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Widows In Chandel Highly Vulnerable To Exploitations

IMPHAL, May 9: Contrary to association with central security forces drawing cynicism from certain quarters for some women in distress consumer goods available at Canteen Supply Duty (CSD) units of various security stations is an opportunity to tide over inconveniences faced in the struggle for survival.

While purchase of CSD items in bulk by an individual consumer is not entertained, for some person such as 34-year old widow Salomi Maring procuring consumer goods from CSDs for sale to local shop-owners is hardly a problem for she is ready to endure all odds to ensure that her two children grow up in a normal environment.

Hailing from Tuisimi village in Chandel district, tragedy struck Salomi as an accident five years back snatched her husband Rangshel Maring from her.

After the family’s bread winner passed away, Salomi was left in distress, unable to chart out how to sustain livelihood until she reportedly followed some of her local-mates to the CSDs opened by the Army at Kakching Lamkhai and at the Pallel facility established by the 26 sector Head- quarters Assam Rifles.

Talking to The Sangai Express, Salomi revealed that her effort to feed and educate the children out of the minuscule profit earned from trading off the CSD items at Kakching Bazar shops drew undesired attention from her in-laws and neighbors who suspected her frequent access to the cantonment premises.

Unable to convince the in-laws with regard to her purpose and compelled to return to her maternal home where she stayed idle for some time, the 34-year old confided that intervention and explanation by the All Tribal Women’s Organization, Chandel not only paved the way for her return to her rightful place but also ensured she resumed purchase and sale of CSD items for livelihood till today.

Even though the All tribal Women’s Organization, Chandel have no misgivings on women in distress deriving benefits out of facilities being extended by central security force establishments, one of its functionaries namely K Moikham said there are many women in Chandel district who are vulnerable to various forms of exploitations.

Comprehending that consequent to the opening up of the global market and India’s ambitious Look East

Policy certain to increase volume of vehicular traffic along the Imphal-Moreh section of National Highway-39, problem of women from economically weak families exposed to immoral activities is bound to increase.

Asserting that the Organization has report about women and young housewives in their 20s and early 30s indulging in immoral activities as a source of livelihood, she drew the attention of genuine NGOs to chalk out a plan for providing assistance to these women for they have little awareness about the dangers posed by HIV/AIDS infection.

While the health menace is not new in Chandel district spread of the disease along the Highway route is a possibility which no NGO should disregard, she maintained while calling upon those involved in the flesh trade to seek professional help in order to avoid disastrous consequences.

Informing that as a part of the Organization’s endeavor to provide solace to the women in distress names of 167 widows were recommended to the Social Welfare Department for providing pension facilities, Moikham disclosed that out of the total only one widow was entertained as a beneficiary of Widow’s Pension Card.

Opining that indifferent attitude of the State Government would only aggravate the situation and forced many women to indulge in immoral activities, she also pointed out that limited source of earning in the hill areas is one compelling factor for the widows to be lured into the flesh trade.

Further stating that many of these women lost their husbands during the Naga-Kuki clash of the 90s and calling upon the State authorities to extend all possible Central-sponsored welfare schemes, Moikham informed that poultry schemes launched by the Organization for the widows could not generate substantial income owing to absence of market facilities in the district.

The Organization functionary enlisted Kangsang, Molnoi, Minow, Maipou, Khangshim, Kotlienphai, Tuishimme, Teraphai, Leibi, Khengjoi and Chakpikarong as some of the areas/villages where welfare schemes are being initiated by the Organization, which is a conglomerate body for 15 different tribal communities.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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