MANAGEMENT SHEDS ITS RESPONSIBILITIES IN CASE OF CASUALTIES WITH CLAUSE NO: 11
The Hindi translation was done by Dr. Ajit Roy...
Clause No: 11 - ‘Maitri’ has insurance covered for all volunteers. During your stay at the camp one must take good care of self. During the camp, if any untoward incident / accident occur I myself will be responsible. – Declaration signed by respective volunteer!
I am indeed very-very grateful to Dr. Priyadarsh Ture for telling me about this clause when he visited our Base Camp at Paankhalya while discussing all the mismanagement. He said, ‘I am surprised that there is short supply of medicines... I will make sure tomorrow you will get all the medicines before noon (for two consecutive days our camp received enough stock from Dr. Ture and later none till I was there), please give me a list of medicines that is required. I really don’t know about all the mismanagement... they have also made every volunteer to sign a declaration (above mentioned Clause No: 11) so that no one can blame them.’
In good faith, none of the volunteers including me read this Deadly Clause that would have been deadly in case of any casualties during our stay at the camps. Everyone was happy to be there to serve the poor tribal villagers and hence everyone signed the declaration without really reading it. Yes, it is our fault but was it not the Duty of the Management to inform all of us of this PARTICULAR CLAUSE, so that individuals would have been careful? If they had insured all the volunteers, why the Insurance Forms were not filled by respective individuals? Why was the copy of the Insurance Policy not given to each individual, if they have done it without our consent? It was very much mandatory on their part to do so to keep all the volunteers safe, who came there to work for the Trust!
Many of the volunteers from our base camp were surprised because none of them knew about such a clause... including Ms. Anil from Agra and me... they all have shown great surprise when they came to know about such a deadly clause that would have taken a toll had anyone really met with some untoward incident / accident. What if girl volunteers had met with something untoward? In fact, the day after Pola Festival (the management had ordered everyone to stay away from villages for two days Sunday & Monday 28th & 29th August) a girl volunteer named Prajakta (from Pune) from Khaari Base insisted to visit the village Salai on 29th to see her patients. Two boys Rahul and Mahesh accompanied her but they were stalked by a drunkard villager throughout their stay... when they complained to villagers, they were told to bash the drunkard and the boys did... the three also had a verbal fight with some of the villagers the same very day.
The girl never reported this matter to the Group Leader at the camp or the management... it was one of the boys, who revealed what had happened at Salai Village later. Imagine what would have happened if the three were beaten by the villagers? Obviously, the Management would have quoted Clause No: 11 to be on their safe side.
Village politics is very-very dangerous and I know pretty well about this aspect. There are numerous invisible eyes that always follow you to record every action and your intention and who all you meet and interact. Even volunteers of our batch used to face opposition from certain villagers at Nagodhana Village... in fact, some of the youngsters in the village were trying their best to pick up a quarrel during our daily visit... you all will be surprised that an old villager aged 75 plus also tried to pick up quarrel with me and two others but we kept our cool smiling and agreeing to whatever he was stating so that he doesn’t get upset. I was very careful that none of the volunteers from our batch should get into any type of quarrel and always used to guide everyone to converse in a very low humble tone with villagers with a smile always on the face.
In fact, in one of the villages named Bhokarbhardi under Paankhalaya Base Camp, volunteers had to face unpleasant reception by village politicians and warned not to enter their village... so the management had to stop serving the villagers there... this was confirmed by Chandrakant too! Thankfully nothing untoward really happened there with the volunteers. We all feel the management has not guided us in a proper manner and once we reached there to serve, their duty seems to be over... what and how you do it in villages, they were not at all bothered as there was no DAILY FOLLOW UP by the management regarding our well-being or supply of medicines! Truly-truly, I am very sad and amazed at the unprofessional attitude of the management, for they have been conducting yearly camps since the last 14 years!
(... to be continued...)