunt a green smile in Delhi's heat, the 60-year-old Rao, a qualified geologist, looks up to the skies and hopes that more people, including corporate heads, take note of his work and offer positions to those young adults who return from the depths of utter despair and failure with a winning smile.

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