BENGALURU:While the assault of a boy from Arunachal Pradesh by his landlord in the city is in the limelight, one of the main issues plaguing groups and individuals in the city who help individuals from North Eastern states is the serious shortage of funds.
While Higio Gungtey, the boy concerned, comes from a well-to-do family many others are not so fortunate. Rini Ralte, member, Northeast Solidarity, a consortium of groups and individuals for Northeast in the city, is usually one of the first persons to be at ground zero in case of any such incident. Giving an example from a recent case of an accident involving another boy from Arunachal, around 2 months back, she says: “This boy worked in a bar and was going home late at night. He was found on the side of a road with severe injuries. He was from a very poor family and had suffered brain damage. We got him admitted In Nimhans for a while but there was no money for treatment,” she says. A well-wisher volunteered to get tickets for him to go back, she adds.
Most of the time Rini has to spend money out of her own pocket for travel, treatment and rehabilitation of the person concerned, and what not. “We have not received any help in terms of funds from anywhere or anyone. We requested Union Minister, Kiran Rijiju twice for funds but there has been no results. We also approached Karnataka government but they also said that they can offer help with services but not funds,” she says.
What’s worse even the respective state governments from the Northeast have not come forward to help. “We placed requests with governments of Mizoram, Manipur and even Nagaland but nothing worked. We have to borrow from people in case of extreme emergencies,” she says.
Pranjal Medhi, has been in Bengaluru for 16 years and is one of the founders of Assam Society of Bangalore, an organization that helps people from the state in the city. He says that he faced fund crunches early on in dealing with crisis situations but now the society tries to raise their own funds through various cultural programmes within the community. “It’s only in critical situations that we approach the government. I think government of each state should have a setup in cities such as Bengaluru that caters to particular problems of its people,” he says. The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNer) can also play a bigger role in such issues he adds.