Jalandhar, February 23
On the initiative taken by Chandigarh-based Baba Nanak Education Trust, the United Sikhs, an organisation formed by the Sikhs settled in the US and Europe, has started giving pensions to families of those farmers, who committed suicide in Sangrur district recently. The pension amount ranges between Rs 1,000 and 1,500 per month and is called the ‘Rescue a Family’ (RAF) scheme.
The families will receive the pension as long as the children are in the school. Otherwise, such families get Rs 250 per month as pension from the state government.
Confirming the development, President of the Trust Inderjit Singh Jaijee, who was the first to highlight the issue of suicides in the farm sector in 1990s, said the United Sikhs had started sending pension to some families in Sangrur district.
Besides sustenance, the money is used to help continue education of the children, who have lost their bread winners. The trust had laid a condition that those families, which would not withdraw their children from schools, would get financial help.
He said the organisation had identified 175 such families out of which 50 families were being helped by the United Sikhs. United Sikhs is a charitable organisation, which has held camps in Europe and the US to help people devastated by natural calamities. The organisation is running a community kitchen for drought-hit people in some parts of Kenya, he added.
He said most of the families, who lost their bread winners, had taken their children out of schools to engage them in other jobs to earn some money. “Worried over such a phenomenon, we started mobilising help for such families from various parts of the world. It is good that the United Sikhs has come forward in this regard,” said Jaijee. The money is deposited in the bank accounts of the families concerned. “We have kept the system fully transparent,” he said.
Meanwhile, Director of the United Sikhs, Mejindarpal Kaur, in an email message to the TNS said, “Thousands of families find themselves in a desperate position. Among the first to feel the brunt when a farmer commits suicide are his children. These kids drop out of the schools to labour in fields to feed their families. The cycle of poverty continues and every year another crop of suicides is harvested in Punjab, India’s bread basket,” she added.
Source Link: The Tribune