Sulabh to give Rs.300,000 to Kalawati in August (Lead)

July 28th, 2008 - 8:03 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Kalawati Bandurkar, the Maharashtra-based widow with nine children whose grim plight was narrated by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in parliament, will get Rs.300,000 from a leading non-government organisation in August this year. Sulabh International, which has done some major work in the area of sanitation, has decided to adopt Kalawati. She will get Rs.25,000 per month for next 20 years from the Patna-headquartered voluntary organisation.

“Rs.300,000 is what amounts to a year’s payment to Kalawati, and we have decided to give this money to her in August. We will get an account opened in her name in the nearest branch of a nationalised bank,” Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, told a group of reporters here Monday.

He said his organisation would put Rs.3.3 million in her account some time next year as fixed deposit, which will give her Rs.25,000 per month as interest for the next 19 years.

Kalawati’s family has been in dire straits after her farmer-husband committed suicide three years ago in his village in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra.

“It is a conscious decision to adopt Kalawati’s family,” said Pathak, adding that his organisation was committed to helping the people living on the margins.

“Since the beginning, Sulabh has been helping out the people on margins. So far, we have liberated over 120,000 scavengers,” said Pathak.

Kalawati herself threatened to commit suicide, unable to make ends meet.

“Monthly financial assistance of Rs.25,000 for the next 20 years will ensure she is able to take care of her children,” Pathak added.

Gandhi referred to two poor families of Shashi Kala and Kalawati in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in his speech during the trust vote in the Lok Sabha July 22.

Stating that there was no electricity in the duo’s houses, Gandhi sought to link the power situation in the country, especially in rural areas, with poverty alleviation and the need for nuclear energy.

Kalawati, with seven daughters and two sons, was left with a nine-acre plot of farmland, which she used for cultivating cotton and soybean, according to Gandhi.

As Vidarbha region has been in the grip of prolonged drought, Kalawati, like many others, did not find the output from her land enough to take care of her family.

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