NGOs ready for role

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By SANTOSH K. KIRO
  • Published 19.10.10
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Ranchi, Oct. 18: With the panchayat polls round the corner, non-government organisations (NGOs) have come forward to spread awareness about “grass-roots democracy” among villagers of Jharkhand.

While some NGOs are keen on educating women about their rights provided by Jharkhand Panchayat Raj Act, others want to teach the villagers how the panchayati raj should function. There are several other NGOs that want to ensure the establishment of a healthy panchayati raj system in the state.

“As this is the first rural polls for Jharkhand, the rural population needs to know on how democracy functions at the grass-roots level. We are planning to visit the villages and distribute pamphlets and such other materials to educate the voters,” said Gurjit Singh, the secretary of Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, one of the NGOs.

Some of the other organisations that will embark on pre-poll awareness campaigns are Care, Actionaid, Pria, Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Manthan Yuva Sansthan, Jharkhand NREGA Watch and Church Auxiliary for Social Action. The NGOs will hold a meeting in the state capital tomorrow to chalk out an elaborate plan. However, each NGO will carry out its own pre-poll awareness campaign in their respective areas of work.

“We are now printing educative materials for distribution among the villagers. We will start the awareness drive within two-three days,” said Sudhir Pal, secretary of Manthan Yuva Sansthan, which will campaign in Kanke block of Ranchi district and Kisko block of Lohardaga district.

Vikas Bharti Bishunpur has called a meeting of village youths on October 20-21. “We will educate the villagers how to lay a healthy foundation of the panchayati raj system. We will tell them to stay away from politics so that grass-roots democracy gets a good start,” said secretary of Vikas Bharti Ashok Bhagat, which will concentrate on Santhal Pargana and Chotanagpur.

The villagers too are upbeat about the elections. “Till the dates were announced, the villagers did not believe that the new government was serious about holding the polls. Now, they are eager to take part in the democratic process,” said Balram, a social activist and member of Jharkhand NREGA Watch Forum.