Utpal Borpujari

June 10, 2009

Now, Kalavati wants Rahul’s endorsement

By Utpal Borpujari

It seems even Rahul Gandhi’s endorsement of the “aam aadmi” can fail in the face the bureaucracy’s stonewalling.

At least that is the claim of Maharashtra villager Kalavati Bandurkar, who hit the headlines when the young Congress leader mentioned her in the Parliamentary debate on the India-US nuclear deal last year.

Kalavati, frustrated that officials turn their faces away when she approached them to remind them of Gandhi’s promise of a house for her, now wants a letter of endorsement from Gandhi so that she is heard by these officials.

“Everybody knows that Rahul Gandhi came to my house. But nobody is listening to me. I now want a certificate of endorsement from Rahul-ji so that I can show it and get help,” Kalavati, whose husband had committed suicide a few years ago in Jalka village of Vidarbha region, said here on Tuesday.

Kalavati was here to participate in a programme organised by NGO Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, which is working on keeping an eye on how the government fulfils its poll promises after preparing a people’s manifesto in the run-up to the elections.

“After Gandhi’s visit, many officials came to my place and promised me many things. But nothing happened after that. I want the promise of a house for me to be fulfilled, apart from establishment of a health facility and an English-medium school with computer facility in my village,” she said.

“When I go to Panchayat officials, they say I have to meet the block development officer, and the BDO tells me it is not under his purview,” Kalavati said about the promise of a house made by Gandhi to her.

Incidentally, since Gandhi’s visit, Kalavati and her village has seen some help reaching them, while even earlier, some NGOs and been helping her family like they have been helping many families whose members have committed suicide.

Since Gandhi’s visit, NGO Greenpeace has helped two schools in the village get solar power to run ten fans and a computer, while Sulabh International has announced that it would be adopting Kalavati and give her a cheque of Rs three lakh followed by the opening of a fixed deposit of Rs 33 lakh in her name after a year.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 10-06-2009)


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