Monday, March 14, 2011

Farmers' widows get a helping hand-TIMES OF INDIA

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Farmers' widows get a helping hand

MUMBAI: Former director-general of police A N Roy, along with a few NGOs, on Monday embarked on a new mission to help the impoverished widows of farmers from Wardha and Yavatmal districts.

on Monday embarked on a new mission. Accompanied by nominees of a section of NGOs, Roy has now taken up the cause of the widows of farmers from the suicide-prone Wardha and Yavatmal districts.

"Certainly, it is a difficult task. We have drafted an ambitious rehabilitation plan for the widows. Financial assistance will be provided by the NGOs and also my own fund. On Monday, we handed over cheques of a nominal amount to 90 widows from Wardha district," Roy told TOI. He said by doing this, he was merely trying to understand the plight of framers in the Vidarbha region. "We are not claiming to rehabilitate all the farmers in distress, but our effort will at least take care of those widows who are now steeped in poverty," he added.

After a few NGOs and Bajaj Foundation conducted a survey in Yavatmal and Wardha, it was decided that a scheme should be drafted that would help the farmers' widows earn some extra money, besides what they get from their regular livelihood. "We identified new schemes for the widows.Our aim is to help these women start small businesses and we will provide them with the basic finance. The amount will be little, but it will be paid on a regular basis," Roy said. The former IPS official came up with the business proposal for the widows after some of the women themselves came forward with the idea, during one of his visits to the villages. "They want to open a grocery shop, a dairy unit or a tailoring shop. We appreciated their idea and a part of the funds has been given to them," he said.

Roy incidentally decided to work for these impoverished farmers and their families when he first took over the post of the DGP. During his first visit to Yavatmal, which had recorded the highest number of farmer suicides in the country, he had decided that after retirement, he would take up the cause of the widows. "Though not all the widows, but some of them will certainly be provided with a comprehensive rehabilitation plan," Roy added.

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