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“मुझे यकीन है कि भारत के सभी राज्यों का प्रतिनिधित्व करने वाले ऐथ्लीट इन पैरा खेलों में भाग लेने के बाद जीवन के सभी क्षेत्रों में बेहतर प्रदर्शन करने के एक मजबूत संकल्प के साथ लौटेंगे,” claimed the Hon’ble Minister of State of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Labour and Employment Rameswar Teli while attending the Closing Ceremony of the fourth Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) Para Games in Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi on 4 August 2022.

Hon’ble Minister of State of Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli during his address at the Closing Ceremony of 4<sup>th</sup> ONGC Para Games Hon’ble Minister of State of Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli during his address at the Closing Ceremony of 4th ONGC Para Games

The Minister of State went ahead to mention that, “हमारे सभी सार्वजनिक क्षेत्र के उद्यमों का यह प्रयास रहा है कि दिव्यांग कर्मचारियों की संख्या भारत सरकार के जनादेश के अनुसार हो और महिला एवं पुरुष कर्मचारियों की समान भागीदारी हो। विश्व स्तर पर भारत दुनिया भर में पैरालंपिक आयोजनों में एक महत्वपूर्ण राष्ट्र के रूप में उभरा है। टोक्यो पैरालंपिक में भारत ने 5 स्वर्ण, 8 रजत और 6 कांस्य पदक सहित कुल 19 पदक जीते।”

The Closing Ceremony was attended by ONGC CMD & Director (HR) Dr. Alka Mittal, ONGC Director (Technology & Field Services) O P Singh, Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar, Director (Finance) Pomila Jaspal, IOCL Director (HR) R K Mohapatra, and P.S. to the State Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Dr. Dhrubasish K. Deka. The dignitaries were there at the Closing Ceremony to cheer the participants and distribute medals to winners, along with the Minister of State.

Minister of State of Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli felicitating para athlete Manasi Joshi from BPCL along with other dignitaries Minister of State of Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli felicitating para athlete Manasi Joshi from BPCL along with other dignitaries

A total of 267 specially-abled employees from eight central oil and gas public enterprises closely contested in the 4th ONGC Para Games, that was organized by ONGC during 2-4 August 2022. 192 of the athletes were from ONGC, where winners received Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in each of the events. In 2017, ONGC first organized the Para Games to foster inclusiveness for its specially-abled employees. To widen the scope of the games, ONGC roped in athletes from IOCL, BPCL, HPCL, EIL, OIL and GAIL to be part of the 3rd edition of ONGC Para Games at Gandhinagar in 2019. In the current edition, seven other public enterprises participated in the Para Games, including IOCL (21), GAIL (15), BPCL (13), MRPL (11), EIL (9), OIL (8) and HPCL (6).

The Petroleum Minister of State expressed admiration for  ONGC’s special Human Resources initiative and mentioned how approaches like these allow players avenues of connecting and competing with each other, while creating a strong support system that benefits not only their respective organizations, but also the nation. While congratulating ONGC’s top management for organizing such events, the Minister of State appreciated the support that other public sector undertakings provided in this endeavour which will be instrumental in organizing similar initiatives in the future.

With gender inclusivity and social upliftment in mind, the 4th ONGC Para Games witnessed 35% female and 45 % male participation out of the total 63 female and 366 male employees in ONGC. The Para Games witnessed a total of 78 events, including Badminton, Table Tennis, Races (100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, and 2 km), Long Jump and Discus Throw.

Winners from the oil & gas sector strike a pose Winners from the oil & gas sector strike a pose

In her welcome address at the 4th Para Games, ONGC CMD Dr. Mittal said, “The presence of each of you gives strength to our sincere efforts to foster inclusiveness in all walks of our lives, be it towards gender equality or inclusiveness of our employees with different abilities. In ONGC, we provide equal opportunity to all, whether it is either field and operational assignments to women employees at Onshore, Offshore or assignments abroad or giving chances to specially-abled employees for extreme adventure like mountaineering.”

Congratulating all the para athletes for coming all the way from different parts of the country, Dr. Mittal stated that, “During these Para Games, all athletes have given each other a tough and healthy competition, showing a great level of professionalism, sportsman spirit and maturity in overcoming challenges in lives.”

ONGC has been organizing the Para Games on an international format with the help of the Paralympic Committee of India. In the first edition of Para Games held in 2017, 120 ONGC PwD employees participated in games like athletics, badminton, table tennis and wheelchair race.  Since then, the participation and the diversity of the games have progressively increased. In 2019, ONGC roped in the participation of other companies from the Indian oil and gas sector in the Para Games. A significant number of para-athletes participating in the ONGC Para Games have brought laurels to India in Paralympics as well.

Petroleum Minister of State Rameswar Teli interacting with the para athletes Petroleum Minister of State Rameswar Teli interacting with the para athletes

While presenting the Games Report, GGM Head Coordination KS Randhawa mentioned that the athletes were divided into different categories such as Orthopedically Handicapped with Upper limb or Lower Limb, Hearing & Speech Impaired, Visual Impaired with Low Vision or No Vision, Wheel Chair category, with further gender and age wise divisions.

The renowned global prosthetic and orthosis company Ottobock based in Germany was also engaged to address any problems that the athletes might have in relation to artificial limbs. For ease of understanding, ONGC also took the assistance of sign language interpreters for aiding hearing impaired athletes.