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People 'must claim entitlements'

Diocesan social directors plan to join government's right to food campaign

Anuradha Talwar (left) and Father Irudaya Jothi (second from left) with participants of 'Right to Food' workshop Anuradha Talwar (left) and Father Irudaya Jothi (second from left) with participants of 'Right to Food' workshop
  • Julian Das, Kolkata
  • India
  • May 25, 2011
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Social directors and representatives from eight dioceses of West Bengal and Sikkim have joined with the government to help people claim their ‘right to food’.

“With a new regime in West Bengal, we feel there is hope for people’s development, and space for society to cooperate with it to help the needy avail their rightful entitlements,” said Jesuit Father Irudaya Jothi, who manages the Jesuit-run Udayani Social Action Forum.

He was speaking on the ‘Right to Food’ at a workshop yesterday organized by Association of Bengal Coordinators for Development (ABCD) in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services in Kolkata.

The workshop covered the federal government’s laws in the area, and how the Church can play a vital role in helping people claim their rights.

West Bengal Agricultural Laborers Union chief and adviser to the Supreme Court on the issue, Anuradha Talwar presented the rulings of the court in the matter and the role the Church could play in making the information available to people.

The Church has grassroots contacts and can ensure that the needs of the people are fulfilled, she said.

Sarmistha Singha Roy of the Asansol diocese social center said that in Talit village in West Bengal, her center got 4,000 “job cards” under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which guaranteed 100 days of work to one member of the family.

The workshop has given us a systematic approach to claim people’s rights, said Suryakanta Ghosh of Asansol diocese.

Ashish Anthony of ABCD said “traditional donors of Church-run projects are facing a resource crunch and we have to depend on local government resources.”

The participants will adopt the ‘right to food’ in all their projects, he said.

The Jesuit social center will liaise between the diocesan centers and the civil societies’ forum, regarding implementing the Food Entitlements Act, 2009.

Related report
Put people first with food security, say Jesuits

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