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Surprisingly, the skies were clear, without a drop of rain. In a warm August morning in New Delhi, enthusiastic faces geared up in Thyagaraj Stadium. The athletes, their escorts, families, and students have been waiting with bated breath to celebrate possibilities of human spirit, and resilience. While others seemed to be reflecting over many equipment, and arrangements all around were being double-checked. Clearly something big was up. So big that the Organizing Committee was found running helter-skelter to make the appropriate arrangements. Nothing should be amiss.

Fig01 Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri declaring the 4th ONGC Para Games 2022 open in Thyagaraj Stadium

Cut to almost couple of hours later, the dais was decorated with dignitaries. With a flourish sometime later, the Hon’ble Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurated the fourth Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) Para Games in Thyagaraj Sports Complex in Delhi on 2 August 2022. The air was charged with just the right dose of hope and excitement.

The Inaugural Ceremony saw the participation of CMD & Director (HR), ONGC, Dr. Alka Mittal, Chairman, IOCL, S M Vaidya, MD, OVL, Rajarshi Gupta, Director (Exploration), ONGC, R K Srivastava, Director (T&FS), ONGC, O P Singh, Director (Onshore), ONGC, Anurag Sharma, Director (Finance), ONGC, Pomila Jaspal, Director (HR), IOCL, R K Mohapatra,  Director (HR), EIL, A K Kalra and P.S. to the Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Rasaal Dwivedi.

Despite the Monsoon session of the Indian Parliament being in full swing, Minister Puri enthusiastically participated in the Inaugural Ceremony. He said, “We want to celebrate all of you. Your determination and willpower are really worth celebrating. Inclusivity is vital to nation building, which our Hon’ble Prime Minister also emphasizes. The 4th edition of ONGC Para Games gives us that message.” Offering his best wishes for the event, he said, “May the Para Games become grander with time, and continue to inspire us all.”

Fig01 One for the album

Congratulating ONGC for its efforts, he mentioned that, “Enabling specially-abled to constructively contribute to Petroleum Industry is vital for our economy. ONGC has always taken the lead in championing holistic development of all segments of Human Resources.” Appreciating the leadership of ONGC CMD Dr Alka Mittal, Petroleum Minister stated that, “I am pleased that oil and gas Public Sector Undertakings have taken up the cause social upliftment, including the specially-abled.” Emphasizing on the need of equal opportunity for all genders, he upheld that, “I am sure that these three days will enable the participants to enrich their resolve.”

In one of the riskiest industries of India, 275 specially-abled employees from eight central oil and gas public enterprises are participating in the 4th ONGC Para Games being held during 2-4 August 2022. With the host being India’s Energy Maharatna ONGC, it is not a surprise to see an impressive number of 192 ONGCians among the participants. They are all being led by Kargil war hero, Captain Satendra Sangwan, whose spirit is an inspiration to many.

“The ONGC Para Games is a wonderful platform to bring in inclusiveness and equity in the human resource of the public enterprises under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas,” claimed ONGC CMD Dr Alka Mittal in her opening remarks. She wished everyone the very best, and said, “In the E&P sector, we are known for a tough work life and resilience. Here, in front of us, we have participants who have grown up with challenges, and are now contributing to the petroleum sector. Hats off to the participants.” A special Human Resources initiative, the ONGC Para Games is devoted to providing equal opportunities to specially-abled employees in all walks of corporate life.

Fig01 Fostering Inclusiveness, ONGC Para Games celebrates human conviction

Dr Mittal claimed that, “Our intent is to contribute in the holistic development of the Human Resources of the public enterprises, who are our most valuable asset, in the pursuit of Energy.” ONGC conceptualized and started the Para Games in the year 2017 to mainstream the specially-abled persons on their rolls. Since the third grand edition of the ONGC Para Games in 2019 at Gandhinagar, ONGC roped in athletes from IOCL, BPCL, HPCL, EIL, OIL and GAIL to widen the scope of the games. With seven other public enterprises participating in the current fourth edition, ONGC is proud is 21 athletes from Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), 15 from Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), 13 from Bharat Petroleum (BPCL), 11 from Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL), 9 from Engineers India Limited (EIL), 8 from Oil India (OIL), and 6 from Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL).

After the ONGC Para Games were declared open, Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri interacted with the Para Athletes from, along with ONGC CMD Dr Alka Mittal. ONGC has been organizing the Para Games on an international format since 2017 with the help of the Paralympic Committee of India. In the very first edition, 120 ONGC specially-abled employees participated in games like athletics, badminton, table tennis and wheelchair race.  Since then, the participation and the diversity of the games have only progressively increased. With an exception to the coronavirus pandemic where two digital editions of ‘Mosaic’ were organized after being conceptualized by CMD Dr. Mittal. As a matter of great pride for ONGC and the nation, many of the para-athletes participating in the ONGC Para Games have brought glory to India in Paralympics as well. The Inaugural was compered by HR Executives Goma Rai, who is a para athlete herself, and Ankita Sharma.

Fig01 Minister Puri interacting with the para athletes along with CMD Dr Mittal