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NGO plans to adopt 'village of widows'

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow, July 4, 2013, DHNS: 1:06 IST
Six hamlets in the flood ravaged Uttarakhand have earned the tag of “village of widows” after a large number of their men perished in the flash floods.

Sulabha International, an organisation actively engaged in the field of sanitation, has
decided to adopt these hamlets that comprise the Deoli-Bramhagram Panchayat, about seven kilometres from Guptakashi and provide Rs 2,000 to each of the widows of the village every month in a bid to help them to live a comfortable life.

According to the official sources, there was no trace of at least 57 men from these six hamlets, as a result of which the village has been dubbed “village of widows.”

“We will do whatever is possible to mitigate the sufferings of these hapless women and in this instance of Himalayan Tsunami, our efforts will match the magnitude of the devastation,” said Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak.

For six months in the year, the men folk from the Deoli-Bramhagram panchayat area go to Kedarnath, where they work as mule operators and ferry pilgrims from Gaurikund. Many of them have not returned home since the floods hit the area and were presumed dead.

The widows include expecting mothers and newly married women.

In the neighbouring villages of Deoli and Bramhagram, a home to pundits who perform small pujas around the Kedarnath shrine or run hotels, there are at least 20-odd people missing.

Pathak said that his organisation had the experience in ameliorating the lot of widows in Mathura and Vrindavan and would use its expertise to provide succour to the widows in these hamlets as well.

Tragically many young children from the area were also missing since the floods hit
the region. Thirteen youths from this area between 14 and 18 years are missing.
All of them were students of Rudraprayag district government school, helping in the family business during the summer vacations.

Sulabh recently adopted all the widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi and set up ‘Sulabh Hope Foundation’ to serve the widows in the country.

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