The author is a Senior Consultant, Central Board of Excise and Customs
There are many who are working to make our society a better place to live. One among them is an elderly couple from Yavatmal, a district in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in India. Yavatmal is a naxal-affected district and is infamous for the pernicious problem of farmer-suicides due to financial crisis.
While Yavatmal is struggling with farmer suicides, the emergence of associated issues viz. the future of a generation of parent-less youth and the duty to secure for them a happy life hereafter shall be of prime priority. Today, there is a greater need to safeguard those parent-less youth as they have lost their loved-ones.
Mr.Pundlikrao A Zilpe was born in Mhasola, a small village in Yavatmal. He took an early retirement from Government service and led several initiatives and societal interventions for the welfare of workers and artisans including that of Vishvakarma May Vikas Mandal, a registered artisan welfare group since 1987.
Although hailing from a poor family, Mr. Zilpe, with his hard work, raised to the highest position of a leader and is highly respected by artisans and labour groups across Yavatmal.
He managed Sagar Constructions in Vidarbha region. Even while doing so, he never compromised his commitment towards social service. In the year 1989, he established Vishvakarma Ganesh Mandir temple, where people from all walks of life and caste can gather on multiple occasions for their celebrations and prayers.
He made sure that adequate marriage counselling were provided to twenty-youngsters who had lost their parents and some who were differently-abled. He had also supported innovative business concepts in the fields of agriculture and construction.
Today, his support has given raise to more than 1900 successful entrepreneurs. They were given INR 3 lakhs each as business loans to help them establish businesses and expand them. With the support of Nagarsevak (local corporate leader, Yavatmal) Mr. Sujit Rai, he borne the expenses in order to provide sewing machines and training learners to stitch clothes for marriage and community events as well as providing event expenses.
Mrs. Lata Zilpe, an entrepreneur herself, hails from the same backward district of Yavatmal. She had supported several women self-help groups. She had also led several initiatives for the youth to build small businesses like hair salons and grocery shops. She has been supporting Mr. Zilpe from day one.
There are many social activities undertaken by Mr. P A Zilpe and his supporters, who have now made this noble cause a vision for their life. In recognition of these services, Samata Sahitya Academy, had honoured him with a life time achievement award during the annual Samata Sahitya Academy Summit held at Singapore on 7th February 2019.
Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al Musta’in Billah, Sultan of Pahang, had presented Mr. Zilpe with the life time achievement award. Mr. Tandekar , National President of Samata Sahitya Academy, had appreciated the services tendered and the contribution made by Mr. P A Zilpe during a subsequent event held at Singapore on 10th February 2018.
Vishvakarma Community President Mr. Panchal and National President of Artisans Welfare Organization Mr. V Vishvanathan (Board of Director MSME C.G.) extended their warm wishes to Mr.Pundlikrao Zilpe for Life-time achievement award in social service category.
image credit: SP ZILPE
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