Read Stories

X

This doctor couple provides food and medical care to over 1000 people

Madhuri was in class 9 when she became friends with Bharadwaj. They traveled from their villages every day to Aligarh. She went to her school, while he went to college. In the bus, they discussed a topic unusual for two teenagers from two small villages in Uttar Pradesh. They talked about their shared dream – a meaningful life, dedicated to helping those in need. They planned to be partners in this venture.Eight years later, they were married and ready to work on their dream. They both became doctors and would bring the abandoned sick people from the streets into their homes. They went a step further, and announced to their shocked families that they would not have children. All this, for an idea hatched when you were children, the family said. Undeterred, they continued.Finally, seven years later, they established 'Maa Madhuri Brij Varis Sewa Sadan, Apna Ghar' on June 29, 2000, on Madhuri's 27th birthday in Bharatpur, Rajasthan. Today, Apna Ghar helps over 4,000 people in their 17 homes around north India. These are helpless, sick people on the streets, who have nobody else. How it startedFor Bharadwaj, it started when he was 5 and anguished at the death of 85-year-old Chiranjee Baba in his village. Chiranjee Baba had never married and lived alone in the village. He grazed everyone's cattle, and in return was fed and clothed. When he fell and injured himseslf, no one came to help him. Eventually, in a month, his wounds festered and he died. “It's not that nobody wanted to help him. Everyone did. But they held back from taking responsibility, afraid it would fall on their plates. People will help, if someone takes responsibility and shows the others how they can help,” says Bharadwaj. Too young at the time, he remembers wanting to help, but being wary of Chiranji Baba's sickness. This unease slowly changed into a determination to help the sick and to be able to act and save lives. In Madhuri, he found an echo of his own mission. They both became doctors because they felt that this was how they could best serve the needy. Today, Apna Ghar takes in any one who needs medical help, be it a child, an adult or even animal. Those that are sick and seem to be without any succour on the streets are referred to Apna Ghar. “Everybody who comes here is Prabhuji (God), because they are here to teach us how to be good people,” says Madhuri. The reference to divinity has evolved because of the challenges that the couple managed to overcome. Every morning, the caretaker writes Thakurji ki Chitthi or a letter to God. In the letter are all the things needed immediately by the Ashram. It is also put on a board where any visitor can see it. “All the 17 homes put together, we have a daily expense of Rs 4 lakhs. But it all gets taken care of. We write the Thakurji ki chitthi, and some or the other kind visitor decides help us out and cover one more day. It is God's will,” says Bharadwaj. A rescued and rehabilitated familyBoth founders firmly believe it is God's work and that is the force easing their path. And the NGO has overcome insurmountable odds. Naresh Jain, the landlord of Apna Ghar Delhi asked for a rent of Rs 3 lakhs per month for his property. One visit to Bharatpur, changed his heart and he wrote of their rent for ever. He simply handed over the keys to Bharadwaj and walked away. Every day, beings are rescued from the streets, brought to the house and given medical attention. If someone requires more specialised help, that patient is taken to the right doctor and treated. Over time, they are rehabilitated, and if possible reunited with their families.“Our Prabhujis come from various backgrounds. Many of them are from well-to-do families, who have temporarily lost their mental balance. Many are also abandoned by their families. We take everyone in and do what we can do,” says Madhuri.A home that runs on inspirationThis couple's focus and dedication is what keeps Apna Ghar going. Even the government, that grants funds only to NGOs for men, women or children and not all three, made an exception and gave them funds to help with their good work.These two doctors have chosen a noble path to help the really vulnerable, and they need support funding these medical expenses. Your contribution will help Apna Ghar work another day.Source: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/apnagharbharatpur
Show More

In Just 3 Hours Of Rain, Chennai Apartment Collects 1 Lakh Litres Of Water

The residents of a Chennai apartment complex have evinced the effectiveness of systematic rainwater harvesting by collecting around 1,00,000 litres of water in just three hours of rain.Fifty-six apartments in four blocks of Sabari Terrace Complex in Sholinganallur participated in the rainwater harvesting drive-by channelising the rain pipes from their terraces into an underground sump or reservoir with an enormous storage capacity of 1 lakh litres. Beyond the expectations of the residents, the sump filled up to the brim in just a span of three days – from October 29 to October 31 – when the city registered a total rainfall of around three hours. “Till now, we have been able to collect a total of 6 lakh litres in near about two weeks,” Harsha Koda, secretary of Sabari Terrace Residents’ Association, informs The Logical Indian. The prevalent problemThe city of Chennai has been predominantly dependent on groundwater, whose levels are facing depletion due to unplanned usage. Hence, it is now mandated for all builders to compulsorily include rainwater recharge pits, at least two in every apartment complex. “Reality is, in most of the apartments, the builders dump construction waste into these pits. So, they cannot be used for rainwater harvesting,” shares Harsha Koda.In the case of Sabari Terrace Apartments, around 300 residents of fifty-six quarters, mostly comprising the young IT professionals, were entirely dependent on water supplied by private tanks, both for drinking and household purposes. “In a day, the water usage summed up to 40,000 litres while the expenditure on water added up to Rs. 1 Lakh per month. The wastewater used to be carried to the nearest treatment plant and our gardens were sprayed with the recycled water,” shares Koda.About the projectKoda tells, “Since the last few years, Chennai has started receiving considerable rainfall in June-July as well, apart from the usual rains from Diwali to Pongal.” Thus, the plan for the massive RWH network has been on the cards for quite some time. But, it was not easy to persuade the residents to contribute for the RWH project, mainly because they were already spending a hefty amount on water. Harsha Koda and his wife Prabha Koda has been the main crusaders of rainwater harvesting since 2017 when they started constructing different RWH structures in phases, to convince the sceptical residents. Incidentally, the design for the network of pipes leading to the sump was conceptualised by Prabha Koda, with guidance from Dr Sekhar Raghvan of Rain Centre.Explaining the structure to The Logical Indian, Harsha Koda, shared that the entire mechanism operates in two phases. In the first phase, the rain pipes from terraces of the four blocks of apartments carry the rainwater into two tanks where sedimentation takes place, clearing the run-off water from dirt particles. These tanks deposit the water into the 1 lakh-litre underground sump which comprises the second phase. The water is then routed towards a treatment plant, where it is recycled and rendered safe for use, followed by pumping to individual flats.Repleting the declining groundwater levelsThe Sabari Terrace sump also ensures the rise in the groundwater levels in the area. Four rain pipes originate from four corners each terrace, out of which three are connected to the sump network while the fourth one drains the water into soak pits meant for recharging the groundwater table. In fact, sometimes excess water from the sump is also diverted towards the soak pits using valves.Accounting the expenditure for the project, Koda reveals that out of the total Rs 2.5 Lakh spent over a year, water worth Rs 50,000 have already been recovered. The residents admit that the project has sufficiently minimised their dependence on water purchased from tankers. Maintenance is a must“I should definitely acknowledge the amazing efforts by our housekeeping team who sweeps all the terraces clean every day, ensuring we get crystal clear rainwater in the reservoir.We clean our pipes and storage tanks every 60-90 days,” reveals Koda.The Logical Indian takeAt a time when water crisis is a pressing problem all over India, including rain-rich tropical areas, rainwater harvesting can be an effective countermeasure. However, the absence of proper know-how and planning leads to the ineffectiveness of many RWH projects. The example set by Sabari Terrace residents can be replicated by other citizen associations. The Logical Indian appreciates this initiative undertaken by Chennai citizens and wishes more people realises its importance.Source: https://thelogicalindian.com/environment/sabari-terrace-rainwater/
Show More

This Indore IAS officer has a solution for India’s garbage problem

As several parts of the country continue to struggle with India’s humungous garbage problem, an IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh has managed to clear over 13 lakh tonnes of refuse in just six months in the city of Indore.A 2010-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, Asheesh Singh, was appointed as the municipal commissioner of the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) in May 2018.He says that he turned to address the problem as even after four years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, the process of clearing a 100-acre dumpsite in Indore was moving at a snail’s pace.“In two years, only about 2 lakh tonnes of garbage was cleared,” Singh told ThePrint.Soon after he was appointed as the municipal commissioner, Singh identified the problem: The high cost of clearance.Under the previous model, the government had outsourced the task to private agencies, which were charging Rs 475 per cubic metre. The whole task would have cost over Rs 60-65 crore, and taken a painfully long time to conclude.Finally, when Singh managed to clear the dumpsite, no more than Rs 10 crore was spent on the entire process.“When we realised that the problem was of funding, we decided to rent machines for bio-mining instead of outsourcing the whole process,” Singh said. “The machines were rented to us at a cost of Rs 7 lakh per machine per month.”“We operated the machine for 14-15 hours daily using our own resources, and within six months, 13 lakhs of garbage was cleared,” he added.The processBio-mining refers to the process of segregating waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable segments, and according to Singh, is “a proven technology” and has been used extensively in Indore.“The problem was only in the model of funding… Once that was sorted out, the process was wound up within six months,” he said.The worth of the land reclaimed by the government is about Rs 400 crore and will now be developed into a golf course.The Indore civic body, meanwhile, is using wet waste to produce methane gas — which is being used for public buses in the city — and compost, which is given to farmers for agricultural and horticultural use, Singh said. The dry waste is used for recycling.It is a model that is bound to be adopted across India, Singh said. “100 per cent, we will move from the per acre model to the rent model across India.”The municipal commissioner of Chandigarh is already in touch with Singh in this regard. “Chandigarh pays Rs 750 per cubic metre for clearance right now, which is very high,” Singh said. “So they are interested in the Indore model and we have shared our tender document with them.”According to him, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing at the Centre too has shown interest in adopting this model throughout India.Source: https://theprint.in/india/governance/this-indore-ias-officer-has-a-solution-for-indias-garbage-problem/178668/amp/
Show More

Kaziranga’s circle of life: How forest department, vets and villagers join hands to fight flood fury

With 95 per cent of the World Heritage Site submerged and thousands of animal struggling to say afloat, meet the bunch of people who dive in to save the day.Since the floods struck Assam on July 8, CWRC located at Borjuli Tiniali, around 7 kms from Bokakhat town, is the only place in Kaziranga where injured or orphaned animals are treated. (Source: IFAW/WTI)To evade the rising water level in Kaziranga National Park (KNP), a female adult rhino along with her four-year-old calf had embarked on the treacherous journey to the Karbi Hills. However, she missed a step and fell 500 feet below to her death.“The incident happened in an area called Hatikhuli. The rhino got stuck between two big rocks. When we reached, it was stressed out and panting heavily. Soon, it died. It was heartbreaking to see the calf just 500 meters away from the mother’s carcass,” says Dr Samshul Ali, Veterinarian at Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation jointly run by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Assam Forest Department and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).Ali has had a busy day. After the Hatikhuli incident in the morning, he got a call from Haldibari, where a rhino calf drowned to death. Then in a third case at Salmara, his team rescued a rhino calf and brought it to CWRC in the evening for further treatment.A female adult rhino along with her four-year-old calf had embarked on the treacherous journey to the Karbi Hills. However, she missed a step and fell 500 feet below to her death. (Source: IFAW/WTI) Among the animals which have died, there are 38 hogThe veterinarian — who has worked with animals for seven years — has not gone home for the last four days.Preparing For the DelugeSince the floods struck Assam on July 8, CWRC located at Borjuli Tiniali, around 7 kms from Bokakhat town, is the only place in Kaziranga where injured or orphaned animals are treated. Since its inception in 2002, the centre has handled around 4,500 cases and has released 60 per cent of the animals back to the wild.Many in Kaziranga refer to the annual flood as the ‘necessary devil’ which bolsters the Park’s eco-system every year. At the same time, it also threatens the lives of the park’s prized biodiversity. In such a scenario, an intrepid bunch of people from the forest department, CWRC, fringe villages, NGOs and civil administration join hands to save these helpless animals.deers, five rhinos, one elephant, three sambars and four wild boars. (Source: IFAW/WTI)The forest department plans well in advance to counter the calamity. P Sivakumar, Director of KNP says, “We start preparing for flood right after Bihu. We hold meetings with the police, civil administration, NGOs, local villagers on counter-strategies. We carry out health check-ups of our frontline staff, ensure that drinking water facilities are in place in the camps.”With 85 per cent of the park submerged now, boats are the prime mode of transport for the department. Sivakumar informs that there are more than 200 country boats in the camps along with 11 speed boats or bhotbhotis. There are also 50-60 vehicles inside the park. However, it is the huge manpower of KNP which helps to execute every plan on the ground efficiently. Rohini Saikia, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), KNP says, “Nearly 1800 people are working day in and day out during flood to save our wildlife. Among them, 1400 are our own staff and rest are volunteers, eco-development committees, NGOs and villagers.”Vehicles speeding through NH-37 have contributed significantly to the number of casualty of animals this year. As per forest department reports, 12 animals including 11 hog deer and one sambar have been killed in road accident during flood so far.Saikia says, “We have the system of time card issued to drivers passing through the park. Many drivers caught driving above the speed limit of 40 km/h, have been fined Rs 50,000.”Survival of FittestThe official death toll in the park at the time of writing this report is 51. However, the park officials maintain that once water starts receding, many more carcasses might be found.Among the animals which have died, there are 38 hog deers, five rhinos, one elephant, three sambars and four wild boars. On casualty among hog deers being highest, Dr Panjit Basumatary of the CWRC says, “There are more than 30,000 hog deers in the park. With their population being so high, so will the death toll. Also, they are nervous animals which make them more prone to danger.”But which are the ones that survive and why?“Survival of the fittest,” explains Sivakumar referring to Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, “The unhealthy animals get eliminated first. Fit animals generally survive unless it is very high flood.”The Mantra of RescueAbout 33 new highlands constructed by the forest department along with the earlier 111 ones have played a major role in reducing the number of casualties. “However, not every animal use highlands. They are mainly used by rhinos and hog deers. Elephants and tigers mostly avoid it. In fact, a tiger has been spotted taking shelter on the rooftop of a house in Moabari”, says Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, a veterinarian working for WTI.Many in Kaziranga refer to the annual flood as the ‘necessary devil’ which bolsters the Park’s eco-system every year. At the same time, it also threatens the lives of the park’s prized biodiversity. (Source: IFAW/WTI)The inundated house was vacated by its inhabitants a week ago.Sivakumar insists that the conservation effort this year has yielded much better result because of the involvement and awareness of people living in the fringe villages of Kaziranga. “Many locals are doing a commendable job in conservation of wildlife,” he says.One of them is Manoj Gogoi, from Bochagaon village in Kohora, is a well-known wildlife rescuer and has rescued 25 animals including hog deer, snakes and birds like Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, Asian Barn Owl and Asian Quail during this flood. Gogoi says the mantra of rescue is one should learn when actually an animal needs rescue. “Most of the times, wild animals don’t need to be rescued. Unless they are stuck somewhere or are injured, they shouldn’t be rescued. We need to make space for them and they will find a way out.”Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/assam/kazirangas-circle-of-life-how-forest-dept-vets-and-villagers-join-hands-to-fight-flood-fury-5835129/
Show More

Beyond Duty: IAS Officer Admits Prison Inmate’s Daughter in International School

Sanjay Kumar Alang, the District Collector of Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, was doing the annual inspection of the city’s Central Jail. While he was checking and discussing the personal details of the inmates, their concerns, and how well the police officers are maintaining the jail, he came across a scene that took him by surprise. A young girl sat among a group of women inmates. The playful girl warmed the IAS officer’s heart resulting in him admitting her in an International School!It was beyond Alang’s call of duty but within his voice of conscience to inquire about the girl. When Alang ensured that the little girl got quality education, he did not know that this kind act would trigger socially responsible people and organisations helping several other children in the jail.Some things in life can only be called destiny. In the case of Khushi (name changed), where fate landed the innocent child in jail, the same fate led her to the benches of an esteemed International School in Bilaspur.“There was something adorable about her that begged me to inquire how she had landed in jail. As it turns out, her mother had passed away due to jaundice when Khushi was just 15 days old. Her father, convicted of a serious crime, has been in the jail for five years now and Khushi had to shift there with him because the kid had no one else to take her responsibility,” Alang told The Better India.According to norms, children of female convicts are allowed to live with their mothers in jail. In cases like Khushi, where the child is motherless with no one else to take care of them, the child lives in prison with their father until they are six years of age.Tigga, the jailer at Bilaspur Central Jail shares some insight about this rule. “Kids of inmates are kept in jail until they are six years of age. In the case of this Central Jail, 2-3 kids were born in prison. Here, the women inmates take care of the children until they are of age. After they turn six, they are either handed over to their relatives or given to the government-run creche. Usually, the children are also enrolled in government schools to ensure they are not deprived of the opportunities,” he said.While inquiring about Khushi’s family, Alang asked the little girl what she wanted to do in life. “Khushi told me that she wanted to study in a good school, so once the inspection was over, I started asking around about her admission prospects.The Jain International school came forward to fund her education and accommodation up to class 12, and I am delighted to tell you that the admission process has been completed. The kids living in the jail premises neither study nor have a set schedule for activities. All for no fault of their own,” Alang tells us.Soon after, Khushi visited the school, awestruck at the classrooms where she will now be studying, the campus where she will now be playing. Tigga tells us that currently, 17 children are living with their mothers in the Bilaspur jail. Taking a cue from Alang’s initiative, many NGOs have come forward to help the other kids secure admissions in various schools that promise quality education and facilities.We hope such good turn gets translated into several similar initiatives. Keeping the kids in jail with their convicted mothers is a highly debated topic in India. We may not arrive at a consensus soon, but the children should not miss out on opportunities for no fault of theirs. Alang has set the wheels in motion, and we wait to see if others will follow the lead.Source: https://www.thebetterindia.com/187799/ias-hero-chhattisgarh-daughter-bilaspur-jail-school-inspiring-india/
Show More

Collector Ritu Sain turned a stinking Chattisgarh into the cleanest small city

Ritu Sain, a 2003-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, can’t forget the first sight that greeted her when she entered Ambikapur city, in Surguja district of Chhattisgarh, in February 2014.“There was a big signpost welcoming people to the municipal corporation of Ambikapur, and bang opposite that was a huge open dumping yard. The stink was unbearable. I thought to myself, what kind of impression the city would create if this was the first thing a person saw after entering,” she said.Sain had just taken charge as Ambikapur collector. Even before she reached her official residence, she knew what her first priority was going to be. “There was no looking back since that day. I was clear about what I wanted to do,” Sain, now Chhattisgarh’s additional resident commissioner in Delhi, said. “It was a challenge. The city with a population of 1,45,000 had meagre funds and hardly any capacity to take up the cleaning task. I knew whatever I did would have to be participatory, viable and replicable,” Sain, who studied international relations from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, said.Long brainstorming sessions with all stakeholders followed and, within two months, Sain was ready with the road map. Initially, the solid and liquid resource management model was started on a pilot basis in one ward. Women from self-help groups (SHG) were engaged. A three-member team comprising SHG workers was formed. Each team was assigned 100 households, where they would have to go door to door collecting waste after segregating it at source.A garbage clinic was opened in the ward, where the women again segregated the collected material into 24 categories of organic and inorganic waste. A third and final round of micro segregation was done, after which the refined and cleaned waste was sold to scrap dealers. By May 2016, all 48 wards in the city were covered. The municipality also fixed a user charge for door-to-door collections. Currently, 447 women work from 7am to 5 pm daily at the 48 garbage segregation centres. All of them are provided safety gear such as jackets, aprons, gloves and masks. They also undergo regular health screening.The result is there for all to see. The 16-acre open dumping yard has been converted into a sanitation awareness park. The 200 overflowing community dustbins have been replaced by just five. “It’s a self-sustaining model. Each woman gets to earn Rs 5,000 per month from user fee and sale of recyclables. We have spent Rs 6 crore to put the entire infrastructure in place and have already earned Rs 2 crore. The money earned is being spent on the sanitation workers,” Sain said.Ambikapur was declared the cleanest small city in the 2018 cleanliness survey by the Union housing and urban affairs ministry. “It’s very fulfilling to see that something we started has come so far and is sustaining itself,” Sain said.The story has been extracted from: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/the-collector-who-recycled-a-stinking-chhattisgarh-town-up-swachh-rankings/story-bNegEPISYLQ9AtCaAMgacL.html
Show More

Hindus & Muslims unite to shift shrines, pave way for a highway

Jhansi:In an exemplary show of cooperation and amity, signaling the importance and precedence of infrastructure and development over faith and belief, locals from two communities agreed to relocate two temples, a mosque and three mazars (enshrined tomb) in Jalaun to pave way for the Lucknow-Jhansi national highway. The shrines had been impeding the work since last 14 years.The structures were taken apart on Saturday amid heavy deployment of security forces without a single incident of protest.The decision to relocate the shrines was taken after the district administration, led by Jalaun district magistrate Mannar Akhtar and SP Arvind Chaturvedi, held dialogue with the leaders and members of the two communities for over six months in what is being termed as ‘Operation Cooperation’.Officials told TOI that there were two temples — one of Lord Shiva and one of Goddess Durga — three mazars and a mosque — all 50-100 years old structures — that came in the way of the highway. As a result, there was a daily traffic jam on the stretch to up to three hours.The DM said the places for relocation of the six structures have already been identified and the National Highways Authority of India has taken the responsibility to rebuild them.The relocation work started on Saturday simultaneously at all the places. BJP city head Amit Pandey said, “Almost 130 people died in accidents because of this traffic bottleneck. It is indeed a big step towards development.”Source: https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2018%2F09%2F09&entity=Ar01202&sk=F9652AA0&mode=text#=undefined
Show More

The Boat Clinics of the Brahmaputra

2,500 Estimated number of islands that form a vast and extraordinary network along the 891 km course of Brahmaputra through the state of Assam. Chars or saporisas - as they are called locally, the islands are found along the river from the state's northern border with Arunachal Pradesh to the southwest where the Brahmaputra enters Bangladesh.2.5 million Estimated number of people live on these chars (islands), comprising 8% the state's population of around 30 million. The chars have one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the state. In the absence of emergency medical services, it takes 4 to 6 hours for a patient from a char to reach a district hospital for treatment.In the year 2004, local NGO, the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES) launched 'Boat Clinics', or 'Akha' as they are called locally, to provide much-needed medical services to the area, which can only be accessed by boats. The unique initiative focuses on the immunisation of children, women's health, family planning counselling and other basic medical needs of the char communities.Boat clinic functional in the districtsAverage staff size is 15 in a Boat Clinic - 2 medical officers, 3 nurses, 1 pharmacist, 1 laboratory technician, 3 community workers and 4 boat crew. The Boat Clinic is also equipped with OPD, mini laboratory, and pharmacies. On average 20,000 people treated for free, in a month. The state government, National Rural Health Mission and UNICEF now fund the initiative that has become a lifeline for the people living on these river islands.Solar panel installed for the energy requirments of the clinicIn the year 2006, C-NES signed an agreement with the Bangalore-based SELCO Foundation in order to power the clinics with solar energy. Prior to use of solar power, the boats equipped with medicines and laboratory equipment were running on kerosene powered generators, which led to frequent power interruption. This caused vaccine spoilage, interruption in the use of essential medical and diagnostic devices, and lack of even the most basic lighting and communication for maternal delivery and emergency procedures. 3 lakh lives are saved every year due to the prevention of spoilage of vaccines due to the use of solar power, according to Kakoli Kalita, the Outreach Coordinator of SELCO Foundation while talking to the Sentinel.A fully functional boat clinic15 Boat Clinics that operate in 13 districts along the Brahmaputra river. Solar system installation through a partnership between C-NES, SELCO Foundation, Envo Business Solution and TATA Trusts. 18 villages have been served by Boat Clinic Tinsukia. The boat reaches out to around 900 people through 4-5 camps per month across these villages, including Amarpur in Sadiya and forest villages like Laika and Dodhiya. The service was launched through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the National Health Mission (NHM), Government of Assam. 25 villages have been serviced by the Dibrugarh Boat Clinic which reaches out to around 8,000 people in villages that include Mesaki, Loukiali, Mohannamukh, Udaipur, Ram Singh, Seraali, Singapur, Charkalia, Bishnupur, Vaishali, Seriali, Sakia, Dhadia Kuli Gaon, Sari Suti Tengabari, Karmi Suk, Kopita, Romai and Aichung.The story has been extracted from: https://numerical.co.in/numerons/collection/5d1177b8c217e1b42b3f4e19
Show More

Revamping Schools To Curb Child Marriage: How An IAS Officer is Transforming Rajasthan

Rajasthan has witnessed major social evils like child marriage, dowry, untouchability, lack of education for girls, and so on… for many decades now. Ironically, all these malpractices continue to prevail in many parts of the state even to this day. In the Dalit community, most girls are not allowed to go to school, while on the other hand, most of the upper caste families prevent their daughters from studying further after completing primary and secondary education. Sadly, the spectre of child marriage is still haunting most of the SC, ST and OBC communities. Rampant discrimination against Dalits and payment of dowry in marriages across castes continue even in the 21st century. However, several social activists and young administrators are working towards overcoming these social evils today. Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district is one such district where things have been changed dramatically ever since a young IAS officer, Athar Aamir Khan, took charge as the SDM of the newly created Badnor subdivision.A Kashmiri-born 26-year-old, Athar Aamir Khan, became a household name after he secured the second rank in civil service exam in 2016. Last year in December, Athar assumed position as an SDM in Badnor, which is around 80 Km away from Bhilwara district. While speaking to the people of Badnor, I came to realize how lucky they are to have Athar as an SDM in their tribal-majority area; the latter is working on several fronts, to curb the prevalence of child marriage, reform the education system, put an end to illegal encroachment and maintain panchayat discipline. However, his prime focus is to build a new educational environment, which is of course very commendable. Sunil Mali, who is from Badnor, praised Athar’s remarkable job stating that the way he tackles the angry mob is absolutely remarkable. “I have never seen Athar in an annoyed mood. He is a very calm and cool officer. Athar’s first priority seems to reform the education system and promote girls education in our area. With his conscious efforts and contribution from locals, almost all our government schools have got study furniture in our subdivision. He often holds meetings with teachers and asserts to improve education and bring awareness to fight against child marriage in their respective areas. His effort towards transforming government schools and encouraging child education is like a metamorphosis in our zone,” Sunil said. Child marriage is a longstanding problem in Rajasthan, and Bhilwara is one of the worst affected areas all over India, where more than 50% of girls are married off before reaching the age of 18.Athar has directed all the police stations in the district to keep an eye on the occurrence of child marriages and ordered appropriate action to be taken against this harmful practice and the accused families. He has also set up a control room which is monitoring incidents of child marriage. Sharing the details of one such incident, Sunil said that recently Athar had secretly arrived at a marriage function and not only did he immediately stop the marriage and free the minors from the shackles of the wedding, but he also fined the accused families under The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.Athar has shared his own stories on social media many a time. While sharing his campaign against child marriage, Athar wrote the following Instagram post, “This time of the year is marriage season in Rajasthan and also, unfortunately, the time when child marriages peak. As a part of our campaign to end the menace of child marriage, we are holding these meetings and interactions with people in every gram panchayat of our subdivision to bring awareness about the issue. We have also set up a control room and are monitoring all GPs round the clock. Though the issue is very complex and has not just one but a number of root causes we hope with motivation and strong enforcement of law we will be able to make a dent this time around!!”An IAS aspirant, Monika Rajpurohit, who hails from Badnor, said, “We are lucky to have such a great officer like Athar in our newly created subdivision, whose tireless efforts have significantly changed many things in our life. We have been seeing a poor education system, lack of school infrastructures, gender inequalities in schools, but now students are getting study tables, books, computers and even libraries are being made for the public. Things are changing gradually and we are very thankful to Athar for working towards a better future of our generation.”The article has been extracted from: https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2019/06/reforming-education-to-curbing-child-marriage-how-an-ias-officer-transforming-tribal-area/
Show More