The drought situation in Maharashtra is the worst seen in the last 40 years. About 15 thousand villages in 18 districts of Maharashtra are facing severe drought situation presently. Huge migration has already started from rural areas in search of drinking water and livelihood-employment options . Government and few private initiatives are trying to extend the various types of support. But people find no hope in such bleak dark situations. A Ray of Hope emerged from last layer of our society.
Mr. Bal Bothe, Editor of Daily Sakal A.Nagar, received help from victim women for Sakal Relief Fund for Drought
All victim women in prostitution of Ahmednagar district gathered for a meeting in the Rehab. Center of Snehalaya on March 13th 2013. They discussed the drought situation. Meena Shinde is a trustee of Snehalaya and director of Snehalaya's Snehjyot project for the victim women in prostitution. Meena had appealed in the meeting that ,"We always fight for our fundamental rights. We have fought for life with dignity - right of work, equality, etc. At the same time we must perform our duties as true citizens of India. Let's contribute for our brothers and sisters facing drought." Manda Tai Pol and Jaya Tai Jogdand came forward and supported her proposal. These women decided to contribute Rs. 1 lac from all victim women in prostitution. They immediately contributed their one night earning without any hesitation. They all went to the office of Daily Sakal. They contributed Rs.15213/- as a first installment to the "Sakal Relief Fund for Drought" which shows their deep concern for the needy people. They have also assured to donate remaining amount within 1 month. This would set an example for the people in society.
Snehalaya has always encouraged these women to perform their duties as citizens of India. These victim women have always contributed their daily/weekly earnings to the man-made or natural disasters like for victims of earthquakes in Marathwada and Gujrat, cyclone in Orissa, Tsunami, rains in Ladakh, floods in Kosi -Bihar, Mumbai riots and bomb blasts, and other 13 critical situations.
Their contributions have always inspired many other civil citizens & govt. officials to support our own countrymen/women facing difficulties.
Work on Drought
Snehalaya family has started working on drought situations. On the constructive front, we are appealing people to organize the marriages and other social gatherings with a simple informal manner and contribute possible amount to drought relief funds through trusted institutions and media groups. Also raised such appeals at Marriage halls.
Most of the migrated families are shifted in slums where we are trying to give them reference of work on our credit. Snehalaya runs educational support & women empowerment program in 8 major slums of Ahmednagar city & at Katraj of Pune which named as Balbhawan. Aurangabad, Beed and Usmanabad districts of Marathwada region are on borders of Ahmednagar district. Hence there is huge migration ration from these districts to Ahmednagar.
We are also keeping a close watch on their children to protect them from antisocial-criminal tendencies. We have announced a scheme for college-going students that they can get free food and shelter during exam periods if they originate from droughtful rural areas. Association of Ahmednagar Manufacturer's Association (AAMI) is an authorized organization of the industrialists which is also a sister concern organization of Snehalaya. On appeal made by Snehalaya, AAMI has donated 35 water tanks costing more than 5 lacs for 'Animal Camps' in drought-affected region.
On the other front, Snehalaya is fighting a battle against the Sand Mafias. The huge sand smuggling from the Pravara-Godawari-Mula-Ghod -Seena and other rivers affected the low ground level of water. It is also one of the major reasons of drought in some parts. Sand Mafias get support from political leaders/ministers/revenue officials. Snehalaya, under the banner of "Swayansevi Sansthancha Mahasangh," a group of NGOs in Ahmednagar, started a 24 x 7 Helpline for stopping sand smuggling. People are informing us day and night about sand lifting. We have established links with Dr.Sanjeev Kumar Dayal, District Collector of Ahmednagar. He has ordered about on-the-spot raids in such cases. We have also given a list of sand mafias to income tax and sales tax dept. Last week, we demonstrated in front of their offices for not applying their authority and duty against sand mafias. All these efforts have almost stopped the sand smuggling in the district.
All these efforts require very small expense, but a will to work with our capacity. This calamity is also an opportunity to convince people of the value of each drop of water and importance of protecting and grooming the environment and all natural resources.
Let's come forward to serve our society & nature. Jai Hind!