HUMAN TRAGEDY: Home and pension to stop baby sale – having babies is no small responsibility ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Malda, Nov. 3: The District magistrate of Malda today announced special monthly pension and a house for the woman who was found trying to sell two of her five children to find means for her ailing husband and to feed her family.
The Telegraph reported today the plight of Samaira Bibi, a resident of Mahisbathani in Old Malda.
Project director of the district rural development cell Suman Halder visited the ramshackle hut of the woman, 15km from here, for inspection at the instance of district magistrate Pramal Kumar Samanta.
In his report to the district magistrate, Halder confirmed that Samaira’s 47-year-old husband, Ajijul Haque, was too ill to work. She lived with her 72-year-old mother-in-law Phulsan Bewa, three minor daughters and two sons, the report said.
The family holds a BPL card and a health insurance card. According to official sources, possessing BPL cards do not guarantee the poor a square meals a day. Samaira and her husband have BPL cards but are not covered under any poverty alleviation projects.
Samanta said he had asked officials concerned to provide succour to the hapless family.
While the district food controller has been asked to supply rice to the family at Rs 2 per kg, the social welfare department has been instructed to pay a monthly family pension of Rs 750. A house will be built for the family under the Indira Awas Yojna.
The block medical officer has been asked to provide free treatment to 47-year-old Haque, while a gratuitous relief of Rs 120 will be given to the family per month.
Samaira told this correspondent: “Administrative officials had met me this morning. They have assured me all kinds of help. I have explained to them that we do not have any able-bodied men in our family to earn breads.”
“Poverty has compelled me to think of selling off my two children — a five-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son at Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively,” Samaira said.
In Malda district, Rs 1.3 crore meant for the State Action against Hunger and Inequality (Sahai) has been lying unutilised.
In July this year, another resident of the block, Myno Baske, was searching for buyers for her children. She did not have a BPL card.
Push for tribal birth control – Dispur plans job and cash rewards – Does Bengal need this plan most ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY DAULAT RAHMAN
Guwahati, Nov. 3: Dispur is considering job and money incentives to draw the state’s tribal population to family planning schemes, which they have long resisted, fearing extinction.
The state trainer-cum- nodal officer for male and female sterilisation programmes, Ilias Ali, said the percentage of sterilisation in tribal-dominated districts was very low because of unfounded fears.
“The issue was even raised in the Assam Assembly by some tribal MLAs and they demanded that the family planning schemes must not be extended to tribal areas in the state. Initially, such demand put the health department in a fix. Finally, the department decided to adopt innovative schemes to motivate and convince the tribal communities about the necessity of having small families,” Ali said.
The indigenous communities, popularly known as “sons of the soil”, comprise over 15 per cent of the total population of Assam.
“The tribals have assumed that their population is declining fast because of their assimilation with the mainstream society and various other external influences. A majority of them has developed prejudiced mindsets that they would become extinct if they went for family planning. So we are initially trying to bring the leaders of the communities, social and literary organisations, political leaders, intellectuals and the public under a single roof to remove all misgivings,” he said.
Ali said a huge public rally was held in Karbi Anglong district on November 1, highlighting the dangers of population explosion and the benefits of family planning programmes.
He said the meeting bore fruit and eight men underwent no-scalpel vasectomy sterilisation surgeries.
Such meetings will be held in all tribal areas once a week in the presence of eminent personalities from the communities.
“We will engage experts and scholars to convince the tribal populace in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills about how population explosion will have an adverse impact on their ecology and bio-diversity. A huge chunk of forest resources in the twin hill districts has been destroyed by people only for their livelihood. Films will be screened on how more such destruction will take place if the population continues to rise,” the official said.
He said the health department has also tied up with the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council and Bodoland Territorial Council to stage drama and street plays and conduct seminars and counselling sessions in villages, colleges and schools to sensitise all age groups of the tribal population about the importance of family planning.
“The communities will be convinced that birth control would not push them to extinction,” Ali said.
“The government has agreed in principle to provide job reservation and other monetary incentives for tribal families who adopt family planning methods,” he added.
Stench leads to sisters’ bodies – abandoned and desperate in a Bengal system with no empathy ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Balurghat, Nov. 3: Bodies of two sisters were found at their residence in Patiram today and police and relatives suspect that the siblings, depressed over their financial condition, had committed suicide about two weeks ago.
Two empty bottles of phenyl were found beside the decomposed bodies of Rumki Choudhury, 32, and her sister Bubu, 26, at their two-storied house in the Tahbazar area of Patiram, 16km from here.
“Most of the time they used to confine themselves to the house. This morning, a foul smell came out from the house,” said Sona Saha, a resident of the area.
“Initially, we thought that the stench was coming from the market where several fish and meat shops were located. As the day wore on, the odour became intolerable, prompting us to hunt for its source. At the end, we found that the smell was emanating from the second floor of the house. We broke the door and to our utter horror found the totally decomposed bodies were lying on the floor,” he said.
Saha, who was one of the residents who informed police, said they had no inkling that the stench was coming from the bodies.
Biswanath Saha, another resident of the area, said the women were hardly seen outside the house since their parents Pradyut Choudhury and Mukti had died about seven years ago. Choudhury was a fertiliser dealer. “Two-three days before Puja, the sisters had a tiff and since then they remained indoors mostly,” Saha said.
Sanchalika one of the siblings of the two who got married to a local trader, said her sisters had been suffering from depression for their present condition, as they didn’t have any source of steady income. “Perhaps, this led them to commit suicide.”
Shantanu Kowar, the inspector-in-charge of Balurghat police station, said: “Two empty bottles of phenyl were found beside the bodies. Preliminary investigation suggests that the two had committed suicide by consuming poison about two weeks back. The bodies have been sent for post-mortem.”