Our team is almost an hour's distance from Kolkata and shortly PAKT will finish its 4th successful mission to Chargheri with a consignment of 2800 kgs of rice. This is supply for two weeks. As we told earlier that to save transport cost, henceforth we will try to visit fortnightly and disburse the supply of two weeks in one go.
Koustav (Pather Katha), Angshuman (ATMA), Biswajit-da (Khelaghar) with Gopal, Saheb and Trinath (other friends from Khelaghar) along with Saptarshi from IBM, reached Chargheri by 2 pm. So we could spend around 4 hours in Chargheri. Good planning paid benefit. This time 56 rice sacks were loaded in the boat at Basanti (near Sonakhali) by the time we reached there by car; courtesy Dipankar.The main objective was to spend more time in the village to supervise the distribution work and ensure all the listed people get there share. Dipankar Mandal is one of the leaders of the local group of volunteers from Chargheri village. Every week he is coming to Gatkhali/Sonakhali before we reach there, ensure loading of rice and plays a major role in the distribution of medicine (he can even give injections!!!).
Like Saptarshi this week and Abhijit last week, we always welcome friends from any organisation to accompany us, so that they can go back a more real situation to his friends and colleagues.Saptarshi was shocked to see a village with almost no "sheds", he expected the storms has at least spared a few shelters, for taking refuge during the rains.
The List Worked
As planned last week, we have provided the listed villagers (from Chargheri, Lahiripur, Bidhan Colony, Parashmani and Santigachhi) with an ID card, to ensure smooth distribution. I must mention again that this list was prepared by the local volunteers, with the criteria of providing rice supply to all families with monthly income of less than Rs 1200. The ID card was nothing special, just a piece of paper, carrying the name of the head of the family, number of family members. The list is constantly updated and as a result the number of families has gone up from 691 (2800 people) in last week, to 721 this week. The objective is very simple: to ensure that maximum number of villagers from these five villages, willing to avail our assistance and satisfying the above criteria, can get it. This idea of ID card concept worked quite well.
Before an evening storm with heavy downpour forced us to make a hasty retreat to our boat, we could finish distribution to 686 families. PAKT team is quite satisfied. 94 people were provided medicine. The PAKT team carried 20 tetanus with them. But we could not arrange any doctor also this week. This is something we are trying desperately but in vain. So the medicine department was left to the charge of Dipankar – our local hero. One good thing – the same patient never visit him twice!!!
Thank you but We Need More Well Wishers
At least six more weeks – we need to race against the time to collect resources. We thank all the well wishers of PAKT who has so far extended their hand to our Help Sunderban Initiative. We hope more people will join us, so that we can achieve our dream of continuing supply till the government assistance are regularised. We look forward to a Chargheri, which will welcome the tourists in the last human habitation of the Sunderbans – not wait for the boats carrying relief materials.