28 January 2021

Women demand proper functioning of self help groups

SMS leads a demonstration in South 24 Parganas demanding adherence to guidelines in the functioning of self help groups

Shramajivee Mahila Samity (SMS) and Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) organized a demonstration in front of the Kultuli block office in the district of South 24 Parganas office and a blockade to protest against the irregularities in the functioning of self help groups nurtured by the block administration. Grievances of our members were not redressed despite repeated submission of deputations and letters. The block administration has failed to honour its commitment to the people and has refused to act on the complaints submitted time and again by the whistleblowers of self help groups who had to bear the brunt of corrupt practices perpetuated by the elected committee(s) in connivance with the circle coordinator of the block. 'Sanghas' or village organizations are not following the guidelines in their transactions and the committee(s) are taking unilateral decisions without informing the members. We have written to the district administration and also to the Dept. of Panchayats and Rural Development, Govt. of West Bengal but no administrative action could be noticed to address our concerns. The women have finally decided to display their strength and resolve to the apathetic block administration and will be relentless in their efforts to ensure that justice is delivered to the scores of women who have been denied their rightful share in the decision making process(s) of these women led bodies.   
Women activists leading the demonstration in Kultuli, South 24 Parganas

We demand the assurance of accepting the following demands:
  • Immediate elections to the 'sanghas' should be called in the gram panchayats of Bhubaneshwari, Gopalganj, Maipith and Meriganj.
  • Accounts of the 'sanghas' from 2016 to the present day should be made available to the SHG members and the public at large
  • Organizing periodic Annual General Meetings (AGMs) with proper dissemination of information concerning the venue and time of the same.
  • Suitable action against the circle coordinator and CSP-Bank Linkage for non adherence to guidelines and indulging in corrupt practices
  • Enquiry into the practice of extorting money to accept loan applications from SHG(s)

 Women raising slogans during the 'gherao' of the block office

After demonstrating for the whole day, the concerned Block Development Officer has promised a follow-up meeting on 30th January, 2021 with himself as mediator with five women from the cooperative board (whom the women accuse of corruption) and five members of SMS.

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