Monday, April 29, 2013

End of a Saga

The Polio Emergency Response started in April 2011 by Core Group in West Bengal will come to an end on 5 May 2013. Dr. Roma Solomon the Director of Core Group Polio Project (CGPP), Mr. Jitendra Awale, Deputy Director of CGPP, Ms. Rina Dey, expert in Behavior Change Communication for CGPP, and Mr. Manojkumar, Data Management Officer of CGPP also are in Kolkata for a valedictory session. The session was organized at Hotel Indismart in Salt Lake with several dignitaries from Unicef, WHO, ADRA India and the partner organizations.
It is both time to thank one another and to appreciate the role of everyone. So, on 26 April, the team traveled to areas supported by Seva Kendra and Women’s Interlink Foundation, the two partners of CGPP where they met the community mobilizers and supervisors and interacted with them, appreciated them and thanked them for their wonderful task in bringing down resistance in most areas to zero levels and in some very hardcore areas under acceptable limits.
On 27th and 28th they spent the whole day at Bolpur, relaxing in our company, enjoying the warmth and love that we had to share with one another. On 29th April, the valedictory session brought to fore the times and hardships the staff went through, the challenges in team building and the role each one played in strengthening emergency response. I had joined this team in April 2011 just for a period of 4 months. But then, the team in Delhi was so friendly and supportive, the task was challenging as the entire team of coordinators, supervisors and mobilizers were new to such response program, and it involved me to set up systems and procedures for networking, linkage with government, Unicef, WHO, Rotary, and managing the balance of relationship between partners. I enjoyed it….cherished it, and love it, as I became part of the CGPP family. CGPP too recognized me for the extra gifts I had by way of analytically looking at issues, programming and communication skills, besides the little knowledge on using technology for program management and monitoring.
Thank you friends for the wonderful support and love! Adieu everyone in the Polio Emergency Respones program. See you again!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


The State of West Bengal is under siege! It is under the siege of political leaders who have worked in tandem with non-banking financial entities (known in local parlance as “Chit Fund”) who have siphoned of billions of rupees, most of which was life’s entire savings of poorer families. Some Members of Parliament, ministers and political leaders have been accused of having benefited from their acquaintance with what the Saradha Agency that is in news of late. Every political party is crying foul of the other of having benefited from the group, as the group was dragged into media, real estate, tourism and you name it. After at least three deaths and suicides have been reported due to this micro-finance scam that is haunting the state and after thousands of agents and journalists have lost their job, the governments are trying to wash their hands off. Finally, action was forced upon, and some of the Directors have been detained, including the CEO. The Chief Minister has proposed that cigarettes will be made costlier by 10% more by way of special tax, and 1.5 billion rupees will be recovered through that to pay the small investors and some medium investors. The government plans to put in 3.5 billion to add to it. The large investors and the high medium may not be that lucky as the 5 billion proposed money will not be enough to pay all. At a press conference the Chief Minister asked people to “smoke more so that the money can be recovered fast”, so that the poor can be paid their capital back. Good intention wrought with ill impacts? Many doctors have questioned the reasoning as to what about the health impact of increased smoking.
The government, including the Chief Minister, at the state seems to have some good intentions to put things in order. The main culprits have been arrested, and she has promised more action, even if the other culprits come from her own party. It is also important that the investigation is done in a non-partisan manner, and all those who cheated the poor are brought to book soon. Or else, the party that came to power on pro-poor issues may end up paying the price. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Early Alert System : Restarted

The SMS Based Early Alerts has been restarted. The system was conditioned in the last year due to severe regulations from TRAI, over 60% of people's phones attached to DND and several people in the community we serve changing their phones. Now, we have worked out an automated system, but it will work only on a fresh one time request from those who wish to receive it. We shall continue to work further to improve our services to you.

People living in India may register by sending an SMS with the text ALERT INDIA from your phone to 09434753999. On receiving the message a confirmation message will be sent to the sender's phone within 30 seconds.