Dear friends,

Yusuf Meherally Centre has launched an intensive drive to secure all government benefits to the Adivasis (Tribals) of four talukas in the Raigad district of Maharashtra State, namely, Panvel, Pen, Uran and Karjat. The Adivasi cell of the Centre is visiting Wadis (Adivasi settlements) and is explaining the various schemes like the benefits of possessing caste certificate, of filing claims with appropriate authorities for their homes, for the land which they are using to grow minor crops and vegetables etc. and exhorting them to empower the 'Panchas' appointed by the 'Gawkis' to do all this. This is having a salutary effect, in the sense that most wadis have started taking prompt action. There are certain costs for securing the needed forms and there are certain fees to be paid to the government and traveling to the government offices requires a lot of money and the loss of a day's wage, but the Adivasi cell appeals to them to bear all these as the benefits are immense. The cell is also liaising with the state bureaucracy and appealing them to be pro-active and the response is positive. The cell has also decided to work together and co-operate with other well reputed voluntary agencies active on behalf of the Adivasis in these talukas. Such collaboration can ensure that government benefits reach all those who deserve them.

As a rule, the Adivasi cell does not handle cash required to secure these benefits. It has to be handled by the 'Panchas' and the latter have to render accounts to the 'Gawki'. This way the cell ensures that it or its workers will not get involved in any scandal. And there is transparency.

The cell needs a battery operated voice recorder, a megaphone, a rechargeable powerful torch or tube light to be used when the power fails. The approximate cost will be Rs. 10,000/-. This is an appeal to friends to deposit any amount, however small, in the YMC account No.S.B. A/c. No. 10066940217, or post the cheque in favour of "Yusuf Meherally Centre) to the General Secretary, Yusuf Meherally Centre, D-15, Ganesh Prasad, Naushir Barucha Marg, Mumbai 400 007.

In case we get more, it will be earmarked for increasing the Cell's mobility. The Centre spends on an average of five lakhs a year on its Adivasi activities and we are happy to inform you that there are fifty Adivasi volunteers with the Adivasi cell whose training is up-dated twice a year.

- YMC