The office of the public helpline centre at Hindpiri in Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Case#1: Caught in a row over a 200sqft plot of land with his in-laws for 12 years, 50-year-old Mazhar Bari was a very worried man until last week when the dispute was settled amicably
Case#2: Mohammed Saleem’s daughter was living from hand to mouth after her husband snapped ties with her. Now, her in-laws have been compelled to give Rs 2.25 lakh to help her lead a better life
Case#3: A youth from Hazaribagh had been heartbroken ever since his wife distanced herself from him a few months ago. The couple was reunited last week
The trio were not the only beneficiaries of a public helpline centre, opened at Street No. 1 of Hindpiriin Ranchi on June 29, but among 10 others whose grievances were addressed at this one-stop solution outlet for aam aadmi problems.
The interior of this common man’s counselling office is starkly simple with a desk and a few chairs, but the centre — located near Chhoti Masjid in the minority-dominated neighbourhood — has already carved a niche for itself as the ultimate dispute-buster without the legal maze any court case would come with.
The counsellors include eminent people from various walks of life, all of whom have voluntarily agreed to help build a better society through mutual co-operation. Two of them are former pro-vice chancellor of Ranchi University Sheen Akhtar and former home minister Sudesh Mahto.
“Our objective is to settle matters through mutual understanding without mounting pressure on any party. We are like a third person, outside the frame, but gauging the picture better than those involved,” said Mohammed Islam who is also one of the counsellors at the public helpline centre.
Mahboob Hussain Rizwi, who has offered room on the ground floor of his three-storey house for the help centre, said the idea had appealed to him.
“People can come here not just to resolve their personal problems or domestic disputes, but also seek help in getting work pending at government offices done. Those who are illiterate can come here to get an application written. The elderly can seek help on their pension. We also plan to help people market home-made products and patients get admitted to hospitals,” he said.
Rizwi swore by team work. “Every problem calls for exclusive handling. We have volunteers from various walks of life who come forward to offer free assistance in resolving disputes. It is a new concept,” he said, adding that they had active support from regional political party Ajsu.
Beneficiary Mohammed Saleem was all praises for the one-of-a-kind initiative.
“The helpline centre in Hindpiri may have political affiliation, but it is indeed a ray of hope for people like me who cannot offer lawyers or do the rounds of courts to resolve nagging matters.
“If the people involved can keep up their good work, this centre will emerge as the best crisis manager. The government and NGOs must set up such one-stop solution centres across the state. And, make sure they function,” Saleem said.