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Posted Online on Friday 9, September 2005 15:55 IST

Jalangi villagers elated at being included in welfare schemes 

The Milli Gazette (online edition); September 9, 2005

Villagers in Jalangi, Murshidabad district came together in elation at the news of their names being included in government welfare schemes. 

On September 4, a list of about 500 names was displayed at all ration shops in Jalangi, to be included in various welfare schemes. 

"When the villagers came to know, they ran to the ration shops in joy. Even women came out of their homes and were full of enthusiasm," Kirity Roy, secretary of local human rights group Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (Masum) said. 

The list of names had been submitted by Masum in March 2005 to the local administration as people in dire need of relief from hunger. Since 2002 the erosion of the Padma river bank has increased, resulting in a loss of fertile land and destitute villagers. Although the local government has been aware of the situation, till now little has been done to help those affected.

"We have been urging the government and authorities to address the rampant hunger and systemic neglect within the area for a long time. This is a significant victory," Roy said. But the ration shops have not been told under which particular welfare scheme individuals are to be considered. 

The Asian Human Rights Commission, which championed the cause of the hunger victims, termed the inclusion of the villagers into the schemes as commendable, but remarked that the authorities now must take practical steps to ensure that people can benefit from them."

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