An 84-year-old NRI based in Hoshiarpur for quite some time has set a new milestone in philanthropy by handing over a cheque for Rs 1 crore to the Red Cross here, in what is probably the largest amount given to the charity by an individual in one go.

Piare Lal Saini, who had moved to the UK in 1965 to work there in an industry, was impressed by the work being done by the charity and decided to donate his entire savings for the noble cause.  But before doing so, Saini thoroughly convinced himself that the amount won’t be misused. For this, he donated Rs 22 lakh earlier in smaller fractions over two years and ensured it was spent judiciously. Asked how he would meet his needs, Saini says the pension he has been drawing from the UK should be enough. “My wife passed away in 1989 and I have been living alone. My children are well-settled abroad and all of them supported my decision,” he says.  The grant he has given would be used for various welfare projects, including deformity-correction surgeries for foot, hand and cleft lip; funding studies of poor students, setting up a canteen for needy youth pursuing vocational courses and upgrading a Jan Aushadhi store. Besides, the dilapidated building of the Red Cross Society would be repaired and new gadgets bought for the physiotherapy centre, Naresh Gupta, Red Cross Society secretary, said. Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujjwal said Saini’s perhaps could be the biggest amount donated by any individual to the Red Cross in one go. “We are trying to verify it. But we are thankful to the man who selflessly chose to donate all his life’s savings. This will encourage more people to come forward to help the needy,” Ujjwal added.