'Smile Pinki' protagonist waiting for promised welfare schemes

Lucknow, Aug 20 (IANS) What happened to the promised hospital, school, community centre and other welfare schemes that were announced for the village in Uttar Pradesh where eight-year-old Pinki, the protagonist of Oscar-winning documentary "Smile Pinki", lives, her family is wondering.

Pinki's father Ram Sajeevan said Thursday that they were struggling to get implemented the welfare schemes that were announced for their Rampur Dabai village, in Mirzapur district, after the documentary won the coveted award. Mirzapur is about 300 km from Lucknow.

"For us the development schemes mean more than the Oscar. We are running from pillar to post to know about the status of the welfare schemes meant for our village," Ram Sajeevan told reporters.

"At the time the award was announced the district administration announced a slew of welfare schemes for improving the living standard of the people of our village. But the authorities are yet to fulfil the promises," added Sajeevan.

He along with his daughter Pinki was in Lucknow to attend a programme organised in the evening by the Lucknow Public Schools and Colleges (LPSC), which has decided to impart free education to Pinki till Class 12.

"The authorities assured they would build a hospital as the health standard in our village is below standard. They also promised to set up a school, a community centre and also solve the water crisis in the village... But it seems they have forgotten such plans," said Sajeevan.

"I have visited officials umpteen times to enquire about the welfare schemes, but they did not give me a satisfactory answer even once."

Sajeevan said he now plans to meet Chief Minister Mayawati. "Now, Behenji (Mayawati) is our last hope. She is the only person who can bring changes in our village by getting the welfare schemes executed."

Pinki is the protagonist of Megan Mylan's 39-minute Hindi-Bhojpuri documentary that bagged an Oscar.

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