After years of pain that went unnoticed, there seems to be some relief for Kalawati Bandurkar and Shashikala Pingle. Both Kalawati and Shashikala hail from the killing fields of Vidarbha. They made national headlines when their plight was narrated by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi during the trust vote debate in Parliament last week.
Help has come from the Patna-based non-government agency, Sulabh International. It has offered Rs 25,000 every month for the next 20 years to Kalawati, a widow from Jalka, a sleepy village in Yavatmal district. Kalawati was facing hardship, along with her nine children, after her husband committed suicide three years ago due to crop failure and debts.
The organisation would fix a whooping amount of Rs 30 lakh next month so that she gets at least Rs 25,000 every month as interest. Sulabh International has adopted the family and ensured her livelihood, marriage of her daughters and the education of her children. Staging a dharna on Friday, Kalawati had threatened to end her life if she did not get any financial help from the government.
Besides, Nagpur Lok Sabha member and Union Minister for Renewal Energy Vilas Muttemwar had given two solar lanterns each to the families of Shashikala and Kalawati on Monday.
Earlier, in a rare gesture, Rahul Pugalia, son of former LS member from Chandrapur Naresh Pugalia, donated Rs 1.5 lakh to Shashikala for the education of her three sons.
Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, which has been documenting farmer suicides since 2001, said it was a good sign NGOs were coming forward to help crisis-ridden widows but added: “There isn’t just one Kalawati here. There are around 4,000 widows...”