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Kerala realtor yet again marries off 20 girls

Saturday December 10, 2011 06:31:44 PM, IANS

Palakkad (Kerala): Middle East-based Keralite P.N.C. Menon, who heads the real estate Sobha Group, presided over 20 marriages here Saturday as part of his trust's yearly programme of sponsoring a community wedding for girls from poor families.

Menon has been undertaking the community marriages since 2003 as part of his company's corporate social responsibility programme. By now he has sponsored 331 marriages through the Sri Kurumba Trust where his wife and he are trustees.

Speaking to IANS, V.A.Gangadharan, who heads the group's social empowerment department, said the next round of marriages will take place in May 2012 when 20 more girls would be married off.

"The girls who come under this programme have to hail from the Vadakkenchery and Kizhakkenchery grama panchayats (of Palakkad district), which have been adopted by Menon. The financial position of the girls' families is assessed and then only are they selected," he said.

"The selection of the groom is the choice of the girl's parents. Menon gifts each couple four sovereigns of gold besides clothes, vessels and other basic things needed for a new family to begin their life," added Gangadharan.

Witnessing the marriage ceremony were leaders from all political parties and eminent persons of the area.

Set up in 1995, Sobha Developers is now a Rs.15 billion company and one of the largest and only real estate players integrating backwards in the country.

The 63-year-old Menon currently is based in Dubai but his first love has always been the upliftment of his adopted two villages.

Among his other major projects is an up-market public school here which now has 650 students.

"Admissions are given only to the lower kindergarten and all the expenses are met by Menon. Besides this school, he also runs a vocational training institute, a hospital and an old-age home," said Gangadharan.







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