Monday, February 2, 2009

Update on Salma

After being incommunicado for a week or so, Sayantani finally managed to touch base with Salma today. Here's what she writes in:

Just met Salma...she'd called me yesterday after Mahmood Sheikh conveyed my message to her.
She is in a bit of tight situation now. some policemen on duty around VT at night have taken it upon themselves to clear the area of pavement dwellers and have started burning the belongings of the pavement dwellers including Salma, in order to acheive their goal. her Maska Pav cart has also been taken away for similar reasons. so her temporary source of income is also gone.
On the positive side, she's found a room in Vashi, for which the rent is Rs. 1000 and the deposit is Rs. 3000. So we would need to give her the money asap in order to ensure that she can move in there.
Also spoke to her about the mobile phone for ease of communication. She seemed okay with the idea..told her I'd arrange it in a couple of days - I'll coordinate with Parul on this - really kind of her to offer to help out with this.
Also suggested that we get a bank account in place so she can deposit her savings there...she agreed immediately. Told her that we'd need proof to open a bank a/c, such as a ration card. She said there's a political party office close by where they issue (or help to apply for?) ration cards. Asked her to find out what all papers are required, so we can get working on that.
To sum up, immediate priorities -
(i) Money for deposit and room rent for room in Vashi
(ii) Mobile phone for ease of communication
(iii) Help in getting a more stable source of income for Salma;
(iv) meetings with legal counsel and media.
Later on, as and when it happens -
(i) Application for a ration card;
(ii)Opening a bank account in her name and basic education re how to operate a bank a/c.
Guess that's it for now.
Thoughts: Aparna and Shyaam, since she is looking at a room in Vashi, can we go check it out and pay rent directly to landlord and take copies of receipts for our files.
Vocational training. Sewing skills?
Any other suggestions, offers of help?

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