Sunday, August 22, 2010


Surekha Pednekar
MUMBAI, AUGUST 21, 2010: Many of the residents of Garib Niwas Nagar had reason to celebrate on Saturday, August 21, 2010 as their long cherished dream of owning a Ration Card, became a reality. Being pavement dwellers, with no proof of residence, securing a ration card was no simple task. After almost six months of struggle, the Development Office was able to secure this facility for 41 families. These cards were distributed to the respective families at a simple function, held at Provincial House, Matunga.

The Chief Guest for the function was Fr Ajoy Fernandes, Vice Provincial, and the Guest of Honour was Mr Gajbhiye, Ration Inspector. Addressing the gathering, Fr Ajoy Fernandes complimented the Development Office for securing the ration cards for these disadvantaged and needy people. He further pointed out that this card would not only enable the people to access grain and other commodities through the public distribution system, but it would also serve as a proof of identity for them. Speaking next, Mr Gajbhiye explained that most government offices were understaffed and the officials were overburdened with responsibilities, hence they were often unable to reach out to those who needed public services the most. He said it was good that NGOs like Don Bosco had come forward to assist underprivileged communities to benefit from urban public services. He expressed his confidence that this partnership between government agencies and non governmental organizations would help poor urban communities to draw substantial benefit from government services and schemes.
Garib Niwas Nagar is a community of pavement dwellers in the vicinity of Don Bosco, Matunga, made up of about 300 households. While some of these pavement dwellers are daily wage labourers, most of the others earn a living by collecting and selling garbage. The Development Office has been working in Garib Niwas Nagar since the past one year. Enabling the people here to secure their right to food is the first project that has been taken with this community.

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