Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sandipan Sinha:- About 3 hours journey approx 120 kms from the Steel City of Durgapur is situated the little known village of Sarenga under district Bankura, where the majority of population hail from the Tribal community( Santhals) living well below the poverty Line. Sarenga block in the district of Bankura in West Bengal is one of the most backward blocks in the State. The population basically hails from Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, small and marginalized communities. The inhabitants depend on agriculture (crop monsoon dependent) and on daily wage labour in the non–agricultural season for their livelihood. Other than these they some times depend on their home based business like poultry farming, bamboo basket making etc and leaf plat making.
On 21st September 2007 the Diocese of Durgapur started its first Cycle Rickshaw Van Project in the mainland of Sarenga by giving first vans to four men including Mr. Ashish Ree. The purpose of our service was to bring back the life of those untouched people of Sarenga to the standard living mark. Basically these men worked in the paddy field or in the crop harvesting and use to earn a very small wage. Other than these, few worked in the local cold storage and got only Rs.30/- per day which was merely a single meal cost per person per day. While few were engaged in the rickshaw van pulling which they had to hired from different owners for Rs. 30 or Rs. 40 per day. Today there are 12 persons namely Ramu Dulay, Khagan Dulay, Ranjit Ahir, Bhonath Chalak, Nepal Chalak, Swapan Lohar, Jeetan Lohar, Ujjal Das, Asish Ree, Kartik Dulay, Jakir Sekh & Sukhadev Das those who have received rickshaw vans from the project.
One such case is Mr. Swapan Lohar. He was a rickshaw van puller which he use to hire from a owner for Rs. 30 per day in order to earn a full day meal for his family. His family comprises of his mother, his wife Mrs. Bela Lohar who is a agricultural daily labour and his son Bapi Lohar who is ongoing student in the Sarenga Secondary School in class- VII. He was introduced in the project in the month of June 20th 2008 as a rickshaw van puller. Till date he has improved his life to much extend not only financially but has got sets of goal in his life. He has opened his personal bank account in Malubhum Bank, where he deposits his monthly income. Now a days he spends most of the time with his family and friends and rewinding his thoughts for renovating his house for better standard of living as his daily income is approx Rs.80 per day and deposits only Rs.5 in the project centre. His utmost desire is to send his only son for higher education in good school and later to college. Out of the depth of time we can recognize the pursuit of happiness in the faces of those who were taken into project by giving them rickshaw vans.
The Diocese started the Rickshaw Van Project at Sarenga on 21st September 2007 with only 4 rickshaw vans but slowly the number increased as more rickshaw vans came in, 3 on 22nd November 2007, 2 on 1st February 2008, 1 on 16th February 2008 & 2 on 20th June 2008, so all total 12 vans are running in the heart of Sarenga. Nita Pyne, the Project-In-Charge said that Rs.5 is taken from each rickshaw van puller which is deposited in the saving bank account opened specially for the project. The amount that they deposit would be saved for their future use like major repairs of the vans. It will also work as a loan bank for the group. Till the date 31st August 2009 Rs.26845 had been saved for the respective purpose in the Malubhum Bank Account in Sarenga. . It was reported by Ms. Pyne that the rickshaw van pullers are now planning to send their children to good school and also to the Sarenga Child Development Centre and taking a smooth move in the life to sustain the value of dignified citizen of India.