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Gender Equality Report

Strategic Thrust – 3:  Gender Equality 

NNSS

3.1           Re-visiting Gender Policy

A three-day national workshop on “Re-Visiting Gender Policy” was conducted on Nov 23-25th, 2007 at SDC, Ranchi (Jharkhand).

The workshop started by a revolutionary song sung by Ms. Kalavati Patil, Coordinator, Maharashtra. Ms. Jiji Haridas, coordinator NNSS started the workshop with welcoming the participants and brief introduction of the Gender perspective of Swaraj. She explained that we must remember that sex is biological where as the word ‘Gender’ reveals about social-economic-cultural status of the women and men. Therefore any socio-economic-cultural differences are made by the society thus its remedy lies with the society of which we are part and parcel. Any change or difference in socio-economic-cultural status among man and woman is known as Gender Inequality.

She requested to participants to identify are of gender gap or difference. The participants shared following area;

1)         Education,

2)         Literacy,

3)         Labour & wages,

4)         Role & Responsibility,

5)         Food,

6)         Dress and hair style,

7)         Access to landed or immovable property,

8)         Freedom to travel,

9)         Ability and opportunity of decision making,

10)     Political & social activity,

11)     Religious role,

12)     Habit and culture,

ATR & Outcome of Gender Policy

The following points were presented after group discussion;

1)      Efforts towards ensuring 50 % or equal participation of women in every sphere along with men.

AREA

WOMAN (In %)

MAN (In %)

PO Membership

55.57

49.43

PDO Committee

50.81

41.19

State Committee

41.98

58.02

National Committee

38.89

61.11

Fellow

59.05

40.95

Volunteer

45.00

55.00

Coordinator

27.00

73.00

 

2)      Ensuring women participation through the formation of Grameen Mahila Manch,

3)      Participation of man & women in village cleaning  activities,

4)      Printing and circulation of Gender policy in vernacular language,

5)      More women SHG for the emancipation of the women,

6)      Women Education Campaign and running of women literacy centre and working for the enrolment of more and more drop-out girls,

Impact of the Gender Policy:

Family Level:

1)      Man and woman are eating together,

2)      Mutual cooperation in domestic work,

3)      Participatory decision process,

4)      Including wife name in bank pass book,

5)      Women are becoming self-confident,

Community Level:

1)      Equal membership,

2)       Equal post in PO & PDO,

3)       Women literacy,

4)        Growing acceptance of woman’s social role,

The Constraints:

1)      The men colleagues still treat gender programme as meant for the woman and they tend that they have little role in it.

2)      Woman colleagues from Kerala are facing problems in remaining away from home for more than 4 to 5 days. This affects their quality participation.

 

Plan of Action

Programme Activities / Action
Propagating Gender Policy 8         More circulation of Gender Policy in vernacular language and its collective reading and discussion,

8         Prepare poster, pamphlets and do wall writing about Gender equality,

Increase Gender Sensitivity 8         Organise awareness meeting,

8         Enforce gender policy in totality

8         PO PDO level workshops

Gender Equality 8         Organise conferences of wife and husband,

8         Honouring ideal couple and courageous woman

8         Sensitisation workshop specially for fellows and PDO functionaries

 

 

 

3.2              2nd National Rural Women Conference:

Rural Women in 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities

(9th To 12th Dec. 2007/ Organised by Peaceful Society, Kundai Goa)

 

 

 

 

9th Dec. 2007, 10.30 a.m.

Inaugural Session:  

The 2nd National Rural Women Conference was organised from 9th Dec. 2007 to 12th Dec. 2007 by Peaceful Society. The theme for this conference was aptly chosen as ‘Rural Women in 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities’. The three days of the conference were divided properly to deliberate upon important topics related to women in particular in this 21st century society.

There were eminent personalities to guide by way of delivering speeches and active interactions with the women delegates on the following subjects:

Smt. Radha Bhatt:

In her thought-provoking inaugural address covered various aspects related to women in 21 century and the challenges and opportunities.

Shri Shashi Kamat:

He covered right to information with special emphasis upon women and their rights.

Smt. Madhavi Desai:

She deliberated upon rural women and importance of education and shared some of her personal observations and experiences regarding the rural women.

Smt. Surekha Dalvi:

Being an activist in the field, she noted some of the actual information-based incidents of domestic violence upon women and girl-children in particular. In her explanatory speech, she exposed the real face of the male-dominated society. She also spoke on modern race among people due to dawning of consumerist culture. With her enlightening speech, she made clear some of the reasons responsible for women exploitation in society as never before.

Shri Soter D’Souza:

In his well-studied paper, he highlighted upon various rights and duties of a woman in the democratic setup of the Panchayati Raj System in India.

Dr. Purnima Usgaonkar, Dr. Vallabh Dhaimodkar and Dr. Mangala Tamba: Being related to medical fraternity, these eminent medical practitioners guided upon various issues and problems related to women community in particular.

Smt. Nirmala Sawant:

By virtue of having extensive experience in the political field of Goa and having witnessed many upheavals in the Goan politics for couple of decades, topic ‘Rural women and Politics’, was well dealt by Smt. Sawant.

Smt. Pramila Purav:

Having unmatchable experience in the field of social reformation of women and economic self-reliance, her concluding address was a treat for the ears. It was indeed a great experience sharing session and was applauded by all the women delegates.

Meticulously designed and organised, the first session of the first day of the conference began with spectacular entertainment performances by participating delegates thereby enthusing the atmosphere with pomp and gaiety.

To begin with, there was a folk dance depicting the unique cultural heritage of Goan rural society called Fugdi. This was followed by variety dance and singing performances by delegates from the states of Orissa, Tamilnadu and Maharashtra.

The guest of honour for the inauguration was Smt. Radha Bhatt, Chairperson of Gandhi Peace Foundation.

Introduction by Smt. Kalawati Patil:

Detailed introduction of Smt. Radha Bhatt with emphasis upon her committed social activities by Smt. Kalawati Patil was inspiring for the audience.  The introduction was an entire life sketch of Smt. Bhatt right from the childhood till date. The idea of how a struggling woman successfully overcomes all the hurdles in her life and proves her mettle was revealed from the story narration of Smt. Kalavati Patil.

To put it briefly, she narrated following important episodes from her life which could prove inspirational for the delegates:

  • Smt. Radha Bhatt, presently chairperson of Gandhi Peace Foundation, played a prominent role in creating awareness among women and children of India about their rights. She put up constant efforts in India for the betterment of women. Another important issue upon which she worked was the protection of environment. Besides India, she made her presence felt in countries like London, USA, Thailand, Pakistan, Nepal,Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Canada, and Holland etc. due to her sincere efforts in particularly in the field of women empowerment and environment.
  • For her distinguished contribution in the field of woman and child welfare and the environment, Smt. Radha Bhatt is awarded with Jamanalal Bajaj Puraskar, Godavari Gaurav Puraskar etc.

Smt. Lalan Kerkar:

(Welcome Speech)

She welcomed all the dignitaries on the dais, the participants and the media-people. She again briefly introduced and warm-heartedly welcomed the distinguished guests viz. Smt. Radha Bhatt and her sisters Smt. Kanti Behanji and Smt. Devi Behanji.  Smt. Kerkar put up reflections related with her experiences of earlier conference held at Bhadrak in Orissa. She reminded the audience how august was the 1st NRWC. She made a brief note of how during the 1st conference a total of 16 delegates from Goa actively participated. It was a matter of proud, she remarked that the 2nd conference is being organized in a small village called Kundai in the Ponda taluka of Goa.

Smt. Jiji Haridas:

(Journey from Bhadrak to Goa)

Smt. Jiji Haridas reflected upon the journey from Bhadrak to Goa. In her short speech, she narrated   following points:

  • The important issue of ‘Gender Equality’ was taken up during the 1st conference.
  • The aspirations, issues, challenges related to women taken up for discussion during the 1st conference at Bhadrak were briefed up for the delegates to refresh their mind with the subject matter.
  • She mentioned that various programmes were also designed in this direction.  She explained how Swaraj fellows work at village-level to fulfil the mission of social change set before them by the 1st conference.
  • “The dream was set before all during the 1st conference to ensure a society free of women exploitation and now again we are meeting in this conference to make a review of whatever we have achieved in realising our dream of social change”, narrated Smt. Jiji.
  • “We have already started working upon issues related to health, education, self-reliance and domestic violence related to women in our respective states. So, we need to have serious discussion in order to evaluate these activities in their true spirit”, urged Smt. Jiji.
  • She appealed to the delegates to come forward and freely pose their issues and problems before the experts invited to share their experiences and wisdom during this three-day conference.
  • She took this opportunity to explain the various activities taken up at the grass-root PO and PDO level by Swaraj activists, the surveys made and the membership drive taken up at village level.
  • She lamented that there is still a large women section depending on their male counterparts for economic needs. “Therefore, serious attention was paid towards establishing more Swaraj SHGS for rural women”, pointed Smt. Jiji. She emphasized that the vocational training was provided for women.
  • Another important point she highlighted was about how the community sanitation works and health camps were taken up by the Swaraj activists.
  • Swaraj has published its own gender policy at both village and National level. The policy is published in English, Malayalam, Oriya, Tamil, Hindi and Marathi languages in order to disseminate the knowledge to large section of the women community.
  • Other activities at the village level included vigorous campaign against alcoholism and domestic violence inflicted upon women.
  • NNSS is conducting gender awareness programmes in all states as well as at the National level.

The slogans were raised voicing the women awareness towards their rights.

Then, there was a song on the theme of river, “Nadiya Dheere Baho” (Swaraj Nadi Geet). The team was led by Murari Bapu.

Shri K. K. Mani:

“A tongueless person is awakening the heart of India. Murari Bapu lost his tongue but still he has willpower to over come this loss”, were the words Shri K. K. Mani uttered upon hearing the impressive song by Murari Bapu. He cited the teachings of Patanjali, the great Yoga Guru.  “Murari Bapu is making people aware about nature, rivers and humanity relentlessly through his committed social work”, said Shri Mani.

Smt. Radha Bhatt:

In her inspirational and convincing speech, Smt. Radha Bhatt put up her reflections on following points:

  • She praised the serene and tranquil atmosphere of Peaceful Society campus besides the warm hospitality throbbing with love and friendship she enjoyed during her stay in the campus. While praising the natural beauty of the campus she also thanked the organisers for having organised this meticulously planned event on such an important issue related to women.
  • She also thanked all the delegates and particularly those women who travelled right from Kerala and Tamilnadu in order to join the conference.
  • She praised the dedicated activities carried out by Peaceful Society and further stated that the Peaceful Society is indeed standing by her name. She also praised the social forum called ‘Swaraj’ doing a towering job of societal transformation.
    • She further said “we are already in 21st century and it is a challenge. We are not prepared for this century. What we have to do as women has still not begun. This is a real challenge, a challenge of time. We should understand that the time does not wait for anybody.  So we have to be serious and aware about the passing time. So we have to see how well we can utilise this time for better cause. We have to study what are the opportunities before us and how well we can benefit from them. It is not that we have to think of only women from rural society but it is the global perspective, we have to keep in mind before making best use of the opportunities opened up in this 21st century”.
    • She further sadly noted that “today there is increase in violence right from village to global level. We see different kinds of violence. However, still there is a ray of hope that the thirst for peace and harmony through means pf non-violence is also rising among people of this globe”.
    • She emphasised that “now, more and more people are realising importance of peace and they are wishing to spread this message every where. And, this is an opportunity that people are seeking peace through non-violence”.
    • She humbly admitted that “I have also started my social activities from the grass-root. Today, after continuous efforts for several years, people have recognised me and put faith in me to lead the team of Gandhi Peace Foundation. Otherwise, I am also a small worker like you”.
    • She narrated an incident showing how people from war-torn countries like Afghanistan are longing for peace and harmony. With example of Dr. Rasool Amin, she explained that the common men shun violence and always aspire and welcome peace and harmony in their nation. Dr. Rasool Amin requested Smt. Bhatt to help him establish similar organisation like Gandhi Peace Foundation in his own country and to name it Afghanistan Peace Foundation. He further told Smt Bhatt that they don’t want any financial assistance but what they want was moral support and guidance from Gandhi Peace Foundation.
    • She further said “now that the urge for peace is rising, the common women can play a major role in establishing the non-violent society based upon peace, love and harmony”.
    • She explained how Pundits and Muslims were living like brothers and sisters in Kashmir valley, how they were sharing their food, they were sharing their sorrows and their happiness. The common people ofKashmir urge earnestly to restore back those days of peace and harmony. The common people of Kashmir do not want any battle on their land. The people of the land are fully aware of the vested interests of the Governments of both the sides. They knew that what the Governments of either side want desperately is the land and not the people. The people are dying but the politicians have nothing to do with it. What the politicians want to grab is the land.
    • “So, the rising of an understanding among people to establish peace and harmony through peaceful means is the greatest opportunity for all of us”, said Smt. Bhatt in her appeal.
    • She noted that “the same socio-economic under-currents run at village and also at the global level. The village women should sit together and find out what are the opportunities before them and in what best manner they could use them for the good of the society. The challenges that are at the global level are also persisting at the rural level”.
    • “The woman is an incarnation of non-violence. She is born non-violent.  The woman has the power, the spirit to establish peace in the society. The greatest job and responsibility before a woman is to restore non-violence in the society. The women have to work towards establishing all kinds of non-violence in the society – the rural as well as the global society” she optimistically asserted.
    • She remarked “today, we see cruelty and violence spreading to all the places. The growth of science was actually meant for betterment of the society. However, what we see today is using science for inventing and manufacturing arms and ammunitions of mass-destruction. The use of science in warfare is very dangerous and it could annihilate the entire human race from the planet. If the right understanding is not developed and the present trend of violence is not changed then, there is going to be an end of human race. So, women are the only hope today and they have to come forward. I particularly say that the rural women have to come forward because the mind set up of urban women is changed today. The urban women think more like their male counter parts. We have to distance science from befriending the violence”.
  • We have to find out the reasons motivating a person towards violence in the society and try to find solutions accordingly. When we look at a village, earlier there was unity among the villagers. Now, we see fragmentation of villagers on various grounds like caste, religions and politics etc. Then, how could it be the peaceful society?
  • She further explained that “we have to bridge this gap and bring all people together in our villages. The poor and low caste people may be benefited through various Government welfare policies and schemes. However, the social mind-setup has still not changed. By now, there should have been total acceptance and warm-hearted welcome to such marginalised people from all sections of the society. But, we still find the inequality prevailing in many parts of our society. The social transformation is more important and could only come if such people are encouraged and supported and loved by other privileged society”.
  • Smt. Bhatt explained how there are caste-based discriminations still prevailing in the minds of the people, particularly among the Government Officials by citing an example of a woman organisation in Uttaranchal. “The changes in the mind setup of a person could not be brought about by law but it will come through conscious social efforts”, she reiterated.
  • She narrated with one more example how caste conscious is today’s society. With examples, she also proved how women can lead campaigns and agitations against anti-people policies and succeed in their social cause.
  • She cautioned that “the violence is mainly because of fragmentation of the society. The violence upon  a woman is due to the division of man and woman. So, if such dividing factors end then the cause of the violence will end and the violence also will end”.
  • She clarified that “the poor is a poor because another man has become rich. The poorness of a poor man is hidden in the richness of a rich man. Because one person is becoming richer the other person is becoming poorer. If there has to be unity, then the rich has to come down to establish unity. The same story exists at the rural, national and also at the global level”.
  • She made clear following points – The 80% of our natural resources are exploited by 15% of our population. The big companies wants India to shine, make the nation a super power. That is why they want to promote the industries. So what they need to run these mega industries? They want to grab land, water and air. The want these for what? They want to pollute these vital elements in other words; they want to destroy unique constituents of the life nourishing nature. Therefore the villagers of Orissa, Kerala and Bengal etc. are fighting to save their natural wealth like land and water. Now people know that the water is grabbed by companies to make money. However, people want the water to live alive. In Bengal, villagers say that they want their land to cultivate it for food while the companies want the land to manufacture cars. The mother earth is to provide food for the man and not to use for amassing wealth.
  • “The women must awake and see this injustice. I am happy that ‘Swaraj forum is taking some efforts in the direction. Swaraj activists have surveyed at their respective village levels to understand the actual state of their villages. We have to feel the pain of the people. This is possible by studying their conditions and not by merely listening. We should not believe hearsay things but we should verify and understand the things before believing them” she urged the gathering. Here, she cites an example of Gandhi about how he used to verify the credentials from all the relevant angles of any happening before believing or passing any comment on that happening.
  • In her reflection she further pointed out that the “Panchayati Raj Act is a powerful tool still not used by women. If this tool is rightly used then women could play a major role in decision making. By this Act, a woman has got a right to join in the process of decision making. In the centre of development, there is money. In the centre of development what is actually needed is the labour. If sincere labour comes in the centre of the development then there shall be real progress of the village”.
  • We have to see that the villages are self-reliant. In Panchayat Raj, it should be ensured to make the villages self-reliant.

Smt. Bharati Bandodkar expressed vote of thanks to each of the participant for having come from distant parts of the country. She especially thanked Smt. Radha Bhatta and her sisters for having graced the occasion. She also expressed sincere thanks to Smt. Lalan Kerkar for taking time from her busy schedule and attending the conference.

Smt. Jiji Haridas, later explained the important points form the speech of Smt. Radha Bhatt to South Indian audience in their Malayalam and Telugu languages.

14.30 p.m.

 Report Presentation:

Then, there was a session of report presentation by state units of Bihar, Tamilnadu, Orissa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra and Goa. Each Swaraj Unit read out the report and explained the activities carried in their respective regions.

16.15 p.m.

The evening session began with a song by Shri Soter D’souza. Smt. Nirupama Mohanty facilitated this session. She explained the subject matter and introduced the guest. She also read out her own poem based on the social issue. Shri Shashi Kamat was invited to talk on the topic of Right to information.

Shri Shashi Kamat

Sub: Right to Information

Shri Shashi Kamat put his reflections on following points:

  • Right to information Act is introduced from October 2005 and it is very powerful tool for the common man.
  • It is not adequate that there are good laws but we have also to ensure that these laws are properly implemented.
  • The bureaucracy has habit of keeping every thing secret. They are reluctant to keep the information as secret as possible.
  • The people in villages should make small groups and use this Act to seek relevant information which will serve in the best interest of the society.
  • Under Section 3 of this Act every citizen of this country is entitled to seek information under this Act.
  • Under section of the Act, every public authority has to appoint a public officer. The public authority includes not only Government Departments but also other organisations like societies etc. which are controlled and funded by the Government.
  • The application has to be written very carefully. We should mention what exactly we want. The Government of Goa has published a list of the Public Information Officers related their Departments. Other states, where such books are not published should also demand for such lists.
  • A person seeking information under the said Act need not cite any reason for seeking such information.  But, a person seeking such information need to ensure that a court fee of Rs10/- is attached to the application. In absence of such fees, the application may be considered invalid.
    • Another thing a person has to ensure is to obtain an acknowledgement on the date and signature of the concerned receiving authority on the copy of the application. It becomes mandatory on the side of the receiving authority to submit the required information within 30 days of the receiving date.
    • It is always better to submit such application personally in the office or else it should be submitted by registered A.D. Post. Due to registered post, a person sending such application also gets date of receipt.
    • Under Section 18, a person can lodge a complaint against any such authority refusing to accept such application to the Information Commissioner.
    • Except it is confidential, even third party information has to be provided. Even in case of confidential information, if it is found that public interest is more involved then, it is compulsory to provide such information, e.g. In case of illegal construction.
    • If a person is interested in having a document then, it must be ensured that a certified copy of the document is provided.
    • There are exceptions to this Act like sovereignty of the country etc. where the right to information can be denied. However, the reasons in such cases have to be justified. Except the information coming under Section 8 and Section 9 (Official Secret Act), the other information has to be provided.

With these important reflections, Shri Kamat urged the audience to raise their questions and queries regarding the subject of Right to Information Act and provided valuable information and suggestions to make the best use of the Act.

10.12.2007/ 9.15 a.m.

The morning session began with an address by Smt Madhavi Desai, a noted writer in Marathi. The topic was “Education and Rural Women”.

Following are some of the points from her speech:  

  • We should not forget Mahatma Gandhi because during the freedom struggle he realised the importance of women power. Gandhi awakened women power and drew them in freedom movement. Just by a single call, large women community joined him in his agitations against British Government like Dandi Yatra., Jail Bharo Andolan etc
  • The smile of a child is beautiful and similarly, if you notice, it is the Gandhi’s smiling face. His face otherwise is not beautiful, he does not have teeth, he is bald. But, when we see smile on his face, it is the most beautiful looking, it is the most sacred looking.
  • Even the concept of human equality which is incorporated in Indian Constitution is due to the efforts of great men like Gandhi.
  • For real development of the country, the village women must be educated.
  • British people forced English language in this country not out of love but they wanted to create slaves to work for them in their offices. We want English because it is world language but we should not be slaves to it. The education system is faulty where intelligent boy or girl necessarily need not pass in the SSCE.  A person getting highest marks in SSCE need not be intelligent because what he or she does is just reciting by heart some of the books like a parrot many a times reciting blindly without following what they do.
    • Though, there are schools teaching primary classes in mother tongue in our villages, we send our children to English Medium schools in cities. We should see that if our children have to learn properly then, their education has to be at the primary level in their respective mother tongues. The parents have become slaves of the English language. Thus, there is no real development of the girl-child due to this kind of faulty education pattern.
    • After passing SSCE or 12th Std., parents in Goa try to find Government job to their daughters. Parents run from this pillar to that post, they go to Sarpanch, they approach MLA requesting for such job. Despite passing the examination and having the qualification, the slavery still exists. Now, why the girl searches a job? The job for a girl is to ensure a good boy for getting married.
    • During her speech, Smt. Pratiksha Gawade was felicitated for her commendable role played during campaign launched against SEZ in Keri village of Ponda. Smt. Madhavi Desai while felicitating Smt. Pratiksha Gawade explained the audience   about how she staunchly opposed this anti-people SEZ project.

Shri K. K. Mani explained the talk in Hindi.

Smt. Jiji Haridas explained the talk in Malayalam for the sake of south Indian audience.

11.15 a.m.

The next session began with a talk by Smt. Surekha Dalvi. The topic of her discourse was “Domestic violence upon rural women”. Smt. Lily Marandi introduced the subject and put her reflections before the audience. Then, she introduced the guest speaker, Smt. Surekha Dalvi and invited her to put up her thoughts before the audience.

Important points discussed by Smt. Surekha Dalvi:  

  • Today is 10th  December.  A day of Human Rights. It is a good coincidence that we are discussing on women rights today.
  • The status of a woman is almost similar irrespective religion, region, caste, education etc.
  • The violence upon a woman is not merely physical. We have to look to our day to day experiences and we shall come to know that there are different types of violence existing and women are falling prey to them.
  • I am not here to guide you. I am here to put before you some of my experience-based ideas.  I hope this sharing of ideas will help you understand certain things.
  • When we say physical violence, the first of such physical violence upon a woman starts from the time of foetal stage. The first violence starts when the thought comes to the mind that the female foetus has no right to live. The thought negating the existence of a girl-infant, when appears in the minds of a mother, the family and the society, the first violence starts here. The mind set up of preferring a boy in a family is the main reason why we see violence starting before the birth of a child.
  • We are social activists wishing to change the society for better. So, we should  begin changes from us, from our own families.
  • We should welcome arrival of a girl similar to that of a boy.
  • The law helps us to solve the problems. But on its own a law can not do anything. Actually in the year 1971, the law is enacted to prohibit the sex determination in the womb. However, the nursing homes are rising in numbers where such determination is done rampantly. Even the abortion is done for a petty price of Rs.70/- and such stickers are openly seen in the trains of Mumbai. Now, these illegal practices are seen every where despite having Law. We all know that in villages there are several traditional ways and means used to abort a child. Due to these cruel and unscientific practices, many a times the women have to die or live with psycho-physical injuries and traumas.
  • Most wicked form of violence is found today due to one-sided love affairs. The boys who do not succeed in winning the hearts of their chosen girls then they resort to inhuman ways like throwing acid on the faces of the girls and disfiguring them. Earlier, we knew these types of incidents were taking place more in cities. Now they are followed by the village-boys also.
    • Now, it is not that the deaths occur more due to the dowry-related issues but, also due to one-sided love affairs.
    • The marriage has become a market today. The brides have price-tags. Those who can afford the price can approach with their girls to them.
    • The attitude towards a woman by a man is like a commodity in the market. A man deserts his wife and remarries to ensure material gains from the second wife. The number of deserted women in the villages is rising day by day.
    • New trend of house-keeping is emerging today. Even many organisations are coming forward to teach the concepts of house-keeping. This training is not for keeping one’s own house tidy and proper but the way a lady should take care of other’s house. The cases of domestic violence are rising due to this kind of house-keeping.
    • Earlier our village economy depended more upon agriculture.  Now, new concept of tourism and entertainment is coming up in our country. And we all know that this new trend gives fast money but in return exploits the women community.
    • In the male dominated society, alcohol and women are considered as matters of enjoyment. Therefore the culture of dance bar and prostitution is increasing day by day in various decent names like tourism and entertainment industry.
    • In the form of divorce, law has given protection to a woman to rid of the cruelty of her husband. The concept of violence is defined in the law for  better safeguard of women’s rights.
    • Though, there are rights for women in Panchayat Raj, when the time comes to voice them, the male members in Panchayat revolt against the women. The main tool to discourage a woman representative is to defame her character and demoralise her.  This is also a serious kind of violence. From various such violences at family, political religious and social level, we can say that the slogan of we are all one, is a hollow one.
    • The self-reliant villages, the self-contented people of villages are getting more and more closer to the consumerist culture. The villagers are now imitating the city life which teaches them to live for just ‘now and here’ and not to think of tomorrow. Different kinds of violence is creeping in due to this new cultural trend, which we see particularly displayed in various TV shows and other mass-media.
    • Smt. Dalvi, later discussed about various aspects of SEZ and how it is going to disturb the peaceful of our village and village economy. She highlighted various demerits of the SEZ because of which we have to oppose it.

Later, there was an open forum. The women delegates raised their problems and queries before Smt. Dalvi and Smt. Dalvi gave satisfactory answers covering the issues in-depth. The vast knowledge and wisdom, with which Smt. Dalvi provided the answers, were appraised by the women delegates.

14.30 p.m.

Shri Soter D’Souza:

(Village Panchayat and Women)

Shri Soter put up following points regarding the above said topic:

  • The 73rd Amendment to the Constitution was brought in order to bestow 33% reservation to women. The noble decision to go ahead with this amendment was to ensure active participation of women in the Indian Politics. However, after 15 years of this Amendment, we have to assess whether the women have really been benefited till date.
  • The 33% reservation for women was first introduced by Maharashtra state and later knowing its positive side, was considered by the Central Government.
  • Today, a really commendable step is taken by Bihar Government to introduce a total of 55% reservation to women.
  • I regrettably admit here that there are lots of books; lots of seminars and workshops undertaken upon women empowerment but in reality nothing substantial is found under Panchayat Raj for women empowerment. Why does this happen? This happens because more of our attention is diverted towards mainly economic progress of women through medium of self-help-groups etc.
    • There are abundant success stories of women entrepreneurship excelling in economic fields but very rarely one will notice any book or article publishing success story of a woman succeeding in political field, particularly in local governance.
    • In Neemkhed of Haryana, the first all women representative body got elected to Panchayat. This was a historic event for India getting women elected in Panchayat and becoming part of decision making body in local governance.
    • Today over 5,75,000 women are elected to Panchayats. Within span of 15 years, women achieved lot of success. However, they have to go a long way.
    • It is easy to make laws but the real problems come during their implementation. We find many problems and hindrances while implementation of 73rd Amendment. We come to know the merits and demerits only when we implement any law.
    • I had an opportunity to discuss with a woman Sarpanch from one of the villages of Goa. She had a long tenure of serving her village in the capacity of a Sarpanch. She was very proud of her long tenure. We are also very happy to see a woman Sarpanch serving her village for such a long tenure. I asked her “what can we learn from your achievements, your successes”? She promptly gave a big list of roads, drains, Panchayat building, various schemes implemented. I again asked her “what is the difference between your Panchayat and other Panchayats”? Other Panchayats also do similar kinds of developmental works. She could not figure out any. What I look as important in success of any Panchayat is not the developmental work alone but the active participation of the people in the Gram Sabha. What I particularly try to find out is the involvement of common men and women in the decision making process through the medium of Gram Sabha.
    • The elected members in the Panchayat are not important but the people who form the Gram Sabha are important. Today, we see the reverse because unfortunately the Gram Sabha has become inactive. What is very important is to empower the Gram Sabha.
    • For real women empowerment to happen, the women must come together, sit together and find the problems faced by them and others and make a strategy to raise them in the GramSabha which is a right forum to address their grievances.

Then, there was an open forum wherein the delegates raised their queries before Shri Soter and got satisfactory answers from him.

15.30 p.m.

The evening session began with talks on health and health related medical aspects by a Following panel of medical practitioners:

Dr. Purnima Usgaonkar

Dr. Mangala (Nadkarni) Tamba

Dr. Vallabh Dhaimodkar

The Doctors were introduced by Smt. Lalan kerkar.

Following are some of the points form the valuable guidance from Dr. Purnima Usgaonkar:

  • Health of the family means over-all health of all the members of the family.
  • Women are the main pillars of the family. So, it is very essential that the women look after their own health. If a woman looks after her health then she can take care of the health of rest of the family, it means children, men and the elderly people of the family.
  • Due to over-burden of work, a woman gets very little time to take her care in a family. She does not pay enough attention to her food and diet.
  • For a woman, food which is rich in iron giving component e.g. cereals, vegetables is very essential. Water is always neglected. Plenty of water is very essential for a woman. All the systems of our body require enough water for their proper functioning.
  • There is a change in life style affecting the food intake. Today, people take food in between very frequently. Today, there is no rationale towards the quality of food, the quantity of food. The food habits are becoming very indiscipline. If we do not take care of ourselves then, it is very difficult for us to guide our children in what way they should follow the disciplined life towards food.
  • The high technology things like filters need to be used with caution. Now, there is a trend emerging where children avoid breakfast. The school going children must have proper breakfast in order to get energy to learn what the teacher teaches in the school. The women should have proper breakfast, at least a cup of milk to work in a better way through out the day.
  • Certain important precautions have to be taken like not putting sour things in an aluminium vessel for long because the vessels get corroded due to the sour things. Steel spoons should not be left in pickles. These apparently small things are very important to be followed to avoid health hazards.
  • Restriction of salt-rich food is important in cases of certain diseases and ailments.
  • Due care should be taken while eating outside food because it is the source of contamination.
  • Every type of a disease has got a specific type of a diet.
  • The undergarments and private parts should be clean because women are very prone to infections. The skin should be kept clean. The towels, the napkins that we use should be clean. There should be no dampness because it causes fungal infection.
  • Mothers should give proper guidance to their children during adolescence stage. With the changing society, adolescence pregnancies are rising. The forced abortions put down the health of the girls.
  • Termination of girl foetus in the womb is very shameful and criminal. We must see that these things do not happen in the society. PNDT is a 21st century problem. We have made it. Earlier, there was no such problem. Ultrasound sonography was meant for good cause, i.e. to find if there is any abnormality with the growing foetus. But what we do? We do not allow the pregnancy to continue after knowing the sex of the foetus.
  • The talk was later translated in Hindi by K. K. Mani with simple and understandable illustrations of the day-to-day life.

Following are some of the points form the valuable guidance from Dr. Mangal Tamba, particularly related to acquired diseases like AIDS:

  • This village was once upon a time very clean and serene. Today, with lot of industries, lot of pollution is also occurring here. However, this Peaceful campus is maintained with natural beauty. We feel the fresh air and greenery of this land and become refreshed with peace of mind.
  • Our life is mainly determined by what we eat. We should take care of maintaining our total health. Many of those who are sitting here must not have checked the haemoglobin content. We are habitual to live in an anaemic stage. This is a sign that women do not pay attention to their health. This is the habit and also a culture of Indian woman to sacrifice for others without much caring for her own health.
  • In 1981, first AIDS patient was noticed in USA. That time, it was thought that the males are only going to get infected by this disease. However, now we see women getting this infection rapidly. The percentage of women infection to that of men is 17 times more. The number of women infection could not be properly ascertained because women are by nature hesitant to come out for medical check-ups. The worst part is that if a woman gets the infection then the child will also get an infection. The dangerous trend is that the infected women so far found are belonging to the fertility periods.  As a result of urbanization and industrialization, the men have to migrate to cities leaving their spouses to their native places. Here, they fall prey to such diseases when they approach to commercial sex workers. The village areas are also becoming more prone to AIDS because the truck drivers coming from these areas pass on the disease.
  • The women are more dependent upon men. So, they can not tell convincingly their male partners to use condoms. This is the main reason why the disease spreads.
  • The instances of child-abuse, particularly girl-child abuse are rising within family itself.
  • We are making lot of progress in the 21st Century at one side and at the other side we see rise in such disease where by the very existence of our future generation is threatened. So, we have to think very seriously about this problem. The men have to come forward to help women in safe guarding their lives and there by also the lives of the future generations. What is more important today is to educate the women community. The curriculum should be designed to incorporate knowledge about this subject.

The third medical practitioner was Dr. Dhaimodkar who spoke on occupational health.  Dr. Dhaimodkar put before the audience advantages and disadvantages of globalization and industrialization upon our health. He deliberated more upon occupational health of men and women.

11.12.2007, (9.15 a.m.)

The morning session began with an experienced talk by Ex-Minister of Goa State Smt. Nirmala Sawant.

She deliberated upon following points related to her topic “Politics and Rural Women”:

  • A woman plays various roles like a daughter, a sister, a wife a mother etc in a family. A woman has to play effectively all these roles in order to make a family happy.
  • A woman should always be respected by a man. There is no difference between a man and a beast if that man does not respect a woman.
  • An important role a woman plays is that of a mother. There is no better Guru (teacher) like a mother.   A woman may be illiterate still she is the greatest Guru because from her way of living, way of thinking, a child learns.
    • When we blame the present generation for behaving irresponsibly, we are also to be blamed fro that.
    • When we talk of politics, there is no need of every one joining it. What we have to do is to elect a right man or woman as our representative. We have to support and energize that person so that he or she shall work for us.
    • First, we should see that we play our responsible role as a family member, then comes our career. Some times people have dilemma whether a career should be first or the family?  If by any way our career affects the growth of our child then, we have to see that we do justice to our children also.
    • The worst victim of the dilemma is a woman who has to give justice to her family, including husband and children and also pursue her career also. In this struggle, what she looses is the concern and care for her own health. What is important here while pursuing career and also shouldering family responsibilities is that the woman has also to provide due attention towards her health and well-being.
    • If any woman aspires to join in active politics then should she neglect her children? She should not join politics at the cost of neglecting her children. A woman has to wait till her children grows and reaches to a certain degree of maturity. This does not mean that a woman has to remain idle in her house. She should attend meetings, do some political ground work. She should also take her children wherever she goes in order that the children also learn from what is happening around.
    • Today, we see women getting engrossed with TV serials and programs. The women are more confining themselves with four walls of their homes. The women entertain themselves with their family, relatives and neighbors. The women must open up their minds and heart to what is happening around them in various fields like politics, science etc. They should see and hear news and try to understand the happenings around them.
    • Unless a woman has good knowledge, she can not play her effective role in politics. If a woman Sarpanch does not know much then, she will have to rely upon her husband or other family member for guidance.
    • If a woman Sarpanch tries to get some information from her other colleagues then, people pass comments. Similarly if a man in the capacity of a Sarpanch tries to get information, people do not have any objection. This is because still we have a male dominated society where women are looked down as subordinate to men.
    • Those capable women who get elected in the Panchayat should also help and support other aspiring women representatives to play their active role in politics. The women should unite together to show their presence and strength in the local self governance.
  • The women are potentially powerful, they are the Goddesses. However, they have to realize and explore their potentialities.

Prema Purav:

Introduction was done by K. K. Mani. He put before the audience the struggling life of Smt. Prema Purav from childhood to this date covering 74 years of her life.

Prema Purav dealt with many topics. She touched upon some of the following important points:

  • In the year 1959, Banks got nationalized due to the initiatives of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in order to seek economic growth of this country.
  • Even today, a woman has not got equal rights. A woman is looked down.  Is not a woman a human being? But there has always been a lower status for women in the male dominated social structure.
  • She narrated her role in Goa freedom movement.
  • She narrated stories about how female fetuses are aborted in various parts of India by citing concrete examples. She mentioned various heinous ways and means used by villagers to end the life of infant girl.
  • We have to accept the truth that both man and woman are essential for the development of the nation.

Smt. Purav’s convincing and inspiring speech based on her own experiences about how women could unite and collectively work for their economic growth was indeed applauded by the audience.

Then, there was a song by Murari Bapu and team about women empowerment, “Badhana hai age badhana hai”.

The declaration for the 2nd National Rural Women Conference was read by Smt. Nirupama Mohanty wherein she resolved as follows:

“We, the women shall develop among ourselves the  spirit of courage, strength and self-reliance. We shall work to educate and make literate the women community and thereby try to explore the innate capabilities that are hidden in them. We shall make effective use of Right to Information Act for seeking women’s rights. We shall use Panchayati Raj Act for empowering women community. We shall see that there is qualitative and quantitative improvement in the women participation during the Gram Sabhas. We shall fight against alcoholism and endeavour to make disease-free village. We shall generate awareness in our own family and also in the society against domestic violence”.

Shri K. K. Mani summarized the sessions of all three days and put before the audience his concluding remarks.

The three-day   National conference of Rural Women ended with Swaraj Geet and National Anthem.

 

3.3           National Training Camp on Woman Leadership

As per decision and out come of national workshop on Re-visiting Gender Policy which held on 23-25 Nov. 2007 at Ranchi, Jharkhand, a 4 days training camp of selected women fellow and coordinators was held on05 – 08 Jan 2008 at Chennai, Tamilnadu. The key objective of the camp was to encourage and provides adequate input to women fellow and coordinator to enhance their leadership ability.  19 selected women fellows and coordinators along with 6 men coordinators took part in it. Ms. Jiji Haridas, Coordinator, NNSS and Mr. Pradeep Das, Coordinator jointly facilitated the camp.

Following key points were put forward for participatory deliberation before the participants;

Ø      Social and political dimension of the leadership,

Ø      Listing of efforts made as Social Activist for last 4 years,

Ø      Positive and negative changes in you while performing as fellow and coordinator,

Ø      Your liking and disliking as social leader,

Ø      Identify your strength as social leader,

Following points emerged through group debate;

STRENGTH:

Ø      There were big difficulties in moving out of the home earlier while starting work as fellow.  The family guardian was extremely discouraging and non-cooperative. Now, they have faith and confidence and faith on us and have become capable to travel alone any where.

Ø      As PDO leader, we came to know various skills, got confidence of talking to government officials and able to bring and implement welfare schemes. Now, capable in moving in the society, mobilising and convincing people and improving skills of running the affairs of the people organisation.

Ø      Able to organise and facilitate various programme,

Ø      Knowing about the Village Panchayat and able to mobilise people to participate in the Gram Sabha.

Ø      More curiosity of about acquiring knowledge and skills. Now the men in the family also respect us for our growing ability and acceptance.

WEAKNESS:

Ø      Still  lack of adequate self-study,

Ø      Lack of adequate work speed,

Ø      Lack of some the necessary skills like typing, accounting, better public speaking, better letter writing and drafting of circular, work presentation and media briefing etc.

Ø      Not so prompt to follow the planned work,

Ø      Dullness, unclear answer

Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani responded on the point of above weakness and said that what ever you have achieved in 2 years as fellow and coordinator is excellent and hats of you. What ever weaknesses are reflected is quite natural and therefore you should not feel pressure of it. It is quite evident from your strength that you are moving in very positive direction and sharing above weaknesses reflects your sensitivity. 2 years is very little time to address above weaknesses while acquiring above stated strength.

POINTS FOR LEADERSHIP:

Ø      Time-planning,

Ø      Office management,

Ø      Good listener,

Ø      Understand others,

Ø      Aware and sensitive on contemporary issues and the context,

Ø       A communicator,

Ø      Greed to enhance ability and skills,

Ø      Self-study,

Ø      Able to mobile resources and use it properly with ethics,

Ø      Always encouraging co colleagues in particular and people in general,

Ø      Fearlessness and truthfulness

Ø      Good rapport with the people

Ø      Conscious about good / positive image,

The participants were requested to keep above parameter of a leader in their mind and make self-plan to imbibe it.

Peace Initiative Report

Strategic Thrust – 5:  Societal Peace

1.1        Bapu Tujhe Salam Yatra:

Time 17.17 pm/ January 30th, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi, the living messenger and actor of non-violence, peace, social and communal amity, self-reliance, self-sustaining development and gender and economic equality was assassinated by a religious fanatic. Even after killing his physical body the religious, social and economic fanatics have continued their violent campaign against his life and messages. In fact, it has reached up to the level of justifying communal, economic and social divide.

On the occasion of 60th years of assassination a campaign to propagate the core message of Gandhiji was organised from his birth place at Porbandar (Gujarat) to his place of assassination at Delhi. The campaign started on 25th January 2008 and ended on his day of assassination on 30th January 2008.

 

A core team of fellows, PDO presidents, advisors, coordinators and associates were selected to participates in campaign. There were full time 72 campaigners out of which 28 were women. The participants assembled at Dwarka, a famous historical and holy place, for their orientation. The mode of transport was basically the train and bus. The schedule of the campaign was following-

 

SN DATE PLACE/ VENUE PROGRAMME
1) 24. 01.08 Dwarka
  • Orientation/ Training  of  participants
2) 25. 01.08 Porbandar
  • Rally
  • Prayer meeting
  • Public meeting
  • Visits of institutions formed by Gandhiji
3) 26. 01.08 Ahmedabad
  • Rally
  • Flag hoisting
  • Prayer meeting
  • Public meeting
  • Visits of institutions formed by Gandhiji
4) 27.01.08 Wardha & Sevagram
  • Rally
  • Meeting with Gandhian organisations
  • Prayer meeting
  • Visits of institutions formed by Gandhiji
5) 28.01.08 Sevagram
  • Prayer meeting
  • Sharing among the participants
  • Addressed by distinguish Gandhian
6) 29.01.08 Delhi
  • Rally
  • Public meeting
  • Sharing among the participants
  • Visit of Gandhian organisation
7) 30.01.08 Delhi
  • Rally
  • Prayer at Birala House and Rajghat
  • Participation in annual lecture (programme of GPF)
  • Sharing among the participants

 

24.01.08 / Orientation Camp:

The camp begins with the detailed introduction of the participants and local organiser. Mr. Mahadeo Vidrohi, an ardent Gandhian activist welcomed the guests and participants. He opined that the beginning of this march for peace and communal amity from Gujarat is a right step because, the world over state has became infamous due to recent communal carnage. He reminded that till recently the state was respected as Gandhiji’s land, which is sadly no more. Prof. D. S. Ker of Gram Vikas Trust, Dwarka gave detail information about socio-economic condition of the area and the struggle of their organisation to protect Dwarka from the cruel hand of SEZ and port promoters. Prof. Ishwarbhai Parmar told in his speech that Gandhiji never came to Dwarka which is famous as holy place of the Hindu. Once upon a time Gandhiji halted in place which was 3-4 km away from Dwarka. Many local people requested him to visit Dwarka. He firmly replied that “how I can visit to Lord Dwarka when my dearer harijans (Dalit) are not allowed”. Prof. Parmar expressed his happiness that though Gandhiji never came to Dwarka but his messengers are here to start a nationwide campaign on the occasion of 60th years of assassination of a great saint of human kind. Ms. Chandniben explained about Berdia Movement. He salted water of the sea is spreading into the area of sweet water due to mindless quarries of stone. Thus, the water scarcity and dust pollution is on rise. We have succeeded through our movement to stop few quarries.

 

25.01.08/ Dwarka to Porbandar:

The early morning foot-march was organised at Dwarka during which the campaigners raised the slogan of peace and amity.

 

The participants moved towards Porbandar by bus where they were welcomed by the local Gandhians led by Dr. (Ms.) Surekha Shah, the trustee of Kirti Mandir (the ancestral house of Gandhiji).

 

 

The participants along with hundreds of local youth and citizen took out an impressive rally in the Porbandar city. All participants were wearing Gandhi Cap which created inspiring aura. The rally converted into a prayer and public meeting at Kirti Mandir. Dr. Surekhaben, Shri Anil Bhai and Shri Arjun Bhai (local MLA) welcomed the participants by garlanding them and with memento. Dr. Surekhaben in her speech said that a spontaneous question comes in every one mind that “what Gandhiji have done today to address current mountainous problem”. She referred about many problems faced by the human beings. She also narrated the childhood life of Gandhiji in Porbandar.  Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani also addressed the gathering. He referred about re-colonisation of our country in the name of economic development. He expressed shock that the Gandhiji organised famous Dandi March to oppose imposition of tax on salt, but the government of independent India shamelessly collecting tax on salt. He reminded that 60 years before on this very day Gandhiji said that “the ministers will not run the government in independent India but its affair will be managed on advises of ideal social worker”.

 

The participants were shown a khadi institution and school founded by Gandhiji. The participants also visited the ancestral house of Gandhiji and Kasturbaji. The participants were also informed about on going khadi and village industries activities by some of the Gandhian organisations.

 

The participants moved from here to Ahmedabad by train.

 

26.01.08/ Ahmedabad:

January 26th is very auspicious day for the country due to accepting an independent constitution for independent India and declaration was made as a republic country on Jan. 26, 1950. Since this day is celebrated everywhere.

 

The participants reached Sabarmati Ashram (an abode – which was established by Gandhiji in 1918 after returning from South Africa. He lived here from 1918 to 1930. He left the Ashram in 1930 at the time of leading famous dandi-march with announcement that I will return here only after attaining freedom of the country)  to attend flag hoisting ceremony, prayer meeting and meeting with various Gandhian organisations.

 

Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani was the chief guest for the flag hoisting ceremony of the Ashram. He hoisted the flag at 8 am and addressed the gathering. Mr. Amrit Modi, the managing trustee of the Ashram along with hundreds of Ashram people took part in it.

A prayer meeting was organised in the main building of the Ashram which culminated into a meeting with representatives of various Gandhian organisations. Mr. Amrit Modi narrated the history of the Ashram and its contribution in the freedom struggle. He also shared information about ongoing activities of the Ashram. He informed that nearly 450 men and women from 14 states are living in the Ashram.   Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani spoke on the objective and message of this Yatra. Representative of GANATAR describe the inhuman working condition of the salt-pan farmers. She said that Gandhi used salt as effective tools of freedom of this country whereas the salt farmers are leading slavery life in independent India. Another speaker gave information about SEZ in Gujarat and increasing displacement of the adivasis.

The participants visited Gujarat Vidyapith (University) which was established by Gandhiji in 1920 to impart education of freedom.

The participants moved from here to Wardha where Gandhiji established his second Ashram from where final non-violent battle for freedom of this country was fought.

 

27.01.08/ Wardha/ Sevagram

The participants arrived here by train from Ahmedabad. They were welcomed at Wardha railway station by various Gandhian organisations. The participants and local supporters moved from station to Magan Sangrahalaya (a reputed Gandhian organisation) in a rally through Wardha city. The participants were welcomed at Magan Sangrahalaya by the representatives of various organisations. Ms. Vibha Gupta of Magan Sangrahalaya, Mr. Kanakmal Gandhi of Nayee Talim Samiti, Mr. Joshi of Gandhi Vichar Parishad, Mr. Sanjay Mate of Nehru Yuva Kendra, Dr. Ulhas Jajoo of Kasturba Medical College and Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani of Peaceful Society addressed the meeting. Here, the participants saw the Khadi and village industries related work of the Magan Sangrahalaya.

 

Now the participants arrived at Sevagram Ashram which was established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936 after the dandi march. The participants took out a rally in around the ashram and saw various constructive works of the ashram. The participants were also shown Gandhiji’s cottage which was a very motivating experience for every one. The participants took part in the evening prayer of the ashram which is based on core messages of all religions. The prayer was the biggest spiritual tool of Mahatma Gandhi of mobilising and influencing the people and giving his messages. It must be remembered that he was assassinated by a religious fanatic when he was approaching his evening prayer meeting. The Secretaries of Nayee Talim Samiti and Ashram Samiti gave detailed information about the history and their works.

 

28.01.08/ Sevagram to Delhi

 

The participants took part in the morning prayer of the Ashram 5.30 am and their after they took a rally in around Sevagram market area.

 

Mr. Thakur Das Bang, 98 years old a reputed Gandhian blessed the participants and said that you are carrying the unfinished task of Gandhiji. He said that the growing economic disparity, social conflicts and imposition of global policies are the great threat to the freedom.

 

The participants moved here to Delhi from train.

 

29.01.08/ Delhi

The participants of campaign for peace and amity arrived Delhi at 5.30 a.m. by the train from Sevagram. They were given warm welcome and extreme chilled weather by the Delhi Railway Trade Union on platform no. 12. The Secretary of the union addressed the participants.

 

The participants took out a massive rally in association with people of Sakarpur (a suburb of Delhi). It was unfortunate that local unit of the ruling party made arrangement of taking advantage of this programme whereas another political party did massive poster campaign to dilute the massage of the campaign. The campaigners held their emergency meeting during the break time of the rally and discussed the situation and decided unanimously to observe fast for self purity and as a protest to political manoeuvring. The local organisers were shocked with such spiritual decision. The campaigners agreed to participate in a public meeting which was specially organised on this occasion after getting assurance from the local organisers that no political symbol will be there. The participants broke their fast after the end of public meeting at 8.30 pm.

 

30. 01.08/ Delhi

On this very day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated exactly 60 years before. The participants paid visit to the Birla House where Gandhiji was assassinated. Now this house is a national monument and managed by the Government of India. The most surprising and shocking things was presence of security guards with rifle. The participants felt that this is utter disregard to the saint who worshiped peace and fearlessness during his life time. He was against of any kind of weapon for any purposes. Well, inside the campus huge arrangement on for massive evening prayer meeting to remember the messenger of the peace. The participants paid their tribute to the departed ‘Mashiha’. The participants also saw photo exhibition and room where Gandhiji was staying.

 

The last and final destination of this campaign was ‘Rajghat’ where the funeral of Mahatma took place. Rev. Jessie Jackson- a great anti-apartheid leader and democrat (who contested twice for the Presidential post) of theUnited States and his son Senator Jackson addressed the participants at the entrance of the Rajghat. Rev. Jackson said that “My life, my movement against racism in United States and life and work of late Martin Luther King were largely inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. This place Rajghat is a pilgrimage for all those fighting for peace, harmony and equality. I thank you all for carrying the message of Mahatma”. A set of five posters on Gandhiji was gifted to Rev. Jackson. Senator Jackson also spoke on this occasion. The participants took round of the tomb of Gandhiji and observed silence.

All religion prayer was recited in front of the tomb.

 

The participants came down to Gandhi Peace Foundation for concluding consultation. Every one turned this campaign as unique experience of their life and an unique opportunity of interacting with the people and activists.

National Report

INDIAN RIVER NETWORK:

3rd National Conference of the Indian River Network (IRN)

from 16th to 18th February 2008 at Sevagram Ashram, Wardha (Maharashtra).

The 3rd National Conference of the Indian River Network (IRN) on ‘River, Global Warming and Globalisation’ was held from 16th to 18th February 2008 at Sevagram Ashram, Wardha (Maharashtra). 188 delegates from 11 States across India came with water from 46 rivers to participate in this Conference.

NAME OF RIVERS

Water sample brought from following rivers-

JHARKHAND

1.        DAMODAR

2.        IZRI

3.        FALGU

4.        USRI

5.        KATGHARA

BIHAR

6.        GANGA

7.        CHANDAN

8.        ANDHARI

9.        BUDHI GANDAK

10.     KOSHI

11.     DAHA

12.     GANDAK

13.     SIKARAHANA

14.     BAGAMATI

15.     DHAKAWARI

16.     KURAR

17.     HARADA

18.     KAMALA

19.     KARI KOSHI

20.     BARERIYA

ORISSA 

21.     MAHANADI

22.     BRAHMANI

23.     BAITARANI

24.     SALANDI

25.     SUVARNAREKHA

KERALA

26.     PERIYAR

27.     CHALIYAR

28.     MEENAKHIL

29.     MUVATTUPUZHA

30.     PAMPA

31.     BHARATHAPUZHA

TAMILNADU

32.     VAIGAI

33.     CAUVERI

34.     THAMIRABHRANI

35.     PATCHAIARU

36.     VAIPARU

37.     BHAVANI

38.     ARIYARU

GOA

39.     ZUARI

40.     MHADEI/ MANDOVI

41.     DUDHSAGAR

MAHARASHTRA

42.     GODAVARI

43.     MANJARA

44.     ASANA

45.     TABRAJA

46.     IZARI

DAY – I (16th February 2008)

Inaugural Session: (9.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.)

The delegates assembled in the campus of Sevagram Ashram at 9.30 a.m. and senior Gandhian leader Mr. Thakurdasji Bang led the delegates in a rally around the campus and finally converged at the Shanti Bhavan (Peace Hall) where the earthen pots containing the river waters were placed near the dais. A little water from the various rivers was mixed by the Chief-guest, Dr. Mukhund Ghare after which a Gandhian prayer was chanted. This was followed by the sprinkling of the river waters on the delegates by Dr. Ghare while the river song ‘Nadiyon Dhire Baho’ (Lets, river flow slowly) was sung by Mr. Murari Sharan and team. Thereafter, the dignitaries Dr. Ghare, Mr. Shivdatt– Secretary Nai Talim Samiti, Mrs. Lalan C. Kerkar –Chairperson of Peaceful society, Prof. Prakash – Convener of IRN and Joseph Karoor – Convener of IRN-South took their seats on the dais. The dignitaries on the dais then welcomed the delegates on behalf of their respective organisations.

The Executive Secretary, Kumar Kalanand Mani delivered the bilingual (Hindi and English) introductory remarks for the Conference.  He welcomed the delegates who had come from distant places. Some of the salient points in the speech are as below;

  • Gandhiji was prevented from continuing his national reconstruction movement by caste and religious fundamentalists who assassinated him on 30th January 1948.
  • Gandhiji while attending the ‘Yagnya’ (oblation) of the king of Rajkot had remarked that by mere ‘yagnya’ one cannot please Lord Indra for rain. Gandhiji further said, “we have committed so much sin with the rule of nature by cutting trees and so on.” It was this important function that Gandhiji had to attend by being absent at the conference in which Late Subashchanraji Bose was re-elected as chairperson of INC leading to consclusions that both Gandhiji and Bose had differences.
  • Gandhiji was the saddest person on the eve of India’s Independence Day of 14th August 1948 which led him to remark as to whether India had achieved real Swaraj (freedom-leading to self-rule) or not. Gandhiji had expressed his anguish over the squabbling between political stalwarts for power.
  • This is the 60th year of damming rivers in independent India which started with Mahanadi in Orissa and Damodar now in Jharkhand. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru who is the father of technologically advance India, had termed such steps of damming rivers as the ‘new temples of independent India’.
  • Gandhiji had repeatedly remarked that freedom does not mean departure of the English man and rule of Indians. He emhasised that ‘angrejiat’ (English pattern of development and way of life) must go.  His eagerness to debate upon the path that independent India should follow was out rightly rejected by the architect of modern India saying that it is not possible for India to be really independent, unless she is a technologically advance country.
  • Now after 60 years of political independence, as citizens we have a lot of experiences which leads to a growing feeling that our independence is facing threats under the agenda of globalisation and endless greed of the corporate houses.
  • Independent India has dammed almost all rivers in the last 60 years at a very high price which has resulted in few benefits like generation of electricity, limited irrigation and access to drinking water in limited areas. The mountainous price that is being paid is heavy deforestation, huge non-ending displacement, in   which Adivasis and other weaker sections are the worst victims, heavy sedimentation, more areas under water logging, rise in poverty, bankruptcy of State, growing dependency over external resources, polluting and poisoning almost all rivers, destruction of biodiversity, and destruction of rural entrepreneurship and rural self-sustained economy.
  •  The modern capitalistic scientists and academic communities are posturing like Gandhiji’s three monkeys i.e. don’t see the Truth, don’t hear the Truth and don’t speak the Truth.
  • While the whole world is crying about global warming there is applauding of SEZs which have the following four meanings;
    1. Special Economic Zones for the top corporate houses,
    2. Special Exploitation Zones of the displaced and the labour,
    3. Special Environmental Zones by grabbing fertile land and natural resources and
    4. Special Elimination Zones by driving poor farmers to suicides
  • U. N’s World Water Development Report 2003 shows that almost 60% of the world’s 127 largest rivers are severely fragmented by dams, diversions and canals.
  • World Commission on dams says that, “the benefits of dams are often exaggerated while the social and environmental costs tend to get under estimated.
  • The denial of ancestral rights to 5 villages resulted in the great epic Mahabharata. Though we have a more religiously active population, it is totally dumb on the issue of displacement of the millions of its own people whose villages are gifted to the corporate houses.
  • SEZ not only denies the human rights and ancestral rights of the people but also the environmental laws, control over every type of resource, with no obligation to the state and the people.

Mr. Mani recalled that, the Indian River Network of Peaceful Society was formed in 1998 and raised the collective concern about protection and conservation of rivers and water bodies. The second Conference of IRN was held at Kochi in 2005 and had resolved to protect and conserve the rivers in India through various initiatives and actions. IRN has taken the following steps;

ü      Two inter-state consultations of organisations and individuals from Kerala and Tamilnadu on the issue of sharing of river water.

ü      Cataloguing the river warriors

ü      River march in Bihar, Tamilnadu, Jharkhand

ü      Consultations and workshops on rivers issues in many states, and

ü      Publications

Citing the worsening situation on the front of environment and ecology, Mr. Mani stated that the nexus between the State and the Corporates has created a cold war like situation in many States which threatens the federal structure of the country.

He reiterated that the conference is devoted to the cause of ensuring the support of the delegates to save the rivers, the people and ultimately mother earth. He further appealed to the delegates to work together tirelessly in proving wrong the predictions of Dr. Stephen Haufkin that the world is in great danger in the coming 50 years.

(The detailed contents of this speech are presented in Annexure)

The introductory remarks by Mr. K. K. Mani were followed by the Key-note address from Dr. Mukhund Ghare. There was a stunning silence when Dr. Ghare remarked, “If I was 25 years old, I would have been a naxalite today. I would definitely have become a naxalite. But at this age of 75 it is not possible. Considering the scenario that is unfolding, if the people take to naxalism there is nothing wrong. The Prime minister calls these naxalites as anti-nationals. I feel ashamed that such a man is a prime minister. The circumstances that he himself has created have compelled people to respond through naxalism. Naxalism is not anti-national; it is about assisting the voiceless people.”

Coming to the theme of the conference, Dr. Ghare highlighted the following;

The primitive man was a hunter and depended entirely on the energy generated by the sun. As a result everything was consumed and there was nothing that got corrupted or disposed as waste. The cell draws energy from the sun and natural resources are created which in turn man absorbs and gets the strength and energy.   Energy drives the thought, whether a person is vegetarian or non-vegetarian and accordingly produced a Bernard Shaw, a P.L. Deshpande, a Valmiki or a criminal. The end product may differ but all is energy.

Initially there were no waste products as in the Paleolithic age man depended on agriculture which used the energy of the soil and nothing from outside. The trees, fruits, organism and waste went back into producing energy.

Dr. Mukund Ghare delivering the inaugural speech

Globalisation may have started with Vasco da Gama discovering India, but Global warming has begun since 1850 with the industrial revolution that introduced coal, oil, natural gas, etc. With mechanical energy there is some loss that takes place and when this displaced energy does not get used up it contributes to global warming. He cited statistics to show how China will consume as much energy as America at present and if that is so what would be the plights of India whose population would exceed that ofChina.

With climate change there will be a rise in sea level resulting in disappearance of existing coastal wetlands, marshy lands which will appear inland. For, example Goa would lose 14% of its existing land to the sea thus making the marshy lands to relocate.

He explained the impact on agriculture, human health, water, wind velocities, and the resultant social impacts on mankind who will have to relocate and survive on less natural resources.

The destruction of organisms and other life in the sea will mean less CO2 absorption which in turn will result in increase in air density and impact agriculture productivity.

The coal mines in Jharkhand are burning underneath while the tribals who stay above these coal mines will experience abnormally high blood pressure with which they have learned to live with.

Increasing heat and cold will impact the human body and reduce life span and increase infant mortality.

He concluded by urging the delegates to be sensitive to the environment and strive to save the rivers and the ecosystems around it. (See Annexure 2 for further details of the presentation.)

The inaugural session concluded with a vote of thanks by IRN Secretary Mr. Joseph Karoor.

Session II (2.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.)

This session witnessed the sharings about the status of rivers and the people’s struggles in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa.

River Chandan (Bihar) – presentation by Bageshwar Bagi

River Kamala (Bihar) – presentation by Swami Rajeshwar Bharti

River Koshi (Bihar) – presentation by Bhagwanji Pathak

 

Floods and Embankments of Bihar – presentation Prof. Prakash

All the speakers presented their picture on the problems that exist in their State due to floods which have become the main cause for panic amongst the people. Around 22 districts, 264 blocks and 11,850 villages get affected by floods due to which around 2, 45, 58500 people are rendered homeless and devoid of means of earning a livelihood for four months. The debate on flood control and relief has been going on since 1928. It was then pointed out that rail lines and national highways were the main cause for obstructing the flow of water, thus leading to floods during heavy rainfall.  From the 58.45 lakh hectares of agriculture land in north Bihar, around 44.46 lakh hectares are flood affected. There are increased incidents of deaths due to capsizing of boat and snake bites. For the people of Bihar floods and water logging has become a part of life. The floods of 2007 are said to be the worst in the history of Bihar’s floods. It left 891 dead and over 2, 30,000 people affected, 5.82 lakh homes destroyed and 29 embankments were washed away. In Koshi itself over 10 lakh people are affected every year as 380 villages are sandwiched between embankments. The flood has driven people to poverty and migration to safer areas like on the sides of rail lines and national highways. The floods have become more of an opportunity for government officers and politicians to siphon huge funds received for relief work.

Prof. Prakash said that erection of embankments which were actually meant for flood controls have actually become the cause of Bihar’s flood problems. The floods of the past used to approach like the frightened cat that crawled slowly, but the present floods come like the roaring tiger. He raised the question, as to the national policies on natural resources and who it benefits.

Adding to the presentations, Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani remarked that the flood situation in Bihar is worsening every year and the people are the ultimate sufferers of faulty policies of development. Even after crores of rupees are spent every year the problems are not decreasing but increasing. The development policies of the Indian government are creating tensions with Nepal and disturbing neighborly relationships of the people. He appealed not to see Bihar only from the angle of political drama but from the angle of total environmental destruction by engineers, scientists, politicians and bureaucrats.

River Mahanadi (Orissa) – presentation Prof. A. B. Mishra

Dr. Mishra began by citing the example of Water common sense which all know. This is that assuming the earth contains 100 litres of water, 97.5 litres of it is unused as it is saline. We have to live with only 2.5 litres of fresh water which is 2500 m.l. Of this, 1550 m.l. is snow, 700 m.l. is in the ground and using it is a costly affair. The remaining 50 m.l. is in the rivers and lakes and the rest around 200 m.l. is in the sub-soil.

He empahsised that even school children learn it but planners, politicians, scientists do not understand it. Even Manu’s artha shastra (Economics by Manu) advises not to throw every night soil in the water.  He narrated about how a Professor friend in Calcutta, with whom he went to stay, when asked about his septic tank, laughed and said that he has released the waste in the canal.  Thousands of Indians do it, Prof. Mishra lamented.

He informed that 2% of the fresh water run-off in this nation is in Orissa. No other State has 10 rivers but Orissa has them. They originate in the hills of Chattisgarh and open into the Bay of Bengal.

However, Orissa’s misfortune is its bauxite, Iron ore and coal reserves. The rivers and the crop lands are suffering because of this mining. This is why the State is poor added Prof. Mishra.

He cited the second report about the Hirakud Dam which had advised against cross river dams. But, these recommendations were ignored and around 30 tributaries small and big are affected by this dam. The promises of flood control through damming was a misnomer, informed Prof. Mishra. He went on to pooh-pooh the tall promises made about hydro-power generation, fisheries, navigation and gardens of which not one target has been achieved.

His study which was published after he started lecturing in the University was the first scientific document which was published on the state of the rivers in Orissa.

Prof. Mishra pointed out that the existing reservoir had lost 40% of its storage capacity due to siltation. According to the opinion of some experts it’s desilting will require that the reservoir will need to be dried up, while some others talk about installing foreign machinery on floaters. Ultimately this is a costly affair according to Prof. Mishra. It would be like piling up 60 mounts of ghee so that Radha would dance.    He also informed that around 250 crores of World bank money was spent of filing cracks with the assistance of engineers from Netherlands.

Recalling his childhood experiences in a village on the banks of the Mahanadi river, Prof. Mishra said that it was a channel for transportation where huge crafts with bamboo and wood sail down stream until around 1960. Mahandi is a never ending story which is the symbol in literature, according to Prof, Mishra. He also pointed out that half the names of the tributaries of river were male and the other half are female. He narrated the instance of seeing a young girl filling a earthen vessel from the river Mahanadi with residue of fly ash and other toxins floating. He found it useless to even caution the girl as she would not understand the implications and the possibilities of causing cancer as these poor people have only this water to prepare their daily meal of dal and rotti.

He said that we blame the multi-nationals but now it is our own nationals, Indian Multi-nationals who exploit the natural resources and threaten our existence.

River Damodar (Jharkhand) – presentation by Chandrashekhar

Describing Jharkhand as one of the most beautiful State, Chandrashekhar informed that river Damodar which travels 563 kms across the State and meets 40 small and big tributaries till it merges in the Hugli river of W.Bengal, is said to be one of the most polluted rivers. The river Damodar which derives its name from Ag Peth meaning bowels of fire is called by several names like Devnad, Rahera, Sapahi, Gagari, Battuki, Gogdaha and so on. The State Pollution Control Board’s report shows that 9000 tonnes of fly ash is unloaded in the river. As many as 20 hazardous chemicals are

known to be present in the water which causes several diseases like diarrhea, jaundice, heart problems, abortions, and so on.  He further informed that from the generation of 1800 mega watts of power from 3 projects of Damodar Valley Corporation and around 400 small and big industries it is estimated that 35 crore litres of effluents ae released in the river every day. Besides this, release of S02 and CO2 from fumes causes the blackening of vegetation and health problems to those who consume these. The Central Mining Research Institute points that 46% of the coal mines of Jharkhand exist in the Damodar valley itself. Damodar river has been the first victim off independent Iindia’s  damming policy in 1948.

The team from Uttarakhand sang a tribal song that created awareness on the importance of river Koshi Uttarakhand wants progress, not destruction – presentation by Dr. Shamsher Singh Bisht

Dr. Shamsher Singh Bisht pointed out that in his 35 years of experience with various movements, the issues of water, forest and land will not be resolved until the political character of the country is changed. He recalled the Chipko movement, Movement for Uttarakhand statehood, Anti-alcohol campaign but the efforts for a national movement on water failed because of differences among activists. He said that we were dictated into observing international events like Valentine Day, and others. But we also have a right to observe the days we would like. So we in Uttarakhand decided to observe the year 2008 as the Year to Save the Rivers. He narrated the story that he has told at all the meeting in Uttarkhand. It was a blind boy who would walk in the dark with the help of a lathi (steak) until one day when a visitor advised him to carry a lamp in his hand. ”A lamp?” the boy remarked, “I am blind and what help will I get from a lamp?” “If you cannot see, at least the others around you will see” said the visitor.   So the boy took the lamp and was roaming when he crashed into another person. “Can’t you see”, remarked the other person. “I can’t see because I am blind, but could you who has eyes not see my lamp?”, replied the blind boy. “Which lamp are you talking about? Where is the lamp?” shouted the other person. The blind boy had not realised that his lamp had blown out and the others could not see him. We are often in a delusion that the path, knowledge and culture we

choose will take us forward until we clash with western influences.

Dr. Bisht said that it looked as if Uttarakhand’s Statehood in 2000 was realised due to World Bank’s influence and not our movement. All projects and dams undertaken in Uttarakhand are the result of World Bank funding and the Chief Secretary and the bureaucrats in government are their agents. Several agitations to protect the water, forests and land have been undertaken over the years. All major rivers like Ganga and Yamuna originate from State but we cannot use the water. The Tehri dam has immersed a centuries old culture along with several villages.  It is big shots in Delhi who decide how much water is to be diverted to Delhi for their utilisation. He lamented that the entire political system is a contractor system and thrives on tendering contracts. He even accused NGOs of supporting some destructive projects all because they get some monetary benefits. He recited a stanza from the song penned by his friend and leader Girish Tiwary Girdah.

He narrated an instance when a friend asked him as to what will happen after all the agitations and rallies. “My answer to him was, what will happen if your studies?”, he said. At least the people will be convinced and aware about the need to protect their rivers, forests and land.

He appealed that wearing coloured caps or dresses and flirting with political parties will not bring unity. Unity has to come by uniting our minds from north to south India. Only then will we be able to save our rivers, forest and land, he concluded.

 

Uttarakhand’s Women on path to conservation of river Koshi – Basanti

Ms. Basanti  who has over 28 years experience of working with movements, but narrated her 4 years involvement with the Koshi Bachao Abhiyan (Save Koshi Campaign). The situation is not different. In every State it is the story of exploitation of natural resources by the government. She organised the women into a group in 2003 to combat the deforestation which threatened to cause severe water shortage within 10 years.  The women were made to understand their plight should water become a shortage for which an article in the local newspapers also helped. For the last 5 years no tree has been cut. There were occasions when some men after drinking challenged the women leadership and decided to play the fool by setting the fire to the jungle. After 3 to 4 instances the culprits were caught and reprimanded. Stone mining has been stopped by the women. Women’s groups, she said, have stopped the transportation of water through tankers and imposed fines. The water mafia tried to use the police to frighten the women but it did not help. The women maintained that the jungle and the water were conserved through their 5 years of efforts and therefore they have a right over the water. The police tried to tell them that the water belongs to the government. They refused to give in and told the hotel owner to throw open his hotel to the government but that they would not allow even a single drop to leave their area. She emphasised that people have to take their rights as no government will give them the rights. This is the way they have set up 90 women’s groups along the Koshi river and all the men, women and panchayat leaders had taken an oath in 2007 to protect the river, their mother. This message was taken across the neighbouring villages through a foot march and the people welcomed them.

This needs to be the approach when it comes to Bihar, Jharkhand and other states. When we protect our resources we develop our right over these resources.  We have to say, the jungle and water is ours. How can the government snatch it then?

The report on the status of Hindan river in Uttar Pradesh was presented by Prof. D.K. Mishra while the Orissa report on Mahanadi river was placed by Prof. AB Mishra.

The day’s highlights were recalled in brief by Kumar Kalanand Mani to end the day’s deliberations. This session was also moderated by Ms. Nirupama Mohanti.

The delegates then participated in the evening prayers at Bapu Kuti ( Gandhiji’s cottage).

DAY II (17th February 2008)

Session I (8.45 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.)

River Vaigai – presentation by P. Annadurai

River Vaiparru (Tamilnadu) – presentation by P. V. Muthiah

River Vadaku Pachaiaru (Tamilnadu)- presentation by S. Thomas

River Thamirambarani (Tamilnadu) – presentation by Kajamodhian N.

The speakers cited the problems of encroachments, sand mining, discharge of waste effluents, industrial chemicals as the main threats to the rivers in Tamilnadu. The newly constructed dams are a hindrance to the water flow. Tamilnadu has 34 main rivers which are affected by modern agricultural practices of fertilizers and pesticides. At several places siltation of rivers is observed, and the emergence of weeds in the middle of the rivers only chokes the fish and hinders the water flow. The increasing sedimentation in dams has decreased their water storage capacity. There exist 17 river basins and 34 tributaries in Tamilnadu. Efforts to protect the rivers have been taken up under the banner of the Tamilnadu River Protection Movement which is made up of several groups and individuals working for the cause of conserving rivers.

Session II (10.00p.m. to 11.00 p.m.)

River Sharavathi (Karnataka) – presentation by G. L. Janardhana

River Godavari (Maharashtra) – presentation by S. Pandere

The state of our natural resources – presentation by Prof. H. N. Desarda

Prof. Desarda said that a water abundant nation has been reduced to a water deficient nation within 60 years of independence. The grandiose plans for linking of rivers are only gouging to further threaten the land and ecology of this country. Several water sources are either destroyed or polluted. He feels that there is enough water to meet the needs of every village but the policy is only or big projects, big profits and big economics. Here is a need to understand the water management systems instead. He dismissed those sitting in the Planning Commission as the most illiterate. He said that the greatest

challenge before everyone is the protection of natural resources. The ground water is like the umbilical chord of the mother earth upon which everything exists. Around 60 crore billion tones of mud is washed away through deforestation and destruction of rivers. Chemicals in agriculture are only destroying the land, water and forests, he added. Therefore, there is a greater need for unity and sustainable development to overcome the threat to our natural resources. He reminded the government that Mahatma Gandhi is not a one day affair but a 365 day duty.

The session was chaired by Dr. M. Ghare concluded the session by summing up the key points along with some information on scientific facts and urged the delegates to imbibe the spirit of questioning everything.

Session III (11.30 p.m. to 12.50 p.m.)

 

Status of Kerala rivers – paper by P. S. Gopinathan Nair which was read by Dr. C. Neelakandan

River Chalakkudy – presentation by S. Unnikrishnan

River Chaliyar – presentation by M. P. Abdullah

River Muvattupuza – paper by Dr. Shaju Thomas which was read by Joseph Karoor

River Pumba – presentation by Gopinathan Pillai

The session was chaired by Joseph Karoor who recalled some of the important  points raised by the speaker and concluded the session.

Dr. C. Neelkandan, renowned activist and nuclear scientist asserted that globalisation is the expansion of capitalism. The main cause of today’s environmental problems is the faulty logic that exists, according to Dr. Neelkandan. He emphasised that there is a need for a biological and environmental logic to overcome the threats to our rivers. Dr. Neelkandan expressed his views in support of the paper ‘The Status of Kerala Rivers’ on behalf of P.S. Gopinathan Nair.  Several examples of successful people’s struggles like those of the Silent Valley, Chaliyar, Plachimada, Periyar and others were highlighted.

Shri S. Unnikrishnan from Thrisur gave a glimpse of the problems facing the river Chalakkudy due to the 7th dam being constructed. The main threat to this river comes from the proposed hydro-electric project and urged the delegates of the conference to support the cause against such a project.

Shri. Gopinathan Pillai explained the problems faced by river Pamba from wastes arising from tourism, hospitals and towns along with sand and granite mining. Shri M.P. Abdullah explained the problems of river Chaliyar due to environmental disastrous activities of mining and deforestation. He also emphasised the need for forming a River Authority to work towards a solution.

Shri. Joseph Karoor who facilitated the session, presented the paper on “Environmental Problems of Muvattupuzha river on behalf of Dr. Shaju Thomas.

Session IV (2.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m.)

 

Dudhsagar river – presentation by Naresh Shigaonkar

River Mhadei – Paper by Ms. Nirmala Sawant which was read by Pinky Naik

Goa’s struggle against SEZs – presentation by Vaikunth (Shashi) Kamat

Naresh Shigaonkar spelt out the importance of the Dudhsagar river to Goa which has been reflected in various cultural facets. The threat to this river comes from encroachments by various constructions and the mining industry which is resulting in siltation of the rivers. Ms. Pinky Naik presented the paper on the struggles to protect the life of river Mhadei which is being threatened by a dam being constructed by the Karnataka government to divert the river waters to the east. She spelt out the repercussions and adverse impact on vegetation and life style of the people in the North Goa district. Vaikunth (Shashi) Kamat presented the struggle of the Goa Movement against SEZs in stalling the plans of the Goa government to permit 18 SEZs in the tiny State. He spelt out the environmental threats as well as water shortage and load on the infrastructure if the SEZs are allowed to be set up in Goa. This session was chaired by Mr. V. Kamat.

Thereafter the paper of Dr. D. K. Mishra on the Status of Bihar Flood of which was postponed due to the non-arrival of the speaker was taken up. Dr. Mishra, renowned engineer and advocate for the protection of rivers inBihar. He expressed his happiness to be working in an area of Kaka Kalelkar who contributed extensive work on the rivers. There was an opinion that Saraswati is the name given to the ground water which supports life of the people, animals and trees. For the economic powers there is no difference between surface water and ground water. Every person involved in the framing of plans of the water from the ministers to the contractor there is nothing but talk about destruction and building. There is no consideration for those elements of life existing in the locality in the making of plans. He ridiculed the engineering studies which according to him does not inculcate basoc common sense which a layperson living in the rural areas possesses. The engineer has to use instruments to understand nature whereas the rural person tells it by experience.

Session V ( 3.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.)

This session was dedicated to a group discussion within every State for developing a common concern and action plan.

The following suggestions were given by Mr. Mani to guide the state-wise discussion

1.       There was an appeal to give national support to the Campaign for saving river Chalakuddy by Unnikrishnan. Such other local issues that need to figure in the declaration may also be suggested.

2.       What should be the format and size of People’s Commission on Rivers, what should be its objectives, time-frame and who should be part of the commission?

3.       A National Consultation with all those who presented papers to chalk out a national action-plan to save the rivers was proposed by Dr. Ghare. Whether there is a need, where and how many days.

4.       Suggest at least 3 points to be inserted in Sevagram Declaration.

5.       Who do you want to depute as IRN member from your State? Members can decide structure for IRN till next conference.

6.       Give some practical suggestions to Dr. Neelakandan’s concerns on how to keep action-groups together, at least spiritually.

The group discussions were held within the delegates from each State. The following points emerged in the report.

  • Generating awareness on the issue within their own States and so on. States like Uttarakhand and Kerala welcomed the delegates for their padiyatras / satyagrahas to take place in the next couple of months.
  • There emerged an unanimous support to instituting a People’s Commission on Rivers for which the structure and objectives must be decided by IRN. Some suggestions were given on the choices for the team. There was also a suggestion that 10 major rivers which are under threat in the country must be identified for conservation programs.
  • There was also a consensus as regards having a follow-up meeting of State-wise representatives of this River Conference some where at the end of April 2008.
  • There was also consensus that as far as possible there must be an attempt to bring together all groups working on the issue of rivers and water within the State. There needs to be at least a spiritual collaboration if not ideological
  • Suggestions were given for the Sevagram Declaration.

Thereafter, the team for drafting the Declaration was selected. The team included- Dr. S. Neelkandan, Prof. D.M. Desharda, Prof. A. B Mishra, Ms. Nirupama Mohanti, Ms. Basanti Ben, Mr. Naresh Shigaonkar.

DAY III (18th February 2008)

Session I (8.45 to 10.15 a.m.)

The Sevagram Declaration was read out to the delegates by the drafting team and various suggestions were taken before finalising the declaration. The Sevagram Declaration was unanimously approved by the delegates.

SEVAGRAM  DECLARATION

Declaration made at 3rd National Rivers Conference held at the sacred land of Sevagram from 16-18th February, 2008.

1.      Rivers are holly life supporting and motherly.  We have the right and duty to see that Rivers flow. It is a crime to dam or restricts the natural flow of the river.

2.      No Individual /organisation have the right to exploit, or encroach or pollute the river. Those who pollute the river should be punished suitably.

3.      This conference supports the entire struggle to save the rivers across the country. This calls all people to involve positively in all these struggles.

4.      The first priority of water is for drinking and household purposes. Then for Sustainable agriculture. The remaining can be used for commercial industry only with the consent of local community and without affecting the environment.

5.      The right over water, Forest and Land will be with the Local Community. The conference strongly opposes the development projects of the private companies in the name of liberalisation and globalisation.

6.      River linking projects are not at all suitable for solving draught or flood problems of our country. The real solution to these problems is integrated develop must at all the river basins from Himalayas to the oceans with the participation of the local communities.

7.      Year 2008 will be observed as Year of Rivers. Throughout the year there will be awareness campaigns all over the country.

8.      20th March will be observed as Right to Water Day and 25th May as River day all over the country.

 

Session II (Concluding session)

The chief guest for this session was Mr. Rajendra Singh of Tarun Bharat Sangh from Rajasthan. He shared that exploitation of water, encroachment on water bodies and pollution are the present day threats in the era of globalisation. He suggested that every year one river needs to be adopted for conservation by organising a river festival or river satyagraha. The increase in land prices, he said, is one of the main reasons for threat to the natural resources.  He has traveled across 144 rivers in this country and has seen the pathetic conditions. Encroachments of water bodies have doubled in the last 2 years. The construction of hotels and airports has threatened the existence of river Yamuna. We are alive because of natural laws but our government goes against these laws. He informed that his colleagues have been strongly lobbying for appropriate Water Policy by the Union Government.

The various dignitaries present and the delegates proceeded to river Paunar   for the immersion of the river waters that was carried to Sevagram from various rivers. After the water pots were taken to Vinobhaji’s ashram on the bank of river Paunar, all the delegates took an oath for protecting their rivers and water bodies.  The water from 46 rivers across the country were then immersed into the river. The oath was given by Mrs. Lalan C. Kerkar, Chairperson of Peaceful Society.  Mr. Joseph Karoor, Secretary of IRN thanked all the dignitaries and delegates who helped make this conference a memorable experience.

 

OATH

a)        I shall respect the river like my mother who gave me holy life.

b)        Conserve (use wisely) water, soil, plants and animals & love human being in every walk of my life.

c)         Learn all possible aspects of rivers & other water system & Help others to learn the same.

d)        Not do anything to cause harmful pollution & be human (Respecting the rights of all forms of living beings)

e)         I will take all efforts to stop misuse and exploitation of precious fresh water & will protect people’s right over it.

 

Mrs. Lalan Kerkar, President, Peaceful Society giving oath to the delegates of 3rd National RiverConference.

 

Tamil Nadu Report

TAMILNADU

Strategic Thrust -1:  People’s Empowerment through LSGI 

2.1    Water Crisis – River & People:-

A one day consultation on the theme was held on 29 Nov. 2007 at Trichirappalli (Tamilnadu). 122 delegates from the State took part.

“Our greed for becoming modern in every field has lead to various crises and water crisis is one among many” was remarked by Mr. Arupathikalyanam, General Secretary Farmer Association, Tanjore.  He further said that we can’t address water crisis problem with current practice of modern forming. The Convenor of Tamilnadu Environmental Lawyer Forum, Adv. S. Martin, said that “age old agreement on sharing river water with neighbouring states has created panic about the future of water availability in the state”. He lamented that the natural cooling factor of water has become a heating factor among the political circle. The people must understand that the water is a natural resource which requires no political games but political vision of exploring it and conserving it for the future. Mr. Annadurai, State Convenor, IRN, expressed his anguish that despite of strong legislations, the industries are not prevented adequately from polluting the rivers. We have enough documentary proof about it. We are facing water crisis also because of growing industrial pollution into water sources. The people become helpless or some time anarchist when they see no action from the state in addressing the core problem likes water. The PIL and people’s action has to go a long way to address this problem effectively. We need to build new culture of water conservation. Ms. B. Vasantha, Chairperson of a women federation remarked emphatically that the man always tend to talk about bigger politics whereas they don’t talk about their own politics with women folk. It is the women, but certainly not the man who is facing the burnt of water crisis. It has reduced few hours of sleep and peace from her daily life. Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani of IRN-Peaceful Society expressed his gratitude towards the organisers for holding the consultation on the key theme of the humanity. He said that the modern life is primarily based on growing consumption and it is completely blind on the values of conservation. The departure from conservation towards consumption is the key of endless number of mountainous problem. He informed the gathering that the great scientist of today Mr. Stephen Hopkins has warned us that the earth is in the danger. How long the modern society will depend on existing depleting resources? We have not yet departed our policy of damming rivers which has proved dangerous in many sense. Why we are discussing on water crisis even after damming all small and medium rivers in our country? He linked water crisis with existing gender discrimination in the society. It is the women who have been left mercilessly to manage the water against any odd. The man and the media bring modernity in the home and the women are expected to carry it efficiently.

He appealed every one to work for modern solution of modern crisis like scarcity of water otherwise the human society will be engulfed in civil war like situation. The consultation ended with following resolutions-

I.      Mobilise people to protect water sources and the forest.

II.      Water polluting industries must be close down

III.      Formation of river conservation committee to protect river Vaigai and Tambirabarani,

IV.      Stop subsidy to the chemical fertiliser and re-invest the same amount on the promotion of organic farming.

 

2.2    State Level River Conference:

The first state level river conference held at Nobili Pastorel Centre, Madurai on 11-12 Jan. 2008. There are 17 main rivers and 32 are tributaries in Tamilnadu.

 

Mr. Antonysamy, the chairperson of Tamilnadu Environmental Forum presided the inaugural function. Mr. Annadurai, IRN Tamilnadu highlighted the status of rivers in the state. He showed a documentary on pollution of rivers by various industries. He gave a detailed account of status of rivers in Tamilnadu. He said that water holding capacity of 8 dams have been reduced to 30% capacity due to heavy sedimentation. This problem has become worst in some area of Vaigai dam where the bottom of the reservoir has rose up to 22 feet due to sedimentation and siltation. He described about growing sand mining which has disturbed the natural structure of the river. Dr. Jivanandan, President, Tamilnadu Green Movement expressed shock on government apathy on the whole range of issues of conservation of natural resources in the state. He said that at one side natural forest cover area has depleted, rivers are becoming dry and at the same time mega projects are proposed around the forested area. The new railway link through dense Satyamangala forest will have irreparable damage of flora and fauna. We need cordial relations with our neighbouring states to meet our needs of water. We must focus our action on conservation of rivers in Tamilnadu. Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani presented the over all scenario on status of rivers in India. He said that though we have adopted a federal structure of governance which is under great threat partly because of the damming of rivers. He gave the example of Tamilnadu which is struggling with neighbouring states like Karnataka and Kerala. Similarly, many states in India are facing a Tamilnadu like situation. The diplomatic relations with the neighbouring country like Bangladesh, Nepal and sometime with China get soared. The millions of people, most of them are aboriginals displaced from their roots and many of them are now untraceable. He concluded the future of the human kind is not in destructive industrial civilisation but it lies only in civilisation of the conservation. He appealed that lets respect the freedom of the river and allow them to flow free. The many participants exploded their anger and experiences on the issues on subjects like sand mining, encroachment of river area, commercial exploitation of river water, toxic plant around river, factory waste in river and alienating common people from their traditional access of the river water.

 

The conference ended with following resolutions-

I.      To work for an integrated water administrative system with people’s active participation,

II.      No development activities in and around hills and rivers which creates pollution and destruction ,

III.      No cultivation of foreign plants specially in hill areas,

IV.      To restore the right of adivasis over natural resources and

V.      To stop sand mining and commercial use of rivers.

 

2.3         Land to landless

There have been continuous efforts towards addressing the problem of landless families. The landless families were identified by survey and applications were submitted to the concerned authority to get land for them. The following chart elaborates the status of effort in these regards-

SN PO & PDO

No. of landless family

Action taken

Outcome/ land received

1. New world PDO

  Paniyoor

42

38

4

  Gomathipuram

54

24

30

  Etticherry

61

32

29

  Paruvakkudi

58

43

15

  Kuvalaikkanni

67

35

32

2. Bharath PDO

  K. Vahaikulam North

48

9

  K. Vahaikulam South

29

11

  Periya Solandi

36

13

  Pasi Kulam

14

2

  Purasalur

47

7

3. Saral PDO

 

 

 

  Vandari

66

17

2

  Annaikaraipatti

35

4

  Meyyanoothampatti

33

6

6

  Sangaralingapuram

47

5

5

  Ramasamyapuram

27

2

2

4. Mahatma Gandhi PDO

 

 

 

  Thambipatti

102

89

In process

  Maharajapurma

106

74

-do-

  Mathur East

112

62

-do-

  Mathur North

98

62

-do-

  Rengapalayam

74

-do-

5.     Annaitheresa PDO

 

 

 

  Shunmugapuram

33

19

4

  Pappaiahpuram

25

2

  Alangarapperi Keelur

20

20

10

  Kuppakuruchi Mettur N

21

18

  Kuppakruchi Methur S

27

25

5

6. Vidial PDO

  Kumaresan Nagar

8

4

  Kattunaicken Nagar

4

3

  South Kalugumalai

71

12

  Thullukar Patti

25

8

  Ketchilapuram

49

5

7. Azhagai PDO

  Chemponvelai

27

  North Payode

25

  Ettamadai Barathot street

35

  Pilavahal Velai

50

  Ranger office Back side

32

8. Pashumai PDO

  Indiranagar

31

28

5

  Thatchankulam

17

12

6

  Malaiadi

41

22

9

  Bethaima

7

4

  Selvaputhakulam

9

7

3

9. Vidivelli PDO

  Thangaiyapuram

19

3

1

  Manattur

21

2

1

  Sokkanur

18

11

2

  East Chempur

21

2

2

  West Chempur

20

13

1

10. Bharathi PDO

  Athipatti

23

11

  Sembatti

28

6

  Puliyuran

64

41

21

  Pannaimondradi

  Thiruvivundalpuram

11. Marutham PDO

  Lakshmiyapuram

48

13

  kattapuli

51

21

  Mavadi

84

26

  Vengalapottal West

59

18

  Vengalapottal East

74

27

 

Strategic Thrust – 3:  Gender Equality

 

3.1            Rural Women Conference:

A two-day conference of rural women was organised on March 11-12, 2008 at Mathur in Virudhunagar district. The conference started with a rally of delegates which was flag off by Ms. A. Mariammal, Police Sub-inspector. The slogans regarding women rights, prohibition were raised by the women delegates.

The conference was inaugurated by lighting of the traditional lamp in the hands of Ms. Muniammal, President of Mahatma Gandhi PDO, Mathur and Mr. Ramdoss, President Village Panchayat. In her inaugural remark Ms. Muniammal expressed thanks for getting opportunity of bringing man – woman together in PO and PDO.  She said that I have been attending various programmes from my village level to the national level since becomingPO and PDO president. What I see within myself that a new Muniammal is emerging as woman leader. I am proud to perform such a role. I have now some information regarding human rights and women friendly legislations. Still I do feel lot of things have to be done for emancipation of the women. She thanked for organising an exclusive conference for the women.

Ms. Rajam, Senior fellow, welcomed the delegates. Ms. Pushpam spoke about present status of the rural women specially of the poor and dalits. She emphasised that overall status of the poverty ridden women, most of them are dalit have not changed even after 60 years of independence. We have been struggling in creating self confidence among them and uniting them for their self-reliance. The women are not finding adequate time from their overloaded domestic work for understanding and addressing their key problems. Every activity towards development of the rural women with more focus on poor and dalits needs long term intervention and strategies. Creating self-confidence among them and uniting them is the first task which we are doing under the banner of PO-PDO and GMM. She said that we are working very hard for the women’s equal status in every sphere of the Swaraj process. The women have been elected to the village panchayats in big numbers which is a silent revolution. However, such women need constant support in building their capacity.

Mr. Balarasu, a peace activist, spoke in detail about ‘Panchayati Raj and Women’.  He thrust upon capacity building of women in panchayati raj for their effective role. He said that the 73rd constitutional amendment has opened good opportunity for the women. Prof. (Ms.) Rajeshwari, Advisor, Tamilnadu, delivered a speech on protection of women from Domestic Violence Act. She appealed the delegates to secure quality and adequate education for their girl child as well.

The conference ended with the determination to work for 100% literacy among the women, violence free village and land to every landless woman.

3.2            Women Education Programme

The women education campaign was organised from March 8-20, 2007 in all operational area. This resulted in undertaking literacy programme specially for women. The following chart explains about the progress in this direction-

SN POs No. of centre No. of beneficiaries
1. New world PDO    
  Paniyoor

1

37

  Gomathipuram

1

32

  Etticherry

1

31

  Paruvakkudi

1

33

  Kuvalaikkanni

1

34

2. Bharath PDO

  K. Vahaikulam North

1

34

  K. Vahaikulam South

1

28

  Periya Solandi

1

19

  Pasi Kulam

1

21

  Purasalur

1

47

3. Saral PDO

 

 

  Vandari

2

32

  Annaikaraipatti

3

47

  Meyyanoothampatti

2

16

  Sangaralingapuram

1

17

  Ramasamyapuram

1

19

4. Mahatma Gandhi PDO

 

 

  Thambipatti

1

32

  Maharajapurma

1

19

  Mathur East

1

22

  Mathur North

1

24

  Rengapalayam

1

7

5. Annai theresa PDO

 

 

  Shunmugapuram

1

7

  Pappaiahpuram

1

11

  Alangarapperi Keelur

1

14

  Kuppakuruchi Mettur N

1

8

  Kuppakruchi Methur S

1

9

6. Vidial PDO

  Kumaresan Nagar

  Kattunaicken Nagar

-13

  South Kalugumalai

1

18

  Thullukar Patti

1

21

  Ketchilapuram

1

7. Azhagai PDO

  Chemponvelai

1

17

  North Payode

1

11

  Ettamadai Barathot street

2

33

  Pilavahal Velai

2

41

  Ranger office Back side

1

19

8. Pashumai PDO

  Indiranagar

  Thatchankulam

  Malaiadi

  Thatchankulam

1

16

  Malaiadi

1

21

9. Vidivelli PDO

  Selvaputhakulam

1

9

  Manattur

1

12

  Sokkanur

1

7

  East Chembur

1

13

  West Chembur

1

7

10. Bharathi PDO

  Athipatti

1

23

  Sembatti

1

17

  Puliyuran

1

26

  Pannaimondradi

  Thiruvivundalpuram

11. Marutham PDO

  Lakshmiyapuram

  kattapuli

  Mavadi

  Vengalapottal West

  Vengalapottal East

 

 

Strategic Thrust – 4:  Strengthening PO, PDOs and Self-reliance of the Village

4.1    Strengthening PO & PDO:

Series of periodical review meetings were organised to ensure the proper growth of PO & PDOs and implementation of the planned programmes. The state coordinator paid regular visits to each PDO.

–          22 functionaries of the PDO took part in the national workshop held on Oct. 8-10, 2008 at Peaceful Society, Goa.

–          11 (new and senior) fellows took part in second national training which held on Oct. 25-30, 2008 at Peaceful Society, Goa.

Kerala Report

KERALA

1.1    Implementation of Government Schemes:

Orientation camps were organised in association with four People’s Development Organisations (PDOs) on various governmental welfare schemes. A booklet on Government schemes applicable to Kerala was printed during the previous reporting period and the same is being distributed among key members of organisations and functionaries of the Village Panchayats (VP). The booklet has become a key source of information and awareness building on and about government welfare schemes.

 

The list of beneficiaries was prepared and the applications to obtain the benefit under Balika Samridhi Yojana, Widow Pension, Pradhan Mantri Rojagar Yojana (PMRY) were submitted by village information centres. The fellows did constant follow up with the beneficiaries and the concerned department in order to avail the benefit. 76 men and women have benefited under the above schemes. The list of beneficiary was confirmed by the Gram Sabha (village council).  Necessary forms were distributed, filled up and same submitted to the VP for obtaining the benefits under NREGA.

                                                                                             

1.2    Strengthening Gram Sabha:

The fellows are playing a facilitating role towards the strengthening of the Gram Sabha (GS). The fellows have become a supporting hand between the Village Panchayat (VP) and Gram Sabha of the local panchayats. The fellows in association with the VP played a key role in motivating the people to attend and participate in the Gram Sabha. The fellows contribution in the gram sabha has resulted into qualitative and quantitative participation and better follow up. This process has also strengthened the co-operative relation with the panchayats. The list of beneficiaries was finalised by the working committee of the concerned panchayats. Ms. M. Geetha, a fellow, who is one of the working committee members played a crucial role in identifying the true beneficiaries for the confirmation by the working committee. Accordingly the village Panchayat notified the names for discussion by the gram Sabha. Thereafter the forms were distributed to avail the benefit for the deserving beneficiaries.

 

1.3    Village Cleaning Drive:

The Kerala State had faced a severe epidemic problem of ‘Chiken Guniya’ during the monsoon season of 2007. It was one of the biggest threat to human life in the state. In the worst affected areas the army was called in to prevent and arrest the further spread of Chiken Gunia. The 5 Pos work area in which village cleaning programmes were organised suffered less impact from Chiken Gunia. The village cleaning drive is one of the task/ programme towards making an ideal village. The drives were organised in 20 POs on Oct. 2nd, 2007; Nov. 13th 2007, Dec. 20th, 2007 and March 11th, 2008. The hospitals, primary-middle-high schools, playgrounds, exercise grounds, market area and other common centre were cleaned.  164 village volunteers, primarily the PO members took active part in the cleaning drive.

 

Strategic Thrust 2:  People’s right over Natural Resources

KERALA

2.1    Land to Landless:

A fresh survey of landless families was conducted by the fellow, Ms. M. Geetha. She identified and made a detailed list of 40 landless families in her five village area around Ambalpuzha. The landless are deprived of availing various benefits from the bank and the government because of not having assets like land. Continuous follow up between the beneficiaries, village panchayats and the revenue department were made in order to get land for the landless in the area of 4 PDOs. Necessary applications were submitted to the village Panchayat and concerned department with a copy to the state-minister Mr. G. Sudhakaran. Total of 38 families submitted the application in prescribed Performa for the land. Application on behalf of 40 families was submitted.

 

2.2    Participation in State Level Conference at Madurai (Tamilnadu):

Mr. Joseph Karoor, Advisor Swaraj-Kerala, Ms. M. Geetha, fellows and Ms. Jiji Haridas, Co-ordinator NNSS took part in the state level river conference which was held on Jan 11-13, 2008 at Madurai. The social activists, environmentalists from Tamilnadu had taken part in this conference and shared their concerns over the growing degradation of rivers and other water bodies in Tamilnadu State. It was a good learning opportunity for the participants from Kerala.

 

2.3    Participation in 3rd National River Conference:

14 people which included fellows and river basin activist/ scientist participated in 3rd National River Conference held on Feb. 16-18, 2008 at Sevagram (Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram). Six papers on following themes /subjects were present from the Kerala side at the conference-

1.         Environmental Problems of Muvattupuzha River (Kerala)

2.         Dams and Rivers of Central Kerala: Time to Rethink River Basin Development

3.         The Degradation of River in Kerala & Its Environmental Impact

4.         Athirappally Dam Struggle in Kerala: Triggers the Need for River Basin Restoration

5.         The Status of Kerala Rivers

6.         The Holy River Pampa: Crying Out for Help

2.4    Village Conservation Committee:

The VCC of Santhampara PDO undertook the production of organic farming in the area with special thrust to prepare organic manure. The surrounding has more cultivation of various spices. The proper training for making organic manures was imparted through the spice board. The board gave subsidy of Rs. 1500/- per earthworm pit of the size of 10×3 fts to six farmers. The committee has decided to include more farmers in this programme.

 

Strategic Thrust – 3:  Gender Equality

 

KERALA

3.1    Women Education : 

The 100% literacy/education among the women is one of the key target towards making an ideal village. Three women education centres in Ambalpuzha PDO, two each in Chadayimangalam PDO, Angadi PDO and Santhampada PDO are run in which 46 women are taking part. They have been motivated to learn the alphabets and basic reading and writings. This centre has also become a centre of rural women where they share their domestic agony, feelings, experiences, dreams, plans etc. Such sharing provides them opportunity of leanings from each ones reflection and togetherness. The women education centre also enables the women to improve the functioning of the ‘Grameen Mahila Manch’ (GMM), Self Help Group (SHG).

 

3.2    Meeting of the GMM & SHG:  

The following meeting of various SHGs held during the reporting period with the aim to improve its overall functioning.

 

SHG

Date of Meeting

POs Name

Production/ Sales

Annapurna 14th Dec. 2007 Komana Garments
Vandana 25th Jan. 2008 Kukkazhom West Umbrella
Shree Raman 21St Feb. 2008 Komana West Food stall
Pruthawi 26th Feb. 2008

4th March 2008

Komana Curry Powder, Soap and soap powder

 

The Shree Raman SHG was formed on 2nd Oct. 2007 by the PO, Komana west. 16 women are member of it. This new SHG meets on every Thursday. The Vandana SHG was form on 3rd Oct. 2007 in which 15 women are the members. This SHG meets on every Saturday.

 

3.3    Propagation of prevention of domestic violence act & Child Act:

The Santhampara PDO organised series of awareness programme like workshop, training camps, talk, etc. to propagate the Act. The Act ensures the domestic violence free life of the women. The services of district probationary officers were availed in imparting training of the Act. Ms. Jiji Haridas, fellow got intensive training and learning about the Act in the training programme organised by the state authority.

 

3.4    Vocational training for women

A two-days training camp on paper bag making was conducted by Santhampara PDO jointly with Bapuji Krishi Vigyan Kendra on Nov. 15- & 16, 2007. 53 women from 5 PO participated in this camp.

 

Another similar training programme was conducted on January 16-17, 2008 to learn Banana Fibre Striating and article making. It was organised by the Santhampara PDO jointly with Bapuji Krishi Vigyan Kendra.

 

Another similar training programme was organised to teach Folder Making, X-Ray Cover Making, Chock Making and Screen Printing on Jan. 2 to 26th March 2008 at Panchayat hall Santhampara. 48 women members from 5 POs took part in this training course.

 

A tailoring centre is running at Santhampara PDO office imparting tailoring skill to the needy girls and women.

 

Strategic Thrust – 4:  Strengthening PO, PDOs and Self-reliance of the Village

KERALA

 

4.1    Village information centre:

The village information centre has been opened in all PDO to enable members of POs to obtain the benefit of various welfare scheme of the government. The centre assigns and imparts training in the benefit of members and filling various forms for getting the benefits. The following benefits were obtained because of centres efforts-

Type of Benefits

Nos.

Position Certificate

134

Income Certificate

50

Ownership Certificate

29

Residential Certificate

20

Widows Pension

9

Agricultural Labour Pension

20

General Petition

24

 

4.2    Distribution of RTI books

The Santhampara PDO distributed a book on Right to Information Act published by Govt. of Kerala. Ms. Jiji Haridas took training on the RTI organised by District Information Office of the state government.

 

4.3    Case Study

Finally Bindu Rajesh got the House Number & Electricity Connection

One day, Ms. Bindu Rajesh from Ten-acre PO approach to village info centre run bySanthampara PDO. She narrated her story that not getting house no. from the panchayat. She built a small houses 2 ½ years before but haven’t got electricity connection due to not having the house number allotted by the VP. The Panchayat stating two reasons behind not allotting the house number- 1). The land document was in the name of her mother and  2). Asking her to submit plan of house dully signed by a engineer. The engineer was asking a hefty fee to do so which poor lady was not able to pay. The Village Information Centre (VIC) took the case and prepared an application in the name of her mother with the statement that the house was built before 31 June 2007. She also raised her firmness to application that the issue will be raised with the help of PO members in the forthcoming meeting of the gramsabha. She got the house number with a week and electricity connection within a month with this approach of village information centre.

 

4.1    Strengthening PO-PDOs:

Monthly meeting of the GB & EC of the PO-PDO were organised to review the progress and plan to fill the gaps. Such meetings have also discuss time to time about the progress of activity like- Implementation Of Governmental Welfare Schemes, Land To Landless, Village Cleaning Drives, Women Education Centre, Village Conservation Committee, Grameen Mahila Manch, Strengthening Village Panchayat and participation in various programme at state, regional and national level.

 

Seven state level fellows meet was organised with the aim to review the progress and plan accordingly. In some of the meeting Kumar Kalanand Mani, Project Director and Mr. Paulraj, Co-ordinator Swaraj Tamilnadu (special charge to Kerala) was also present. Mr. Paulraj also visited and hold meeting with the functionaries of PO & PDO in Angadi, Santhampara, Ambalpuzha and Chadayimangalam.

Maharashtra Report

MAHARASHTRA

Strategic Thrust -1:  People’s Empowerment through LSGI

1.1    Implementation of Govt. Welfare Scheme:

There has been constant effort to propagate and implement Govt. Welfare Scheme in PO-PDO area. The following activities have been done so far-

a.)       Cleaning of drinking water wells and storage tanks with the help of primary health centre in five villages of Almala PDO.

b.)       82 men and women got work under NREGA at Azadnagar

c.)       31 applications for Ration Card had been submitted out of which 13 families have got it.

d.)       Approval of 3 water tanks in Kabnoor has been obtained and governmental procedure for construction has been initiated.

e.)        Seven girls were given bicycles under Serva Siksha Abhiyan scheme.

Strategic Thrust – 3:  Gender Equality

3.1            Women Education:

Name of the PDO

Enrolment of girls

Number of women become literate

Education centre

PDO- Almala

25

1

PDO- Sugaon

8

18

2

PDO- Manjari

5

14

2

 

3.2            SHG

Following SHGs were formed during the reporting period-

 SN SHGs Place

Transaction (in INR)

1. Ahiliyabai Mahila Bachat Gatt Ramnathnagar

9800

2. Pragya Mahila Bachat Gatt Abika Nagar

27200

3. Ramai Mahila Bachat Gatt Ravivar Nagar

41000

4. Prabudhha Mahila Bachat Gatt Brahman Nagar

8500

5. Sailani Mahila Bachat Gatt Azad Nagar

21000

6. Sudhakar Rao Mahila Bachat Gatt Azad Nagar

3000

7. Sarvangin Mahila Bachat Gatt Nevali

25000

8. Savitribai Phule Mahila Bachat Gatt Nevali

25000

9. Samkimata Mahila Bachat Gatt Munkid Landa

43000

10. Ramabai Mahila Bachat Gatt Kabnur

8300

11. Nav Nirman Mahila Bachat Gatt Bhawani Nagar

8400

12. Ramkamala Mahila Bachat Gatt Devala Tanda

3600

13. Jivan Jyot Mahila Bachat Gatt Makani

1080

   

TOTAL

224880

 

Strategic Thrust – 4:  Strengthening PO, PDOs and Self-reliance of the Village

4.1    Strengthening PO & PDO:

The coordinator holds periodical review meetings of PDO executive body in order to ensure its active presence.

The participation of PDO functionaries in following regional and national programmes has enriched their perspective and working ability-

a.)       9 PDO functionaries took part in the national workshop which held on October 8-11, 2007 at Peaceful; Society, Goa

b.)       4 fellow took part in second phase of training which held on

SN EVENT DATE VENUE PARTICIPANTS
1. Operational training Oct. 8-11, 2007 PS, Goa 5 PDO functionaries, 4 fellow and coordinator
2. Fellow refresher training Oct. 25-31, 2007

-do-

4 fellow and coordinator
3. National conference of rural women Dec. 8-11, 2007

-do-

21 women and coordinator
4. National training on women leadership Jan. 5-8, 2008 ICSA centre, Chennai 1 woman fellow and coordinator
5. Bapu Tujhe Salam : Peace Yatra Jan. 25-31, 2008 Dwarka-Porbandar-Ahmedabad-Sevagram-Delhi PDO president, 4 fellows, advisor and co-ordinator.
6. National River Conference Feb. 16-18, 2008 Sevagram (Maharashtra) PDO functionaries, Fellow

Coordinator and others

7 Exposure Visit (Barh Sahjivan Sammelan) Feb. 16-17, 2008 Khagaria 2 fellows
8 Review meeting with EED & FMSF representatives Mar. 18-19, 2008 Purnea 2 fellows
9 Fellow Forum Mar. 27-31, 2008 Peaceful Society, Goa Co-ordinator and fellows

 

Orissa Report

ORISSA

Strategic Thrust -1:  People’s Empowerment through LSGI

1.1    Consultation on National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. (NREGA) 

Five consultations with the PRI members in Shapur Gram Panchayat (GP), Bental G.P, Khandatara G.P of Bhadrak dist & Kadua G.P of Puri dist & Maichheli G.P of Nayagarh Dist were organised from 20th to 31st Dec 07. The objectives of these consultations were:-

1.      To know more about NREGA,

2.      To foster a good relationship with the PRI for the better implementation of NREGA

3.      To involve right people in this work and

4.      To recognize our PDO in panchayat level for the Programme & involvement of our PDO.

Fellows, Coordinator, PDO presidents and functionaries of the village Panchayat took part in the above consultations. It was agreed that the PDO will assist panchayats in identifying the beneficiaries under NREGA scheme. 18 rural poor of Tavapalli PO of Nayagarh dist. benefited from this scheme.

 

1.2    President of Rural Women Front (GMM) become Dy. Sarpanch:

Mrs. Rukmani, 47, member of the Swaraj Jan Bikas Sangthan Kashindpur become the Dy. Sarpanch that too without any political and caste support. She has been capacitated through the Swaraj processes since the last 6 years. She was the first lady in the history of local village panchayat who vehemently opposed the act of Sarpanch and Panchayat Secretary of taking signatures of the participants of the Gram Sabha on blank paper. She got popularity among members of the Gram Sabha through this courageous act. She becomes the conscious keeper of the Gram Sabha which finally resulted in becoming the Dy. Sarpanch of the Village Panchayat.

Strategic Thrust 2:  People’s right over Natural Resources

2.1    Land to Landless

A state level campaign on land to landless was organised from 9th to 20th Sep 07. The follow-up meetings were organised in 20 POs of 4 PDO of Bhadrak, Puri and Nayagarh dist. Review of the post campaign initiatives was done in the meeting. There are 219 landless families in four PDO areas. The list of probable landless was submitted to the concerned local authorities. The fellow along with PDO functionaries undertook constant follow up with the Revenue Officers to ensure speeding up the action on submitted applications for land.

The Tahasildar deputed the Revenue Inspector of the respective areas for field verification. As a result of constant follow up, the Tehsildar selected 28 landless families from Tavapalli, 4 from PDO Dhanitri to get land under Vsundhara Scheme. Out of them 17 landless from Tavapalli of Nayagharh district received land patta on dated 22nd Feb. 2008.

 

2.2    Plantation by Forest Conservation Committee (FCC) :-

The FCC has been constituted in every PO. The FCC of Swaraj Jan Vikas Sangathan – Tabhapalli planted 3 acres of deforested land in October 2008. The local forest department provided three thousand saplings which were planted by Bhuin Ragadi PO. Mrs. Gandari Jani a tribal woman leader and vice president of PDO was exposed about land related problems and government schemes for landless during our campaign on Land rights. She mobilized people to take land from the hand of people who were possessing land illegally. 6 acres of land has been recovered from land-mafia with the support from people and government officials. The plantation has been carried out on this recovered land. This is one of the outcomes of the “Land-Rights” campaign organised in Sep 08.

 

Strategic Thrust – 3:  Gender Equality

3.1    Formation of SHG-

The following 8 Self-Help Groups (SHG) are formed during the reporting with the aim to create opportunity of self-employment for the poor women. The adequate motivational and capacity enhancement activities were conducted before the formal formation of the SHG. This was done with the aim of sustainability and better functioning of the SHG.  The SHG has adopted economic activities like cultivation of sunflower, Banana and vegetables, leaf plate making, Dairy & Goat rearing etc.

PDO Name of SHGs Date of formation
PDO – Dhanitri Maa Jageswari

13.11.07

PDO- Tvapalli Tulasi

15.12.07

  Sanskar

17.01.08

  Maa Sukarmalli

17.01.08

  Maa Gayatri

15.12.07

PDO-Gopalbindha Budhijagulai

26.11.07

PDO-Mauda Subamamukhi

10.01.08

  Maa Mangala

10.01.08

 

3.2    Women literacy programme (WEC):-

12 literacy camps are running in 5 PDOs in Orissa with the aim to make all women literate and ensure enrolment of all drop-out girls. These Centers are being run with the support of SHG, GMM and PO. Following are the achievements so far;

  • 192 have become literate.
  • 16 girls admitted in SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan),
  • 18 are admitted in the school

The Impact of literacy campaign – Those women who got literate have confessed publicly that they are emerging from a shameless situation of being illiterate and feel proud that they are no more thumb impression giving women.

 

3.3    Participation of Rural Women Front (Grameen Mahila Manch) members in National Women Conference- :-

There are 25 GMMs in 5 PDOs consisting of 984 members. GMM is a platform for village women to build a greater network among themselves, to fight against the social injustice, violence & make them self reliant.

Efforts are made towards capacitating these rural women through various local, state and national level programmes. In this connection 42 GMM members were participated in 2nd National women conference at Peaceful Society, Goa from 9th Dec to 12th Dec 07 whereas 119 participants participated in the State Women Conference at Abhaypur (Orissa) from 14th t015th March 08.

 

3.4            State Rural women conference:

A two-days State Rural Women Conference was organised from 14th & 15th March 2008 at Abhaypur. The theme was – Rural women in 21st century-challenges & opportunities. 119 female and 9 male took part in this conference.

Objectives:-

a)         To develop an understanding among women on their rights,

b)         To educate women about their role in social change,

c)         To make them aware about their social-economic status,

d)         To ensure women participation for their self-reliance

119 women and 9 men (mainly coordinator and volunteers) from PO, PDO, GMM, SHG and associate organisations took part in it.

Following subjects were highlighted in the conference by the resource persons;

§         Social, political, cultural and educational situation of  the women education,

§         Women & health

§         Domestic violence with the women and law

§         Empowering rural women through economic Self-reliance.

§         Right to information

The conference was inaugurated by lighting of the traditional lamp in front of the portrait of Kasturba and Mahatma Gandhi by the PDO president, guest, state advisor, co-ordinator, senior colleagues. Following schedules were followed during the conference,

§         Introduction of the guest

§         Welcome address & objectives of the conference by the State Facilitator

§         Reflection of national and state level women conferences,

§         Open forum

§         Swaraj Samman

§         Cultural Programme

§         Declaration

§         Vote of thanks.

Key Problem’s of uneducated women by Mrs. Khurshida Begum:-

§         Unable to take care of own health,

§         Deprived from her traditional and legal rights,

§         Maximum possibilities of loosing opportunity of Govt. / Non-government welfare schemes.

§         More exploited /abused / harassed and tolerating physical violence,

§         More dependency.

Why the women deprived from their rights?

§         Illiterate

§         Unknown to their rights

§         Negligent & disinterested  guardianship

§         Hostile social conditions

OPPORTUNITY FACILITY
v         Anganwadi

v         ECC center

v         EGS

v         Abasic Bidyalaya

v         Kanyasram

v         Balwadi

v         Child labour school

v         VECIMTA

v         Balika samrudhi yojana

v         Janani surakhya yojana

ü      Mid-day meal

ü      Dress

ü      Reading &writing materials

ü      Financial aids

ü      Latrine facility in school

ü      Drinking water

 

She reflects upon comparative analysis of status of the women of various countries and states. Where literacy rate is high the situation of women is comparatively good to some extent. The status is as follows:-

 

Developing countries

women

literacy %

Life span

mothers death at the

time of delivery In every 1000

Infant mortality

rate in every 1000

participation m devt activities

Norway

100

78.9

6

4

59.9

Australia

100

79.2

6

56.4

Kanada

100

79.3

5

60.5

sweden

100

80.1

5

3

62.7

pakistan

28.5

61

530

83

36.3

Chaina

86.5

71

53

31

72.5

Africa

85.3

47.7

150

52

47.8

India

54.16

63.9

407

63

42.8

State in India

87.86

75.8

198

10

15.3

Kerala

Punjab

63.55

68.6

199

51

18.7

Kamatak

57.05

60.5

195

55

31.9

Maharastra

67.5

66.2

135

45

32.6

WB

60.22

63.1

266

49

18.1

Orissa

50.97

56.6

367

87

266

 

Women Education is very important for the real development of the women. She also described how women are facing problems as a daughter, wife, mother and as member of society or family for lack of education.

 

Women & Health- 

Mr. Aparajit Sinha, Programme Officer NRHM, Jajpur spoke on govt. schemes on health of rural women in Orissa. He explained each scheme and processes for availing them. He appealed to the PO, PDO and GMM to take active part in availing governmental schemes otherwise it will go in vein. Many women participants shared her experiences of hardship in getting the benefit, whereas some also share about the benefits they availed.

Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani spoke on the overall situation of the women in India. He lamented that women irrespective of being literate or illiterate, urban or rural, rich or poor, upper caste or lower caste, what ever religion they belong are still general victims of unjust social, political, cultural end economic order.  The modernity has provided little ray of hope but the overall condition is not so different. It is therefore necessary that man also has to take active part in the emancipation of the women. It is also in his interest and in the larger interest of the society. However, the women have to come out from the social cell made and imposed by the male dominated social order. The conference like this is a firm initiative to bring out women from such cells and make them to feel that the world is also yours and that the sky is limit.   The message of this conference must be shared with all those women and men who have not come here for various reasons.

Domestic Violence- Ms. Samina, Advocate, Orissa High court.

Adv. Samina spoke about 4 types of domestic violence exists in the society. She gave detailed information about the new legislation which is the “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. 2005”.  She described it as a revolutionary law based on consultation across the country with members of women’s movement and the civil society. She elaborated by saying that this law provides an opportunity for women who are suffering brutality in silence to speak-out and redress affectively.  The law recognizes legitimate role of registered NGO in the processes of implementation.

Role of People’s Organisation & Self Help Group in village development

Ms. Nirupama Mohanty, Advisor-SAC Orissa dealt with the role of POs and SHGs in village development. She said that the PO and SHG provides an opportunity to the down trodden including women to focus on their overall well beings.  She stated a dozen objectives and benefits of having PO and SHGs.

Right to Information:

Mr. Sk. Safique, Ex State Coordinator, spoke on Right to Information Act. and its utility for the village community. The delegates raised 14 questions regarding the Act, its benefits and how to make use of it.

Swaraj Samman:

Following were honored with “Swaraj Samman” for their distinguished service to the human kind and strengthening the Swaraj process.

§        Ms. Ganhari Jani- an Adivasi woman leader and vice-president of PO Tavapalli

§        Ms. Rukmini Bhoi- PO Kashindpur

§        Mr. Sk. Safique- Ex State Coordinator Swaraj Orissa

§        Ms. Khurshida Begum- Swaraj associate

§        Ms. Samina – Advocate

The conference ended with open remark by the delegates and the state Coordinator. The conference also adopted three key programmatic objectives for the future;

a.)    no illiterate women in our working village

b.)    no domestic violence

c.)    no gender discrimination in the family

Strategic Thrust – 4:  Strengthening PO, PDOs and Self-reliance of the Village

4.1    Review meeting/ consultation with PDO:

10 PDO level meetings/ consultation were held during this reporting period in 5 PDO areas. The main focus of this meeting was that how many people get benefit from the Govt. schemes from our PDO area and what type of problem they have faced in getting it. The following table gives information about benefit availed by the people on the initiatives of the concerned PDO.

PO-PDO Govt. Schemes and Nos. of Beneficiaries
SJBS,Tavapalii –         Old age pension-5

–         Widow pension-S

–         JSY-6

–         SSA-18

–         Basundhara-17

SJBS, Gopalbindha –         JSY-l0

–         Handicapet-4

–         NREGA-5

SJBS, Mauda –         SJY-6

–         Accidental death-4

SJBS, Kasindpur –         Old age-3

–         Widow -2

–         JSY-9

–         NREGA-13

SPOO, Dhanitri –         Old age -4

–         widow-2

–         JSY-6

 

Jharkhand Report

JHARKHAND

1.1    Propagation and implementation of govt. welfare schemes:

Propagation and implementation of govt. welfare schemes is one of the ongoing activities to ensure benefit to the poor and needy. Following actions were taken in this direction-

a.)        The application in prescribed performa from 211 poor families have been submitted to recognise them as Below Poverty Line (BPL), 155 families have been listed as BPL by the concerned department.

b.)        27 applications for water hand pumps have been submitted out of which 17 hand pumps are installed.

c.)        144 applications for availing Ration Card is submitted

d.)       237 applications under Old Age Pension, 33 under Maternity Benefit Scheme and 17 under Balwari scheme have been submitted. So far 163 persons have benefited from Old Age pension, and 12 persons under the Maternity Benefit Scheme. 9 Balwaris ( nursery schools) were started.

 

Strategic Thrust -3: 

JHARKHAND

3.1            Consultation on Gender Equality:

A five-day campaign for Gender Equality was organised from March 4-8, 2008. Range of activities were organised in PDO area in which 127 women and 87 men played key role. The following points were highlighted during the campaign-

a.      Domestic violence

b.     End the differences between boys and girls

c.      Develop leadership quality among women

d.     Ensure men participation in domestic work

3.2            Women Education:

It was resolved to focus to ensure 100% literacy among the women and continuation of the study by the drop out girls. The people supported education centres are imparting literacy to the illiterate women. Following chart is self-explanatory-

Name of the PDO

Enrolment of girls

Number of women become literate

Education centre

Swaraj Lok Kalyan Kendra- Bokaro

57

45

5

Swaraj Lok Seva Sansthan- Hazaribagh

61

28

5

Swaraj Lok Vikas Sansthan- Giridih

27

48

5

Swaraj Janseva Sansthan- Chatra

17

35

5

 

Bihar Report

BIHAR 

Strategic Thrust 2:  People’s right over Natural Resources

BIHAR: River Basin of Koshi, Gandak and Ganga

2.1    Living with floods:

Bihar had suffered severely due to almost 3months of floods. The 29 districts out of 34 were immersed in the water. It was a worse devastating flood in the recent history. The torrential rain and almost complete destruction of natural drainage system was the main cause of the flood.

 

two-day state level consultation with key activists was convened on Oct. 18-19, 2007 at Patna. The participants shared the experience of devastating floods during which humanity was at stake. They also shared various stories of peoples’ initiatives towards clearing the natural drainage systems. The blockage of flow of small rivers resulted in more devastation during this season of flood. Such rivers were ignored in the process of building dams and embankments on big and medium size rivers. The need of maintaining minimum flow was ignored while constructing check dams on such small rivers. It was also reflected that our propagation to maintain natural drainage system and better livelihood had visible impact during the flood. It was therefore decided to undertake campaign to reach out to the affected areas with our strong massage of living with the floods. An action committee was formed under the convenership of Shri Bhagwanji Pathak. The following activities were planned –

a.)    Planning consultation on November 12th, 2007;

b.)    Documentation of small rivers;

c.)    Awareness building during “Chhath” (Water Conservation Festival);

d.)    Organising state level seminar on living with floods;

e.)    Organising state level conference of the flood victims;

f.)      Media campaign and

g.)    Field visits.

The committee met on schedule date of Nov. 12th, 2007 at Patna in which details about awareness building during Chhath and state level seminar on living with flood was finalised. The meeting scrutinised 16 papers to be presented before the state level seminar proposed on 15 -17 Dec. 2007. Necessary responsibilities were also assigned among the committee members. The content of the pamphlets to be distributed during the Chhath was finalised.

 

The Chhath is the holiest festival of the state during which the devotees clean the water bodies including the banks of the rivers. The devotees observe fast during the two-day festival. The devotees gather on the bank of river and water-bodies, stand once a day for a couple of in the water and offer water and various home made sweets, seasonal leafs and fruits to Sun God.

 

The volunteers of the campaign for living with floods which were drawn from three river based consortiums and other supporting organisations contacted devotees of Chhath and distributed pamphlets to them. The spiritual and environmental meaning of the Chhath was printed in the pamphlet. An earnest appeal to conserve rivers and maintain its natural flow to reduce the devastating impact of floods was made through the pamphlet.

 

A two-day state level seminar on “Living with Floods” was organised on 15-17 Dec.2007 at Khadi Bhandar (hand made cotton centre), Muzaffarpur. Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani inaugurated the seminar and delivered the inaugural remarks. Mr. Dhirendra Shrivastava, resident Editor of Dainik Jagaran, Mr. Shashikant Jha an expert on river, Mr. Ghanshyam, JUDAV and many others expressed their views in the session. Prof. Prakash of IRN presided the inaugural session. The following papers were presented and a detailed discussion took place at the seminar-

1.         Solution is possible in Gandak valley – Amarnath

2.         Let’s live with rivers – Ramnarayan

3.         Water climbed on the hill – Bageshwar Bagi

4.         Swimming Society is drowning – Anupam Mishra

5.         Notion of interlinking – Arun  Das

6.         Bite of water logging – Satyanarayan Prasad

7.         Looks small (river) but creates deeper wounds – Swami Rajeshwar Bharati

8.         Water right should be the human right – Arun Das

9.         We are on the path of floods – Anupam Mishra

10.     DVC, Farakka Barrage and flood – Kapil Bhattacharya

11.     Alternative, alternative and alternatives – Hemant

12.     Don’t sale water – Anil Prakash

13.     Aahar-paeen system – Dwijen Kalia

14.     Tradition of tanks in Mithila – Hetukar Jha

15.     Terror of Noon river – Swami Rajeshwar Bharati

16.     Situation deteriorated because of ignoring small rivers – Amarnath

 

The following strategies were chalked out for the further follow-up-

1.         To create a forum on water issues,

2.         Dialogue between inter and intra basin state and countries ,

3.         Peoples awareness,

4.         Yatra on living with floods,

5.         Conference of flood victims,

6.         Documentation,

7.         Propagation through print and electronic media,

8.         Resource mobilisation,

9.         Training of workers, volunteers and media person on flood,

10.     Formation of panchayat level living with flood committee and

11.     Policy interventions.

 

25 women and 69 men from 22 districts took part.

 

two-day conference of flood victims was organised on 15-16 March 2008 at Khagaria. Khagaria is situated in the midst of three major rivers – i.e. Ganga, Gandak and Koshi. Therefore, this place has become the capital of flood or in other word most affected by flood. 61 women and 120 men – total 181 from the districts of Ganga, Koshi, Gandak, Bagamati and Kamala river area were participated in this conference. The conference was inaugurated by Ms. Maula Devi (who saved her two children from main stream of the river), Mr. Pappu Mahto (who lost his entire family), Krishna Bahan of PBIV, Fr. GC Paul of local church, Maulvi Md. Abbas, Sardar Swarna Singh, Brahmchari Dharmendra Shastri. They shared their heart breaking experiences of life and affirmed that we should not dream of a life beyond the flood. The flood is bound to affect us because we live in river area. Prof. Prakash of IRN spoke on the main theme of the conference and said that the loss of life, property, crops, road, house etc. has become routine in this flood prone area. People have to struggle every year to start their life from scratch. Nearly 75.6 lakhs hectare land gets affected during flood every year. 33.4 million population gets affected by the floods in Bihar and thousand of people loose their life. The infrastructure built for irrigation and electricity in Bihar has become the key source of destruction. Various speakers shared their concern and firmness towards a campaign on living with floods.

 

The following programmes emerged through group debate as what should be done before the flood, during the flood and after the flood.

 

PRE-FLOOD

DURING FLOOD

POST FLOOD

  • Be alert and make aware
  • To select high place for safe housing, food and other essential arrangement.
  • To make a list of pregnant women, old age persons, children, handicapped etc.
  • Training for swimming
  • To make strong communication set-up.
  • Alternative lavatory arrangement
  • Arrangement of boat and animal feeds
  • Make team for emergency service equipped with First aid facilities.
  • To make aware of togetherness.
    • To assist and be vigilant in relief work
    • To protect and give support to the flood victim families.
    • Educational arrangement
 
  • Rehabilitation
  • To asses losses due to flood and plan for retrieving loss as much as possible.
  • To check migration by establishing cottage industries.
  • To make responsible PRI system
  • To make pressure group against anti-people policy of the Government
  • To oppose making of dam and embankments which affect the natural course of water bodies
  • Conservation and development of forest.

 

Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani suggested various ways and means of living qualitatively with floods. Ms. Kirsten Gade of eed and Ms. Sapna Singh of FMSF were present during the valedictory session. A rally of the participants was organised and it moved in and around the city. The conference resolved to organise a ‘Living with Floods Yatra’ in April 2008.

Goa Report

GOA                                                                          

3.1           4th Annual Convention of Gramin Mahila Manch

28th Oct. 2007 / Organiser: Gramin Mahila Manch/ Venue: Peaceful Society, Goa.

 

The fourth annual Gramin Mahila Manch Convention was organized on 28th Oct. 2007 in the campus of Peaceful Society. The programme began with a chorus song sung by all the representatives gathered from various States of India. The representatives sang songs from their own mother tongues viz. Hindi, Marathi, Konkani, Malayalam, Tamil etc on social and patriotic themes. It was indeed a scene of National Integrity to listen to songs of patriotic nature from these different Indian languages.

Smt. Jyoti Gaonkar anchored the inaugural Session. The session began at 10.30 a.m. The atmosphere was charged with enthusiasm due to sweet songs presented by the representatives.

Smt. Jyoti Gaonkar explained the role of Gramin Mahila Manch in the development of village women in Goa. She also introduced the women who were awarded the Gramin Mahila Manch Seva Puraskar during the earlier three years.

The earlier awardees were as follows:

  • Shrimati Sulochana Vajarikar
  • Shrimati Nilima  Naik
  • Shrimati Suhasini Naik
  • Shrimati Mukta Naik                             

Then, a song was sung on the theme of Swaraj. The song is popularly called as Swaraj Geet. It was presented by Shri Bageshwar Bagi, Shri Ramesh Sharma and others. There were slogans on the subject of women awareness.

The dignitaries were invited to grace the dais. Shrimati Nirmala Sawant, ex-minister Government of Goa was the president of the function.

Following were the dignitaries to join the dais besides Shrimati Sawant :

Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar (Chief Guest of the Function)

Shrimati Bharati Bandodkar (President of the Gramin Mahila Manch)

Shrimati Lalan Kerkar   (President of the Peaceful Society)

Welcome Speech:

(Shrimati Lalan Kerkar)

Shrimati Lalan Kerkar in her welcome speech thanked Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar for having come from a distant place and graced this occasion.  She welcomed Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar and expressed her good wishes for her social work.

Shrimati Lalan Kerkar appreciated the role of Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar in the field of social development of rural women by highlighting following points:

  • An illustrious role was played during the freedom movement as well as in the environmental field by her father who was popularly called as Bhau Nawrekar.
  • Smt. Nawrekar’s father formed an organisation called Nirmal Gram which later on was developed to greater heights and excellence by his daughter Smt. Nawrekar.
  • Due to her efforts, this organisation is famous and nationally acclaimed today.
  • Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar designed programmes to introduce the students of schools and colleges about the importance of environment protection.
  • She introduced “The Village Cleanliness Campaign” (Gram Swachchata Abhiyan) at village level.
  • To seek cleanliness at village level, she started educating the villagers, in particular the women about hygiene and proper cleanliness habits.
  • As a part of Village Community Cleanliness Campaign, she encouraged to build cost-effective toilets for public use. She also taught the people to take responsibility of cleaning these toilets.
  • Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar received various prestigious awards right from the Nehru Yuva Puraskar to the highest award of Rashtrapati Puraskar.

After this, Shrimati Lalan Kerkar welcomed and introduced the chair-person of the function Shrimati Nirmala Sawant. She welcomed all the women-representatives who gathered from various parts of India besides welcoming the women who came from various parts of the state of Goa.

Introductory Speech:

Shrimati Bharati Bandodkar     

In her introductory speech, Shrimati Bharati Bandodkar put before the audience her thoughts about following issues faced by Goan society:    

  • The rising incidents of suicides in Goa
  • The percentage of failures in SSCE is rising. The number of students leaving their schools before completing SSCE is alarmingly rising.
  • The number of unemployed youths is increasing.
  • Inter-personal conflicts and divorce rate is rising in the Goan society.
  • There is a rise in the physical as well as mental ailments among Goan people.
  • The number of diabetic patients is rising.
  • The ground level of sweet water is going down.
  • The controversy of using traditional salt or the iodised salt in the daily food is creating confusion among the people.
  • The effects of the over-dose of iodised salt are not studied properly.
  • Issue of garbage management

After this introduction, the traditional lamp was lighted at the hands of Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar.

Shri Ramesh Sharma:

Shri Ramesh Sharma spoke on this occasion focusing upon the glorious role played by Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar in the field of community cleanliness campaign. Shri Sharma explained the dedicated role played by her father Moreshwar alias Bhau Nawrekar in the Indian Independence movement besides working for the cause of Nirmal Gram.

The flower bouquet was presented to each dignitary on the dais.

Then, there was a poem recital by Shrimati Suhasini Naik depicting the social work of Shrimati Bharati Bandodkar and Shri Kumar Kalanand Mani. Shrimati Suhasini narrated in her poem their zealous role in the social field which is reflected aptly in the success of Peaceful Society.

Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar :

In her address as a chief guest, Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar put her revolutionary thoughts on following points:

  • Women should not feel inferior nor feel ashamed to clean their houses and the surrounding campus.
  • The male members of the family should be made aware to keep their house and its campus clean and neat.
  • We should properly manage the garbage and recycle the same as organic manure.
  • It is shameful to go for toilet on the open ground and particularly in case of woman it is more shameful.
  • The proper arrangement of closed toilets is not made in many parts of our country. It is an insult of our mothers and sisters to choose open ground for toilet. This is the reason why our villages and cities become dirty.
  • The people of Europe and America notice civic sense lacking in our people when they come to India. They see the dirt everywhere and take back a very bad impression about our land. We have to change this scenario.
  • We have to respect all the sources of water including sacred rivers of this land. Our culture teaches us that the rivers are our mothers and we have to worship and protect them. However, what we see is the utter pollution of the sources of water and the rivers flowing through this land. The sacred Ganga is also badly polluted today.  The chemical effluents and other garbage are thrown in these rivers making the water dangerous for human consumption.
  • During monsoon, the flowing water also carries along the disease bearing bacteria and viruses particularly that of polio released during open toilet habit in the villages. These viruses then enter into the bodies of healthy people through drinking water. This is one of the main reasons why people fall sick.
  • Therefore, there is a need to use safe and closed toilets.
  • There are different types of worms in our stomach like roundworms which eat the maximum food that go in our bodies. These worms, if not treated properly give rise to different illnesses. The root cause of many diseases is the eggs of such worms entering the body of a healthy person. Therefore the toilets need to be safely closed.
  • Approximately 80% of the diseases are considered to be dirt-related.
  • In Indian culture a cow is revered as mother. We worship a cow and at the same time it is exposed to the dirt on the open ground left as a matter of toilet.
  • The food left-out is packed in the plastic and thrown out on the open ground. Such plastic packets are later on consumed by cattle and the result is the untimely death of the cattle due to congestion of these plastic bags in their intestines.       
  • There are certain types of plastic which remain on this earth without getting destroyed for minimum 400 years to maximum ten lakhs of years.
  • The earth is our mother and we have to take care of her environmental balance.
  • We should learn the practices of naturally recycling the garbage from our houses.  
  • There is nothing as waste in the world.  What we see as dirt is only a matter misplaced. When we put the garbage or drainage water in its right place then it converts itself into manure.   
  • Today, Americans are learning and appreciating the age-old traditional farming ways adopted by Indians where organic manure had prime importance. Contrarily today, Indians are blindly following the modern concepts of using chemical fertilizers.      
  • The organic manure takes care of the soil fertility and the crop we get by using the organic manure is also better for health.
  • We can use the garbage-turned manure for cultivating small garden in and around our house. This activity will also help us get rid of the dirt and keep our house, the campus and the village clean and safe for human existence.
  • Even the Patanjali’s Yoga Shastra propagates the idea that the clean surrounding is conducive in the spiritual growth a person.

Question and Answer Session:   

Shrimati Anjali Naik:

The women in rural as well as urban areas face the garbage problem. From the address of Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar, what we have learnt is that the garbage is not an issue. However, we need to manage it properly. So, what we need today is the practical demonstration of garbage management. This can help us adopt such practices in our day-to-day life.

Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar:

The books related to management of garbage are published by our organisation. These books can help you understand the proper methods of garbage management. Besides, our organisation also undertakes various camps on the said theme. A representative from Goa can come to our organisation and learn the methods and this knowledge can help teach people from Goa about healthy practices of garbage management.

Shrimati Suhasini Naik:

I live in an urban place of Ponda taluka. The surrounding is inundated with plastic use and throw-away bags. Due to this, the canals and gutters very often get congested.      

Shrimati Nirmala Sawant:

Plastic is a world-wide issue. There should be research to curb this menace of rising plastic garbage.

Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar put following points in reply to above query:

  • The research is going on world-wide to find ways to dispose of the plastic garbage in an environment-friendly manner.
  • It would be worth stopping manufacturing of the plastic till we come across ways to dispose of the plastic garbage in proper manner.
  • For our day-to-day shopping purpose, we must rely more on cotton bags.
  • The highest garbage that we see around us is certainly that of plastic carry bags and, destroying such bags is a difficult process. We can not burn these bags because the carcinogenic gases emitted during the burning process are very harmful for health. Besides, these gases float in the atmosphere for a long time.
  • The carcinogenic gases emitted during the burning process of plastic material also consequently lead to the depletion of ozone layer. If this ozone layer is depleted then the very survival of living beings upon this planet earth is endangered.
  • In Nagpur, a researcher by name Shrimati Alka Zadgaonkar has experimented upon the plastic and found that it could be dissolved successful into its original elements. However, this is under experimentation and it is certainly not easy task to successfully disintegrate the plastic material which is heaped in large scale all over the world.
  • The garbage problem is ten times more in urban areas than that of rural areas.
  • What we can suggest as simple way of disposing the garbage is management of the garbage in one’s own house by recycling the same.

Shrimati Rajani Raikar:

  • In Goa the problem of using open spaces for toilet purpose is very less in comparison to other Indian states.
  • The real problem lies with the migraant labourers settled in Goa. The provision of toilets is not made and hygienic atmosphere is not ensured near the settlements of such labourers.
  • Therefore, it should be made mandatory on the part of all the contractors who hire these labourers to provide them with all basic facilities including proper toilets and water.

Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar:

In her reply, she made following points clear:

  • In every human settlement, toilets are important and they must be made compulsory.
  • The contractors before hiring such labourers must ensure the availability of these basic facilities.
  • The contractors before hiring such labourers can erect cost-effective, make-shift kinds of toilets.

Shrimati Nirmala Sawant:

Shrimati Sawant put forward following opinions:

  • The Goan residents who let their houses for outsiders and labourers should ensure that the toilets are made available to these people. There should be a law to ensure every household letting their rooms or part of houses to equip them with proper toilet facilities.
  • Why do we buy plastic carry-bags when there are other options to carry our day-to-day items?
  • In case of fish and milk, we think plastic bag as a better option. But we should know that there are many solid items which could be very easily carried in paper or cotton bags.
  • We should refrain from using plastic cups during public ceremonies since these cups are thrown out immediately after the use and become pollutants.
  • I personally avoid the tinned cold-drinks since they are scientifically proven to be harmful for human consumption.
  • I prefer eco-friendly items for my daily use.
  • I prefer sarees which are 90% cotton-made.
  • The habits of using eco-friendly items should be inculcated in our family members.

Smt. Jyoti Gaonkar:

Since many people live in small apartments and small houses, there is scarcity of space for their day-to-day belongings. In such cases how the garbage management is possible?

Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar

  • We have introduced effective method of garbage management within a limited space.
  • The garbage other than plastic could be successfully converted into organic manure by adopting this method.
  • This method could be conveniently used by any person right from a rich person living in bungalow to a poor living in a hut.
  • We use a small box for this purpose and this box could be accommodated in any small corner of the house, gallery or open terrace.

Shri Kumar Kalanand Mani:  

He put up following points regarding garbage issue:

  • We have to seriously study the future consequences before establishing garbage centers in rural areas.
  • In Goa domestic garbage is not a big problem but the industrial waste and chemical effluents is becoming an alarming issue.
  • Every industry in Goa should take proper steps to manage its own garbage.
  • Western countries are dumping their e-waste in the under-developed countries.
  • Today, Goan environment is more endangered due to mega-factories in Goa.
  • The economic progress need not be at the cost of threatening our environment.
  • The Government policies are some times directly or indirectly monitored and manipulated by people with vested interests.

Shrimati Nalini Nawrekar:  

We have to inspect whether the arrival of Konkan railway has really contributed in the progress of Konkan region. Today, the industries are increasing and the result is again rise in the industrial waste.

Shrimati Effie D’Souza:

  • Even today, the women are not free in the real sense.
  • We have to manage bio-degradable waste and non-bio-degradable waste separately.
    • Today, disposal of medical waste is also becoming a problem.

With this debate, the first session of the GMM convention came to an end.

The second session of the Gramin Mahila Manch convention

The second session began with folk songs in Konkani and Marathi. There was a thought-provoking debate on the theme of ‘Challenges before today’s women’. In this debate two women representatives viz. Shrimati Anjali Naik and Shrimati Kalawati Patil participated and expressed their views.

Challenges before today’s women

(Shrimati Anjali Naik)

Shrimati Anjali Naik put following points in her speech:

  • Today, new challenges are faced by women. During pre-independence times, the women were not provided any opportunity for their development.
  • The scenario has changed today. Women are coming forward in several fields, viz. medicine, engineering, aero-space technology etc.
  • However, this progress is not seen in all the parts of India. Very few women are privileged to seek their development and large part of women community is still in some or other kind of slavery.      
  • Therefore, there is a need from all the sides to seek an all-round development of women in this country.
  • To combat the rising inflation, the women should take initiative and try to establish themselves in trade and industry. The Government should encourage women- entrepreneurship.
  • The sad part is that many times the highly educated women have to restrict themselves in the four walls of their houses.
  • The women have high degree of patience and perseverance. They can provide excellent moral education to their children and can inculcate good values in their children.
  • There are rising instances of physical and mental torture and sexual harassment of working women. The problem is much faced by the women who stay and roam alone and work for night-shifts.
  • Many times the male members of the family impose their ideas and suggestions upon women who other wise are competent to take their own rightful decisions while serving as people’s representative.
  • The women mostly are affected by blind faiths and superstitions. The need is to impart scientific attitude in the women.
  • Awareness should be made among women about their constitutional rights and duties.         

Challenges before today’s women

(Shrimati Kalawati Patil)

Shrimati Kalawati Patil reflected on following points in her speech:

  • A woman should introspect and try to understand her potential power and her weakness as well.
  • It is foolish to continue suffering from the injustices. Today, Women have to openly challenge the social norms and customs which go against their democratic rights.
  • While looking after and caring for the family, the women neglect their own health and silently suffer from various ailments.
  • The power to oppose injustices is not yet built within themselves by today’s women.
  • The women are also not particularly concerned about exploring their own potentialities.
  • Therefore, we need similar kind of programmes and conventions at every place in order to enable women to voice for their rights.
  • All the women should unite and struggle against the blind-faiths, and superstitions prevailing in the Indian society. However, we have also to ensure that the best elements within our culture need to be protected.

The year 2007, Gramin Mahila Manch Seva puraskars

The year 2007, Gramin Mahila Manch Seva puraskars were awarded to Shrimati Aruna Dhuri and Shrimati Pratiksha Gawade.

Shrimati Nilima Angle read out the Manapatra describing the social achievements of Shrimati Pratiksha Gawade.

Similarly, Shrimati Suhasini Naik read out the Manapatra presented to Shrimati Aruna Dhuri.

After presenting the awards by the hands of Shrimati Nirmala Sawant, the audience greeted and wished the awardees to excel to greater heights even in future in their social activities.

After receiving the award, Shrimati Pratikasha Gaude put following reflections before the audience:

  • Today’s women should get themselves introduced with progressive thoughts.
  • In 21st century, women have made lot of their progress in various socio-economic fields due to wide-spread educational facilities. However, the common women are not seen yet to reap the fruits of technological advancement.
  • The rural women are still confined to the four walls of their homes.
  • The rural women are deprived of the opportunities to express their talents.
  • This felicitation is actually the felicitation of my village people.
  • The women should come forward, unite and try to sort out their problems.
  • We have to appreciate Peaceful Society for this commendable job of felicitating particularly rural women who strive for social cause but remain unnoticed from the eyes of the general public.
  • This step will certainly encourage other women who are also working for similar social cause at the grass-root level. The women will develop self confidence and will in no way experience inferiority complex as a result of such social recognition of their social commitment.

Shrimati Nirmala Sawant:

Shrimati Nirmala Sawant put her views meaningfully as follows:

  • The women are not particularly fond of sitting and idling at one place. They do not prefer to sit at one place and silently listen. They believe in work. And, it is a good quality that women prefer to work more than to sit idle.
  • It is difficult to bring large number of women at one place and hold this type of function in a disciplined manner. We have to congratulate Shrimati Bharati Bandodkar and Peaceful Society for having arranged successfully this kind of function particularly for women community.
  • Today, there is a need to bring self-confidence among women.
  • The cleanliness is not only of our body and our surrounding but it encompasses also the clean moral values and attitudes which are essentially required for the healthy growth of any society.
  • A person should follow what she or he believes in and asserts in her or his daily life. However, what we see today is persons talking louder about many things but not putting those things in practical life.
  • The tears of any woman have tremendous power. We have to use the tears for good cause.
  • Though, there is Domestic Violence Act, we sadly find cases where 70% of the women atrocities are from their own family members and relatives.
  • The senior women from the house should shoulder the responsibility of educating teenage girls about their growth-related issues and queries.
  • We have to judiciously use the time available to us. The 24 hours of our day should be properly planned and worked out for optimum output. We should avoid spending more time in sleep and gossiping.

Vote of thanks by Shri Kumar Kalanand Mani:   

While expressing sincere thanks to one and all, Shri Kumar Kalanand Mani put before the audience a few thoughts. He applauded the ideas put by two women representatives about the challenges before women in this century. However, he lamented about today’s scenario of the mother earth in the name of development. He brought to the notice of the audience that few years back Punjab was considered as the most progressive and developed state in India. But today, it is a bankrupt state facing lot of problems, Shri Mani revealed in his address. He further warned that, “we have to seriously think about the conditions that led to degradation of this state and similarly, we also have to be careful about the future our dear state Goa.

Self Reliance

SELF-RELIANCE OF PEACEFUL SOCIETY: A STUDY

By Mamta Saikia

 

 

Peaceful Society / Nov 12, 2003

1. Background:

Peaceful Society is based in a village of Goa, called Kundai. (It is generally believed that) Tourism contributes significantly to the economy of Goa. It is believed that Goans face no big issues like poverty, hunger etc, but a rural-based research by Peaceful society revealed that the real situation left a lot to be desired. It was in 1983 that Peaceful Society was formed to work in a few villages of Goa with an objective of ensuring their self-sufficiency without over dependence on external resources.

Peaceful Society believes in alternative models of development and focuses on providing women and youth with additional sources of income. Its focus areas also include environmental issues and it led a very successful ‘Save the Western Ghats’ movement in mid 80s.

Basic Information about Peaceful Society:

  • An NGO that has initiated a very strong Network called Swaraj.
  • It works in both the rural and urban areas.
  • It is working in the states of Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Two key issues it focuses on are environment and empowerment of rural people.
  • It uses training and on-ground development activities as methodology of its work.
  • Works with youth, and women in marginalised communities.
  • Its total yearly budgets are in the range of Rs 50 lakhs to Rs 1 crore.

 

2. Its History :

Mr. K.K. Mani, founder of Peaceful Society has been a Gandhian activist since beginning. Peaceful Society was formed in Goa, when he moved to this State in early 80s. He formed Peaceful Society in 1983 and initially it survived on funds from friends and his writings.

Peaceful Society’s vision at that time was to build a society that was self-sufficient. It undertook a house-to-house research in villages of Goa to understand the issues confronting the local people. As a result of that survey, Peaceful Society short listed livelihood and environment related issues as its focus areas. It decided to start work in five most remote panchayats of Goa.

It designed a project for ensuring additional income for women of a village as an experimental model. It tied up with a marketing agency to sell the products made by women and this project did well. It was wound up because of Peaceful Society’s shifting focus on environment and a larger than life ‘Save the Western Ghats’ movement. In fact, it was wound up in 1991 due to shifting from main centre at Bandora to its own campus in Kundai-Madkai village where it was politically not possible to run such activities.

In 1986, it did two workshops on environment, which led to the birth of, and ‘Save the Western Ghats’ movement was born. It completely consumed the organisation for almost two years. It positioned Peaceful Society as an environmental organisation and raised its profile at national level.

Slowly Peaceful Society evolved as an organisation with three-pronged strategy to bring about a change in the lives of rural people. It focussed on environmental issues, village industry and community based education with an objective of empowerment.

Peaceful Society, in it’s thinking always kept its focus on two aspects of self-reliance, which served it well in coming days: independence in decision-making and financial self-reliance. It shaped the way it looked at survival and meeting core-costs of the organisation.

The inherent strength of the organisation to look at alternative source of income generation as means to survival saw Peaceful Society through its most trying and creative phase in 1995, when it shifted its focus from project and programmes to networking and empowerment. Closing projects meant, drastic reduction in donor grants, but Peaceful Society survived that phase due to its self-reliance instincts. Its investment in the form of a farmhouse saw it through that phase, till it was ready to come out with a revised vision and development strategy.

Rethinking and a lot of internal questioning made the organisation focus its energies towards networking and empowerment of people as two methodologies of its work. This also gave people at the grassroots the freedom to choose locally relevant issues to work on. Result of this phase was a very complex form of governance called ‘Sawarj’. Swaraj is a Forum for Gandhian societal perspectives and action to bring together likeminded groups and individuals to work towards Gandhian alternatives to today’s challenges. Swaraj was based on the principles of Gram Sarkar (parallel rule of people) as against Panchayat Raj (extension of state government.)

3. Vision and Objectives :

Its vision is a society that is based on Gandhian ideology, with economic self-reliance for people, political self-rule with decentralisation of power and resources and democratic processes with real participation by both men and women.

Its objectives are:

  • To ensure self-rule of community to re-establish its rights and access to natural resources and other means of production for sound and sustainable development.
  • To realise positive transformation in all spheres of life namely social, political, economic, cultural and environmental.
  • To reject the influence of internal and external exploitative forces in society through WB, WTO and MNCs etc.

4. Existing Organisational Strengths :

Peaceful Society’s biggest strength is the entrepreneurial outlook, which flows from Gandhian values of self-reliance. Its founder Mr. Mani is constantly looking for ways to generate funds to take care of organisational core costs. His attitude towards self-reliance has ensured that Peaceful Society has experimented successfully with small enterprises to generate funds and its future expansion plans incorporate income generation and financial independence at community and project level, which is very inspiring and is detailed out in following sections.

The organisation and network structure is well thought out and fits with current development strategy of organisation. A new structure is being evolved to support the shift in organisation’s ideology and programme strategy. Presence of a clear structure, roles, and authority delegated down to grassroots is a strong point with Peaceful Society.

5. Something Distinctive about Peaceful Society

The fact that self-reliance and financial independence is woven into programme strategy so as to impact sustainability at community level is a very special trait in Peaceful Society.

6. Understanding of Self-Reliance :

Mr. Mani believes that an organisation is truly self-reliant if its staff and all members have internalised its vision and values, and that organisation has established its identity and credibility among its current and potential stakeholders. A self-reliant organisation, in due course of time reaps benefits in terms of independence in decision-making and financial sustainability.

7. Strategy for Organisational Financial Self – Reliance :

Peaceful society’s largest current initiative is Swaraj, which is a forum/network of like-minded individuals and organisations. For an organisation, which does not run projects, funding is not an easy option, especially to look after its core-costs. It therefore adopted the following approach to ensure financial sustainability at organisational level: Well SWARAJ has part financial support from EED whereas part support comes from the community and associated groups,

  • Minimum staff to cut down on salaries and other costs;
  • Investment in an income generation project, a farmhouse, to generate income for organisational expenses.
  • Ensuring independence and income generation focus at grassroots level, so organisation does not bear additional financial burden.
  • Building reserves to last it almost a year, in case no funding is received.

8. Existing Models of Revenue Generation :

The organisation, through its savings, membership fees, farm receipts, and product fees etc has put together a corpus fund of almost Rs 30 lakhs. This along with ownership of the farmhouse gives them a sense of financial security. After at least 5 – 6 years of hard work the farmhouse has today reached a level where its incomes are increasing every year. PS has set itself a target of saving at least Rs 1 lakhs every year from its farmhouse income to add to its corpus.

It is looking at ways of improving its income from the campus by converting the campus into a training centre for NGOs and also non-hazardous corporate sector.

It is also looking at ways to improve income from its farm by improving its output and space utilisation.

PS believes that it is possible to generate at least Rs 3 lakhs from the farming income and a similar amount from the training centre, which can take care of annual core-costs of the organisation.

a)     Farm – house:

When PS bought the land, it did not know much about profitability of a farmhouse. They knew that it would contribute to their financial self-reliance, space for staff and help them experiment with organic farming.

Staff at PS learnt from their mistakes and continued to increase the farm output. Staff at PS took assistance from technical experts, wherever available but adapted their knowledge to their local needs and environment. Networking with other groups working in the field also provided a lot of practical learning. Key learning came from local farmers and now the farmhouse has 4 layers of farming – roots, creepers, flowers, and canopy – to ensure optimum utilisation of land.

Following are the key inputs one has to evaluate and understand before any organisation looks at setting up a farmhouse to raise additional financial resources:

a.                                       Type of land / surroundings (should not be barren, there should be ground water and top soil)

b.                                       Manpower should be available locally

c.                                       Key person should have some basic knowledge about plans and farming

d.                                       Clear-cut plan about marketing and selling the produce.

Some of the things one has to careful about in the field of farming is:

q       Output: One also has to be strategic about the choice of products. Non-perishable products are better and offer a longer shelf life.

q       Pests: In organic farming dealing with pests in an organic way is important and most of the learning comes from the groups working in the field.

q       Labour issues can affect the farming if not thought through. Local labour ensures better understanding of soil, climate, plants, and ensures continuity. Imported labour results in local unrest, lack of continuity – issues that should be avoided. Local skills, such as plucking a coconut, cannot be taught easily, so local labour is critical to farming.

q       Climate is another factor that impact farming negatively.

Advantage of using farming as a source of revenue generation is he fact that it is tax-free.

Farming needs 4 to 5 years before it starts giving profit. One needs to sustain and invest in it for this period. A good thumb-rule experienced to have worked in farming is to sell off 5% of the land, which would sustain the farm for the gestation period.

b.)  Women Employment Programme (WEP) :

WEP started with an objective of empowering the poor rural women to improve their financial and family conditions. In spite of the fact the PS was not very strong on the marketing aspect and did not do a human resource planning, the programme performed well and yielded profit, which was very encouraging. A guiding philosophy that ensured that the programme never went in loss was the focus on making sure that investment costs were always met.

The products that the unit decided to sell were papads, sweet biscuits, wafers etc. It employed 10 – 12 women for 300 days in a year. It started with a very small initial investment, which was used to buy utensils, stocking up the raw material and to make labour payments.

Of the total income, the broad break up used to be like this:

Material                                             : 40%

Wage & Management costs             : 30 – 35%

Marketing expenses:                        : 10%

Profit                                               : 15% – 20%

 

One innovative idea that helped this initiative to de well was floating a “marketing’ company of local youth, who earned commission on the sales made. This ensured that the unit saved money on delivery boy, transportation etc and the products were aggressively pushed in the market. The sales volume tripled in a short span of period and PS had to set up another production centre to cater to the demand.

Some key aspects in this initiative are:

Ñ      Quality of the product is critical to the success of this enterprise. One cannot compromise on these commercial aspects, if one has to compete in the market. It will negatively impact the profitability and commercial viability. Aspects of market, profitability should get equal weightage as social values.

Ñ      In charge of the unit should have technical knowledge about the production process, so the variant nature of raw material prices is kept in check by improvising on production process.

Ñ      Constant improvement in the quality of the product and introducing new products as per market demand is also critical.

Ñ      Key people should ideally be trained in financial management and marketing etc. Right kind of manpower is critical.

Ñ      A very clear understanding about the market, buyers, gap that exists and is there a market for your product is very necessary.

Ñ      It is important to launch a good quality product, because if it is rejected once, it will be very difficult to re-establish itself in the market.

Ñ      Profit focus from day 1 is important for such units to survive and generate financial resources for programme work or organisational core-costs.

Ñ      One has to have a good plan for buying, production, storing, packaging, and marketing aspects – one cannot experiment in these departments.

Some of the risks associated with such an initiative are:

a.       Demand fluctuation in the market by middlemen specially due to ‘margin’ focus. One has to devise ways to deal with this.

b.       One has to focus on always feeding the demand, otherwise other players will fill it and it is difficult to regain.

c.       There has to be a non-negotiable focus on quality. Any compromise in this aspect will make you lose the market immediately.

d.       Understanding the market and its ‘taste’ to deliver products as per its liking.

e.       Perishable items have to move fast, so marketing channels have to be well set and oiled.

f.        Pricing – one has to be very clear about pricing of the product, considering existing prices, and the quality and quantity of your product. Pricing has to be competitive.

These kinds of initiatives take 5 –6 years to become profit generating. It needs constant focus on the aspects mentioned above

9. Learning :

Each income generation initiative will have its own unique features and risks, and in addition same kind of enterprise may even have different experiences for different organisations. The above two examples therefore, though very valuable for the data and information shared cannot be the base for any financial calculations for the aspiring entrepreneurs. Some key learning from Peaceful Society:

a.       Income generation programmes require a mindset of an entrepreneur with a clear focus on the market and profitability, without compromising its social values.

b.       Right kind of knowledge and skills can be brought into the institution by hiring the right kind of employees.

c.       Opportunities to generate resources by setting up commercial enterprises exist around us. One needs the mind of an entrepreneur to locate those, ensure the required funding and implement these initiatives with the energy and focus that it requires.

National Consultation

CONSULTATION ON

PEACEFUL SOCIETY AND NEXT 20 YEARS

22nd and 23rd Oct. 2003

VENUE: Peaceful Society

KUNDAI 403 115 GOA

NATIONAL CONSULTATION

A Critical Review And Moving Forward

(22nd Oct. 2003 / 9.30 a.m.)

 

 

T

o begin with, Shri Ulhas Arolkar welcomed the august gathering and requested Shri Damodar Prabhu Desai, one of the senior most colleagues and founder member of Peaceful Society to inaugurate the photo-exhibition. The exhibition depicted an illustrious journey of Peaceful Society’s 20 years in service. Shri Manoj Tiwari ushered Shri Damodar P. Desai to the exhibition spot for inauguration. Immediately after inauguration, Shri Manoj Tiwari explained about some of the significant exhibits. It was a neatly planned and beautifully placed exhibition of edited photos and newspaper clippings highlighting the remarkable achievements and activities of Peaceful Society since its inception. The audience and participants praised and congratulated the painstaking efforts of Shri Manoj Tiwari who was an architect behind compiling and presenting the exhibits in an aesthetic sense.

Shri K. K. Mani introduced the dignitaries on the dais viz. all Shri Ramchandra P. Desai, Damodar P. Desai, Greig D’Costa, Soter D’Souza and Ulhas Arolkar. He also introduced esteemed participants gathered for the function.

Shri Soter D’Souza, in his welcome address explained about the two days function and heartily welcomed one and all. He further appealed the participants to make the function a success. A memento was presented to Shri Manoj Tiwari as a token of love and appreciation towards pains he took during preparation of exhibition.

Shri Greig D’Costa took the reign as moderator of the consultations for the two days.

Following were the participants from different states who shared their experiences in social works in their respective fields. In the light of their experiences, they also guided PS how to march more meaningfully and constructively in the next 20 years.

Ajit Panchawadkar, Bageshwar Bagi, L. Pankajakshan, Manoj Tiwari, Mansoor Alam, Maqbool Ahamed, Miss Dharati, Miss Priti, Naseem Ansari, P. J. Sebastian, Pradip Das, Prasad Dhakanakar, Raju Bhaiyya, Ramesh Sharma, Ramnarayan, Shantaram Pandere, Smt. Mangal, Subhash Nimbalkar, Sudha Sharma, C. Paulraj, V. T. John.

Shri Kumar Kalanand Mani began the day’s session with his deep reflections on

“PEACEFUL SOCIETY: 20 Years of National Interventions

MAIN ISSUES, INTERVENTIONS, METHODOLOGY & LEARNING”

In his stimulating and emotionally charged presentation, Shri Mani explained the journey of Peaceful Society right from its inception till date. He explained all the ups and downs he and his team members had to face while nurturing this organisation. He began by paying rich tribute to three stalwarts who played significant role in the formation and growth of the Peaceful Society. Among others, he acknowledged immense influence of these three personalities upon him in getting the organisation to the height it has reached today. These three persons are viz. late Radhakrishnaji, late Madhav Bir and late Krishna Putu Goankar. He briefed the audience about their contribution in the growth of PS. Then, he highlighted various activities undertaken in the fields of development, environment, and people’s movement. Explaining how ‘Save Western Ghats’ Movement was launched and emerged as a pioneering movement in the field of conservation and preservation of Western Ghats environment, he further acknowledged that the said movement gave PS recognition and acceptability not only at local level but also prominently at the National level. Besides other programmes, he concentrated more upon the works and achievements PS had in the fields like Panchayati Raj, Koshi Consortium, formation of WIFPR, formation of Swaraj forum and its units in 72 districts of 7 states. He also highlighted upon the importance of societal peace and the role of PS in today’s strife-torn society. While introspecting on PS as an institution, he emphasised on the importance of democratic set-up in its committee. He earnestly appealed the participants to guide on various facets and requirements of any committee in order to make it more vibrant and dynamic. He sought advice from the participants about how to share functional responsibilities and also bring true democracy in the committee. He further appealed to share experiences and knowledge participants have in their respective social fields He appealed for guidance to resolve the dilemma of synchronising between local as well as national issues by providing valuable inputs and suggestions.

“LEARNING From The Past With A View To The Future Response”- A Panel Discussion

Immediately after the reflections by K. K. Mani, the panel discussion and open house session began on the theme of “Learning from the past with a view to the future response” (Highlighting contextual relevance of and lessons from interventions, strategy and methodology). All Shri Shantaram Pandere, Pankajakshan L. and Ramesh Sharma took part in the panel discussion. Shri Greg D’ Costa moderated the session.

Shantaram Pandere:

He began his views by greeting PS family for completing 20 years successfully. He emphasised upon resolving the differences of opinions and confusions among members of the core group of PS, particularly, with reference to undertaking works at the National level. He said “We have to think at global level and work at local level”. Reminding about the role of any secular NGO, he said, “By birth, we are against divisive forces and not merely because of the Godhra incident. This is a global view. There cannot be two opinions about that. Now, taking this in mind we have to act locally. For example, salt satyagraha of M K. Gandhi, Kala Rama Mandir satyagraha of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Here, the action is local but the theme is global”. He further rightly opined, “The defeat of Gandhi is done by his followers themselves”.  With this, he appealed to face the challenge of restoring true Gandhian philosophy relevant in the present context. He emphasised upon disseminating the ideas of Gandhi, Vinoba and JP among the masses. finding relation of Gandhi, Vinoba and JP’s thoughts and ideology at academic level by organising seminars and debates is not enough but their thoughts have to reach to common man was the view put up by Shri Pandere. He further appealed PS to search for its identity, a worldwide identity that could be true to its values and principles. He set a task before PS to evolve such identity. He emphasised upon the right criticism from our neighbours, which could prove as helpful and constructive in our growth. Therefore, he said, “We should welcome any positive criticism and should do its objective analysis to learn from it”. “There should not be feeling of enmity about such criticisms. Instead, we should always have sincere debate in our mind about our weaknesses and achievements” he further clarified. While stressing the importance of Satyagraha, he said, “it is a continuous journey towards absolute truth”. He reminded the gathering “the concept of Satyagraha is deeply rooted in Indian culture descending from the Buddha to Gandhi to Vinoba and JP”.

Ramesh Sharma:

Peaceful society dreamt, aspired and worked for ‘peaceful’ society. However, PS could not achieve this goal despite its efforts for last 20 years. The goals are unachievable. Like absolute truth is always revealed to us in parts and never as a whole. To have peaceful society is indeed a difficult task. Therefore, the path before PS is challenging and full of difficulties and it has to pass through it with determination and courage… We have to always stand with and fight for the cause of the defeated, the oppressed and the weakest; it could be a caste, a religion, a community or a region in the society. We have to think always above the petty interests of mankind alone. We have to think of the nature as a whole with its rich flora and fauna, which are also equally important. We should believe and nurture the spirit of humanity in society but not limit ourselves only to the narrow interests of man. Humanity and human being are two different concepts. There are like communalism and true religion. Shri panderji has already pointed towards global conception i.e. “Vasuddhaiwa Kutumbakam” and advised us to look at the entire world as a family. If PS family is experiencing frustration, dejection or is tired, then it is certainly a question of concern. It is o.k., if PS family feels that they have not achieved to the expectation, they have not reached to the mark. This is a sign of healthy growth. There is rise in the number of non-concerned citizens in India. PS should evolve a strategy to generate awareness among such citizens and make them responsible citizens. The incident of establishing harmony between two riot-torn communities at Marad in Kerala shows us a way. We, the followers of Gandhi, Vinoba and JP have failed to play substantial role in Gujarat during recent communal violence. We all should feel ashamed about this inactive gesture. I congratulate our Kerala fellows who have shown us way and inspired us to work courageously under such eventualities…” To above inspiring speech, Shri Sharma added one story as concluding part. The story was about a bear in a circus who heard secret talk of the manager of circus about eating money. The poor bear felt that eating money must be a good thing and ate the money. This resulted in deterioration of the health of that bear. The lesson from the story was about the greedy nature of man. He explained how today’s society has turned corrupt amassing huge wealth by immoral and illegal means. And, at the end, he urged that the PS shall look towards money as only means and not the end in itself…”

L. Pankajakshan:

He highlighted upon some of the very pertinent points in relation to 20 years of PS in service. The points are put here in brief, first about Swaraj and then followed by views on PS based on his personal observation. He urged the participants to further elaborate upon these points.

At Swaraj (National) Level

1.       It is commendable to see freedom of expression and transparency in the Swaraj.

2.       In Swaraj, at National level, we are transparent.

3.       At state or at consortium level, it is not fully transparent.

4.       Most of the fellows do not understand the importance of five-village concept.

5.       There are many limitations in the five village works we are experiencing in Kerala.

6.       In Kerala context, area elaboration is needed in five-village concept.

7.       One full time fellow could concentrate more upon a single Panchayat to make it a role model.

8.       Internalisation of PSP is needed among fellows.

9.       We have to develop cadre of fellows in Swaraj.

10.    Fellowship is an encouraging concept and we have to work upon it.

11.    Fellowship training at National, regional and also at language level should be provided.

12.    Identification of dedicated and committed persons to work as fellows is needed.

13.    Women and youth training are also needed.

14.    We need good understanding and relation with other like-minded organisations.

At PS Level:

1.       20 years period is not a long period. We are still in a learning process as if in a laboratory.

2.       Our achievements are remarkable and we should feel proud about it.

3.       Our immediate need is to have sufficient qualified staff.

4.       Due to lack of sufficient staff in PS office, right now, the executive staff, more prominently, the executive secretary is mentally and physically over-burdened. So, they require some relief and rest by lessening their workload.

5.       We have to think urgently how to mobilise financial resources to accommodate more staff.

6.       We have to strengthen Karyakarta Parivar Kosha, in order to help any Gandhian activist at local as well as state level during emergency

7.       PS has now grown as a national organisation. Therefore, the need has now arisen to mobilise resources in that direction.

8.       PS has to think now to realise its Gandhian vision at global level also.

9.       PS has to continue work in the direction of promoting and strengthening people’s organisations and cadre building.

Then, time of ten minutes was allotted to audience to raise questions / doubts to the panellists. To a very pertinent question by Shri Soter D’Souza about the impression of panellists on PS completing its 20 years in service, Shri Pandere reacted as follows.

REFLECTIONS

By Shri Pandere:     

1.       The 3 to 4 prominent issues taken up by PS is just a beginning.

2.       By this, PS is trying to find out ways and means and is evolving out methodology to go ahead.

3.       Though, PS has its own identity in society, it still has to go a long way to establish it.

4.       I do not want to belittle PS works. But, PS members have to review the kind of identity organisation has established in the society.

5.       And, this exercise of studying and reviewing its identity should be for this entire year.

6.       The study and the review of PS should be on the basis of ideology, strategy and methodology PS upholds at state as well as at national level.

7.       We have always to remember that in Gandhian ideology there should not be contradiction between the goal and the ways and means adopted to achieve the same.

8.       We should always remember to keep our body and mind in healthy state

9.       As the age grows, so the mental strength and the enthusiasm should also grow.

10.    Where is our garage for physical and mental make-up, wear and tear?

By Shri Sharma:

1.       Those who are actively involved in PS works could do the proper analysis and evaluation of the last 20 years.

2.       The actual impact of PS is felt upon society through its lasting efforts like “Save Western Ghat” movement.

3.       The new people associated with PS for the first time had separate view-points. However, now, they have changed to PS ideology.

GENERAL REACTIONS

Following were the General Reactions during open house session:

Subhash Nimbalkar :

1.       Peace workshop resolutions are not yet implemented.

2.       No satisfactory work on the front of ‘Swaraj’ in Maharashtra.

Bhagwanji Pathak:

1.       We are experimenting for last ten years in the form of Swaraj. This has all been possible for us due to the help of PS.

2.       We have been trying our best to evolve a traditional village into ideal one with the help of five-village concept adopted by Swaraj programme. This has been perennially an experimenting ground for us.

Ramnarayan Kumar:

PS has always been a source of learning and inspiration to us.

The way we have exhibited photos of our achievements, similarly, we should have also displayed our failures to learn from them.

Bageshwar Bagi:

1.       PS has taken up its agitation with the help of Swaraj.

2.       Swaraj has also taken up the cause of women by advocating and implementing 50% representation to women community.

Maqbool Ahamed:

1.       In particular, the activities under head of Swaraj and Panchaayti Raj awareness in the five villages are a commendable work by PS.

2.       It may be more result-oriented for a fellow to concentrate on a single issue. Thus, a village could evolve, as a role model as far as a particular issue is concerned.

Mansoor Alam:

Swaraj has created waves in the dormant soul of village life. It has tried to generate unity among various communities in society, which earlier was fragmented in castes and religions.

Naseem Ansari:

Since we all talk on youth power; we have also to think of empowering youth.

There is also need of empowering PS family / team.

Manoj Tiwari:

PS, being a Gandhian organisation, we observe host of activities, though very much social in nature, are deviating from the main objectives.

For good results, we have to concentrate more upon one or two main issues.

Soter D’Souza:

Today, it is difficult to find young leaders with values in society. Shri Mani can use his own experiences to build ‘Young India Groups’.

Greg D’Costa:

We should take one-year time as stated by Pandereji to understand and assess the identity of PS. We have also to focus upon youth leadership and empowerment besides one or two main issues as suggested by many participants.

Then, the participants were grouped subject-wise for further deliberations. Their detailed report is given below.

 

DEVELOPMENT

Understanding About The Concept

GROUP NO. 1 : Team Members: Smt. Mangal, Shantaram Pandere, Maqbool Ahamed, Mansoor Alam and Bageshwar Bagi.

The present concept of alternative development needs to be based upon the welfare of village, in particular, the women, dalits and poor labourers and farmers. The new / second line leadership should be encouraged in all fronts like socio-economic, cultural etc. for the development of village. The all round development of the village be sought by ensuring the ownership of the natural resources in the hands of its respective villagers.

Objectives:

1.      To establish models of alternative development for self-reliance of the villages

2.      To map out local resources for the self-sustaining development of the villages

3.      To develop 2nd line leadership for village development

4.      To form a team of experts for alternative development

5.      To promote people’s oriented Panchayati Raj based on Gandhiji’s ideology

Strategies:

1.      To intervene in the politics at grass root level and encourage the like-minded parties and people.

2.      To form a team of experts particularly at central and state levels

3.      To generate meaning of the term development in its real term

4.      To encourage developmental works on the basis of Panchayati Raj where participation and consensus of the masses will be ensured

5.      Provision of special training to women and youths at various levels

6.      To form pressure groups to agitate against anti-people development models

7.      To inform people about holistic model of sustainable development

8.      To involve youths in various programmes in order to inculcate right thinking about development

Programmes:

1.      Mass-education and general awareness at every level

2.      Programmes to explore proper perspective about sustainable development 

3.      Exchange and sharing of knowledge and experiences among social activists

4.      Establishing information centres

5.      Encouraging the best from traditional wisdom and time-tested concepts of welfare development

6.      Training and technical education for social activists

7.      To gather study material on the concept of alternative sustainable development

8.      To guide and explain various means and ways to mobilise resources

Resources:

Team of like-minded experts, trained social activists and resource persons at the National and state level

Mobilisation of resources from GO / NGO

ECOLOGY

GROUP NO. 2 : Team members: R.V. P. Desai, Ram Narayan, Ulhas Arolkar, Prasad Dhakankar, L. Pankajakshan, Mrs. Sudha Sharma and Ms. Preeti.

Objectives:

1.       Pollution free environment for sustainable development

2.       Conservation and preservation of natural resources like air, water, land and forest

3.       Promotion of eco-friendly development models or experiments

Strategies:

1.       Promotion and strengthening of people’s organisations

2.       Training and research on alternative, eco-friendly and affordable sources of energy

3.       Net working and solidarity among like-minded groups / organisations

Programmes:

1.       Data Collection e.g. A – Integral relationship between man and nature B – Causes of various pollutions

2.       Mass awareness through workshops, rallies, street plays, posters, school competitions, debates, cultural activities etc.

3.       Study Programmes / Exposure visits

4.       Promotion and strengthening of Eco-Clubs in schools and colleges

5.       Promotion of natural farming

6.       Reforestation by keeping in mind the bio-diversity of the region

7.       Media and advocacy

8.       Promotion of time-tested naturopathy / alternative health practices with specific reference to medicinal herbs profusely available in our forests

9.       Documentation and publication

10.    Awareness about personal and social hygiene

11.    Awareness about ill-effects of cosmetics and electrical gadgets

Resources Required: 

1.       Research officer

2.       Documentation Centre

3.       Seed Bank

4.       Honorarium for full and part time workers

5.       Availability of green house

6.       Human, logistics and financial resources

 

PEOPLE’S ORGANISATION

GROUP – 3

Objectives:

People’s Organisations should seek Society free from exploitation

1.       A society with economic freedom

2.       A society with social equality

3.       A society with communal harmony

Strategy and Approach:

1.       Attain right to work

2.       Organise unorganised Mazdoors (labourers)

3.       Organise nominal and marginal kisans (farmers)

4.       Youths and women should be encouraged to involve in constructive works

5.       Proper guidance should be provided to youths and children

6.       To endeavour to abolish caste system from all religions in order to seek social equality

7.       Resist cruel criminal economy

8.       Empowerment of women

9.       Employment generation

10.    Intervention in the media for protecting whatever is the noble and best from our culture, traditions and heritage

Programmes:

1.       Implementation of minimum wages for unorganised workers

2.       Declaration of cost related price for farm products

3.       Attain social equality by launching struggle against caste system in the society

4.       Educate and organise different sections of the society to agitate against globalisation and communal fascism

5.       Formation of youth clubs, student’s forum, and women’s organisations for self reliance and employment generation programmes

6.       Fight against cultural fascism by highlighting our value system, music and art forms with the help of media

7.       Promoting / lobbying / advocacy to support local / small struggles ( e.g. Anti-coca cola struggle at Plachimada, Kerala)

8.       Boycott MNCs and TNCs products (like Nestle Coffee) and promote local / indigenous products

9.       Avoid middlemen and develop fair trade practices / networks or barter system

Resources:

{Organisation, Workers, Volunteers}

Needed money and manpower for the movement could be mobilised through the subscriptions by unorganised labourers and marginal farmers.

 

LIMITATIONS & OPPORTUNITIES

 

Institutional limitations & opportunities for Peaceful Society:

GROUP NO. 4: The Team: K. K. Mani, Greg D’Costa, Bhagavan Pathak, Ajit Panchawadkar and Soter D’Souza.

1.       There already exists a network in seven states, which can be further developed upon.

2.       To further build upon the existing PSP process and the trainers involved in this process.

3.       K. K. Mani’s vast experiences in mass-movement could be utilised to attract youngsters.

4.       Lectures could be organised for students of schools and colleges.

5.       Youth movements on national level, personality development and self-reliance programmes for youth could be organised.

6.       Model of organic farming in Peaceful Society could be further developed upon.

7.       PS campus could be transformed into a full-fledged Social Centre with accommodation facilities for 75 to 100 persons

8.       PS could become a pioneering organisation to propagate Gandhian ideals and principles, which are relevant today among the masses.

9.       PS Campus has got potential to evolve into a Retreat Centre for social activists.

10.    To reflect deeply upon the role of PS played during these years based upon its experiences of last 20 years.

LIMITATIONS:

Over dependence on one person

Legal hurdles-create networking development

After report presentation, there was summing up by K. K. Mani. The main points of his reflections are highlighted here under.

1.       The technology has not helped poor.

2.       Henceforth, man has to live as an unavoidable part of market economy without using ones own wisdom.

3.       The market needs consumer and not man. Toady, the major victim of this market economy is youth.

4.       The youth is targeted by market and allured to buy consumer goods, many times unnecessarily due to peer pressures and media influence.

5.       Today’s youth does not know who is Ram Manohar Lohia but is fully acquainted with models like Aishwarya Rai.

6.       The educators and planners of today need proper motivation.

7.       Despite noble values adopted by Swaraj forum, in practicality, the fellows and other Swaraj activists do not put any conscious efforts to break the barriers of caste, creed and religion.

8.       We have to adopt positive approach in our social action and should not work against any ideology or community.

The day’s last session concluded with vote of thanks by Shri R. P. Desai.

Study on Forest Management

STUDY ON FOREST MANAGEMENT

BY PEOPLE

IN

WESTERN GHATS

 

PEACEFUL SOCIETY

GOA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

 

The forests in Western Ghats represents the most fragile ecosystems in the world. The tropical forests all over the world and those in Western Ghats are getting destroyed at a faster rate. There are various schemes and afforestation programmes undertaken by the government to preserve the ecosystems in Western Ghats. However, a narrowadhoc approach, without active participation of the people living near the forests is bound to be ineffective. This study looks into the recent approach of Joint Forest Planning and Management (JFPM) and its impact on the local people. This is an attempt to analyse the factors that are essential to involve people in afforestation of Western Ghats. In addition to the analysis, the study documents cases of spontaneous efforts of people in management of forests in Western Ghats. Thus, these efforts indicate the motivation of people in conservation and regeneration of forests in Western Ghats. This also shows how people can successfully manage the forest resources.

We are grateful to Shri. Kalanand Mani, Executive Secretary, Peaceful Society for providing valuable guidance to conduct the study. His insight and experience of Save Western Ghats Movement has been invaluable help in completing this study.

September 30, 1994

 

 

CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

1.1 General

1.2 Forestry Programme and Uttara Kannada

II INSTITUTIONAL PROCESS

2.1 The review of Government order (Karnataka)

2.2 JFPM (Joint Forest Management) Process

III. VILLAGE FOREST COMMITTEES

3.1 Formation

3.2 Peoples Participation

3.3 Women’s Participation

IV. THE IMPACT  

4.1 On People

4.2 On Livestock

4.3 On Ecology

V. VFC’s ANALYSIS

5.1      General

5.2      Keravalli

5.3      Gublegadde

5.4      Talgadde

5.5      Hitlahalli

5.6      Malvadi

 

VI        WESTERN GHATS: REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE

6.1   Hill region

6.2   Coastal region

6.3   Coastal Ghats

6.4   The plains (Haliyal)

6.5   The plains (Joida)

VII.      SPONTANEOUS FOREST MANAGEMENT BY PEOPLE

7.1       General

7.2       Case Study: Halkar

7.3       Case Study: Hunsur

 

 STUDY ON FOREST MANAGEMENT BY PEOPLE IN WESTERN GHATS

INTRODUCTION

1.1         Western Ghats represents one of the most fragile ecosystems in South India. These mountain range runs parallel to the coastal region in Karnataka. They are the catchment areas of important rivers like Tungabhadra, Kaveri and Krishna. These rivers provide waters for irrigation to the dry regions of deccan plateau. 1Similarly the rivers like Sharavati and Kali provide a major source of power for the state (Karnataka). The forests in Western Ghats comprises of tropical evergreen to decedious types. The increase in population (which has doubted over past 30 years), increased demand for timber and land for agriculture has put enormous pressure on the forests of Western Ghats. The depletion of forests has attracted the attention of foreign governments. One of the response is from Overseas Development Administration, U.K.(ODA).ODA in collaboration with Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) has drafted the Western Ghat Forestry and Environment Project (WGFEP), Karnataka (1991). The process of drafting the proposal started in 1988 and eventually the document (1991) was accepted as final project proposal.

1.1.1    The major objective of the WGFEP is “to achieve sustainability in face of numerous pressures on the forest resources”. These pressures as identified in the project proposal are; logging, head loading, livestock and forest fires. The fundamental instrument, according to the proposal, to deliver the sustainability is Joint forest Planning and Management (JFPM). The process of managing Forest resources is participation with the people is in accordance with the forest policy and the circular of Central Government (1990) calling all the states to form village level institutions to regenerate and afforest waste lands and to protect the forests through sharing the benefits. Such mechanism to involve people in management of forest resources was called JFPM.

1.1.2   The objectives of the project are as follows: (1991)

A. To maintain the ecological balance and environmental stable of Western Ghats, to preserve their unique flora and fauna and to increase understanding of them.

B.   To rehabilitate and protect the major environmental resources represented by western Ghat forests.

c.   To assure the sustainability of living standards of those people whose livelyhoods currently derive, in whole or in part from the forest.

D.   To assure the sustained yield of all categories of produce proper to the natural forest, so as to secure sound economic welfare for future generations.

In order to achieve these objectives the strategy is as follows:

I.         Assisting institutional development of in KFD.

II.                Ensuring poor people, women, tribals and other disadvantaged groups who are substantially dependent on the forests are ” not worse, and preferably better off.

III.              Minimising further loss of forest cover and resources, and the service they provide.

IV.              Increasing understanding of the western ghat ecosystem.

1.1.3          The project proposal has laid out the objectives that have no relevance to the different causes identified for decrease in the forest cover. It has identified logging, head loading, grazing of livestock and forest fires. While recognising these causes as main factor for degradation of forest resources, the objectives does not reflect the concern to address these immediate causes. Thus the project objective is set in a vaccum, ignoring the real situations. All the four objectives is a jugglery of technical terms and all of them mean the same. The process is entirely dependent upon one agency i.e., of KFD. This dependency on a single institution to deliver the goods in a complex socio economic situation is a high expectation.

1.1.4          The process:

The KFD and ODA claim that the whole project is process oriented -rather than target oriented. It envisages the implementation of the programme through JFPM and thereby initiating institutional changes in KFD. The expectation of changing the relationship between people and KFD within a short span of 6 years (project time frame) is a herculean task. The relationship of people with KFD goes back to the colonial era. The post independence period of forestry programme has reinforced the policing role of KFD. Under such harsh realities, it is doubtful whether we can except changes at institutional level during the short time span of the implementation of the project. However, it is a rationale idea to change the attitude of KFD so as to initiate a process of working in cooperation with people.

1.4.1.1   In order to implement the project the forest area has been classified in to five zones. They are:

I     Core Zone-Ecologically important areas
II    Main Zone-Main forest without dwellers

(Potential for commercial exploitation)

III   Main Zone- Main forest with pockets of dwellers

IV   Boundary Zone- Edge of forests, near settlements

(mostly degraded land)

V   Outside forest- Near settlements, Common land, or

Revenue land.

Though the project proposal emphasises that the main thrust is on JFPM, by classifying the available forest areas into zones the whole programme gets narrowed down to zone IV. The JFPM will be implemented in this zone and peoples suggestion may be (?) sought to manage other zones. However, JFPM activities are restricted to zone IV. This classification into zones is a very complicated process and in reality it will confuse the forest dwellers. There are apprehensions that the actual zoning process may lead to uprooting of the marginal farmers and tribal groups, affecting the poorest people.

1.1.4.2   The project proposal also mentions about role of NGOs in building NGOs up JFPM process. The KFD wants NGOs to act as middlemen between forest department and the community. The project proposal also mentions of a separate funding process to NGOs to accelerate the formation of forest user groups. Thus, the project recognises the need to involve the NGOs at implementation stage. In reality the proposal wants NGOs to work as extension agents to aid the functioning of JFPM.

1.2              WGFP AND UTTARA KANNADA

The forest of Uttar Kanada is one of the major revenue earning regions of Karnataka. The project proposal (WGFEP) does not mention the criteria for selection of Uttara Kannada as the first circle in which the project activities are to be implemented. The project document states ‘Under the project, funds will be provided planting in those divisions of the project cycles lying within western Ghats area’. It seems the KFD and ODA wanted to start in the forest region and Uttara Kannada with 82 percent of land under forests was the obvious choice. KFD is the major employees providing jobs to thousands of people in the forestry sector, in this district.

1.2.1          Uttar Kannada has a long history of conflict over natural resources. In the early eighteenth century the Britishers took control of the region defeating Tippu Sultan (1890). However, the Dutch and Britishers were struggling to take control of the ‘factories’ (to process pepper) near the ports of Karwar and Honnavar. The region was well known for production of pepper. The Britishers concentrated on extraction of valuable teak from the forests. They took  control of the forest resources from the village communities. This led to conflict between people and the colonial rulers. The Britishers divided the forests into separate categories of Reserve forest, Protected Forests and Minor Forests. The best forests with high value ‘timber was classified as Reserve Forests which could be harvested by the government to earn revenue. Similarly, degraded forests near the villages was classified as ‘Minor Forests’ and given for use to people. The classification of forests in Uttara Kannada has intensified the conflict over resources. The same classification continued in the post independence period.

1.2.2       The colonial roots of forest policy was forcefully put in to practice in the post independence era.  Uttar Kanada with 82 percent under forests was labelled as ‘backward district’ .In order to eradicate the backwardness of the district forest base industries like paper, pulp and plywood factories were established. Large tracts of forests were leased out at concessional rates to these industries. Similarly the government clear felled natural forests and converted them into monoculture teak’ and ‘eucalyptus’ plantations. The history of KFD in the three decades after independence in Uttara Kannada has been the ruthless over exploitation of forest resources of the district. The villagers were a mute witness to the heavy logging activities.

1.2.3       Uttara Kannada has very meagre agricultural land. About lO percent of the land is cultivated in the district. The irony is, the population dependent on agriculture has almost doubled over past three decades but the cultivated area has remained stagnant. The agricultural system is entirely dependent on the forest resource The green leaves, dry leaves, grazing and water supply for crops is the outcome of well maintained forest ecosystem. However, as we have observed above (1.22) the forest policy and programmes have ignored the interest of farming community. Farmers and farming communities are constantly in conflict with forest department. The village or a hamlet in Uttara Kannada is situated in midst of forests. The farming activities like collection of dry leaves, green leaves, poles for building house and grazing is treated as activities that destroy forest resources. This view of KFD has reinforced its role as a policeman. This role has further widened the gap between forest department and the people. Livestock rearling is one of the subsidiary activities. Village people find that the available grasing land has been taken away by KFD for establishing monoculture plantations. The conflict over access and control over forest resources, have intensified in the recent past. It is in this background that one has to understand the implementation of WGFEP in Uttara Kannada.

1.2.4       Unfortunately the project proposal has ignored the background of the conflict over the resources, which exists in Uttara Kannada. The proposal says ‘Local people who are responsible for much of the biotic pressure on the forest must play a major role in the planning, management and protection of forest’ (proposal, page 4). It is in this environment of mutual distrust the KFD proposes to initiate the process of JFPM. The WGFEP states that it intends to bring ‘institutional changes in KFD which will change KFD’s relations with people who depend on forest’. In order to initiate joint activity with people the basic need is to establish a mutual trust among them. This is a pre condition before launching JFPM. The KFD officials have to understand the links between forestry and agriculture and how to help the farmer through JFPM. This holistic approach will pave way for cordial relationship between people and KFD. However, the project proposal has ignored is holistic approach.

1.2.5        The WGFEP was launched in Uttara Kannada during 1992-93. As the 1damental instrument of delivery of the programme is JFPM, the KFD surveyed 90 villages in Uttara Kannada district, out of which 40 have been identified as ‘priority villages’ £or JFPM activities.  Of these till May 1994 the KFD has formed VFCs (Village Forest Committees) in 51 Villages. The KFD and ODA claims that the PRA exercise has helped them to have rapport with people. In some villages micro plan has been drawn up by KFD. KFD claims to have consulted local people on designation and delineation of all forest zones in the project area. The KFD and ODA claim that JFPM emphasis is on the process than to meet the target. Learning from this experience of establishing JFPM the KFD is planning to bring out a ‘Implementation Manual for JFPM’ as a reference for the field work. Whatever the truth of these claims, the people saw a lot of activity of moving vehicles and publicity about ODA and JFPM in the local vernacular press.

II         INSTITUTIONAL PROCESS

2.1              As part of the institutional process to be introduced in KFD, the Government of Karnataka issued a Government order (G.O.) on ]’ 12/4/1993. This order empowers the KFD to implement the process of JFPM and to constitute Village Forest Committees (VFCs.) Under this order sharing of the benefits under JFPM is also spelled out as follows:

-50% to the Government (KFD)

-25% to Beneficiaries of VFCs

-25% to Village Development Fund.

The concept of sharing the produce is important. But in the process of formation of VFCs, the main motivation should be to allow peoples control over the resources. Undue emphasis given to sharing of the produce may attract people who are not using the forest resources, but the one who are eager to get share of economic gain. Thus, this cause of economic benefits may attract attention of people in the village who want to earn money through the plantation established by VFCs.

2.1.1          The G.O. clearly states that JFPM activities can be implemented in those areas where the canopy cover is less than 0.25 percent. Obliviously, the most degraded area is to be developed through JFPM process. This restriction means that KFD expects local people to in JFPM only to develop the degraded lands. The stake of people tempting control the forest area to meet the minimum biomass eds in the forest area is ruled out. This narrow approach of the state government defeats the purpose of ‘involving local people in management of forest resources’. KFD wants people to help them in afforesting degraded areas, but it is not willing to share the larger responsibilities of management of other forest areas.

2.1.2          The most important factor in the VFC is its Member secretary. According to the. G.O. the Forester (from KFD) is the Member Secretary of VFC. He has been given responsibilities to maintain books of accounts of VFC and Village Development Fund. He is also vested with power to keep all the records. Thus, the entire power is vested with the functionary of KFD. This gives total control to VFC to a forest official. Though the KFD says that for initial three years, it is essential that the department handles the VFC as it is in the stage of infancy. But by doing this, the KFD has taken away the initiative and creativity of people. It has made VFC as a passive tool in the hands of KFD functionary.

2.1.3          The most arbitrary powers are vested with the Secretary of VFC are as follows:

–     Secretary can recommend the termination of membership of Managing Committee members.

–     He can recommend temporary or permanent termination of membership if he finds that the member is not performing his role properly.

–     To terminate membership of VFC for life

–     On the recommendation of the member Secretary (Forester) the Range Forest Officer (RFO) can dismiss the VFC.

–     For all the penal rules mentioned above the appeal is only to a higher KFD official. The decision of this official is binging on the VFC and the members.

Vested with these arbitrary powers the KFD has taken the total control of VFC and even the members. Thus, it has made the mockery of grass roots democracy. The VFC, which consists of elected members from villagers, and who in turn elect Managing committee. Ignoring this aspect, the KFD has retained the powers of dismissing VFC and its members. Obviously, the KFD does not want any impartial suggestion of people. It wants the VFC and members who agree to their idea. This arbitrary powers defeats the, essence of JFPM as expressed in para (16) (i) of the annexure to the G.O. “VFCs should not become an extension of the Forest Department. But this shall be strong village bodies having functional antonomy”. A VFC can never function antonomusly with its secretary having the power to dismiss its members at will. At present the VFCs can function only if its members behave as an extension agents of KFD.

2.1.4           The G.O. has initiated the process of setting up of VFCs in Karnataka. The KFD officials admit that there are shortionings in the Act. They feel that necessary amendments will be made in future according to the need. Their opinion is to change the rules based on experiences. However, we feel that even to start a genuine process of JEPM the need is to give to manage forest resources. The ambiguity of the order is incentive to form VFCs.

The G.O. which was passed with the objective of involving peoples participation in management of forest resources has in fact given the sole responsibility of managing VFC, a village level institution in to the hands of KFD. In the present context the people have to play a mere passive role to support KFD. The changing institutional attitude can not come through the G.O.

2.2              At the institutional level, to implement JFPM activities a separate wing has been established at divisional level. Within this team responsibility of establishing rapport is assigned to one RFO(JFPM). He is to contact villagers and discuss the concepts of JEPM. Other KFD officials may, or may not take active interest in discussion with people. Obviously, the institutional change is narrowed down to JFPM team and within JFPM it is only one person who is to establish rapport and discuss with people. Implementation will be done by other officers. This division of role enables the KFD to maintain (its earlier role as policeman) the image in which it gets alienated from people. Thus, there is hardly any scope for wider changes at institutional level.

III        VFC: STRENGTH & WEAKNESS

3.1              Formation of VFC is an important milestone in the implementation of JFPM process. Ideally the KFD has envisaged the formation of VFC into various stages: they are-

I       visit to village

II      Introduction of JFPM idea to villagers

III     The necessity of VFC

IV     Formation of a committee of Promoters

V      preparation of list of beneficiaries in the village

VI     People declare their intention to participate in JFPM in the presence of RFO

VII    The member Secretary (Forester) collects the membership fee and registers people as members.

VIII   Inclusion of nominated members

IX     Registration of VFC

X      General body elects the President qf VFC

XI     The management committee is elected in presence of Revenue Inspector

XII    Dissolution of promoters committee.

In practice it may be difficult to follow all these stages. but there should be a genuine attempt to convey the message to village people. In order to understand people perception we conducted studies in 25 VFCs in Various forest divisions of Uttara Kannada.

3.2             People’s participation

The initial meeting of KFD officials with villagers is very crucial. It is through these meetings the officials get an opportunity to establish rapport with people formation of VFC. In fourteen, villages only one visit was made before formation of VFC. In one village (Bellankeri-Sirsi) they visited four times. In another village they visited the village 9 times. This is the first village Where VFC was formed in Karnataka (Talagadde). This is the reality at village level wherein the idea of JFPM and VFC is trusted upon people in a short span of one or two meetings. However, the KFD claims “Even with separate Deputy Conservator of Forests provided to each division exclusively for JFPM activity in Uttara Kannada Circle, it has been found by experience that it has taken them not less than visits to each village to form a VFC” (JFPM NEWSLETTER). This is hollow claim and an attempt to spread a deliberate lieThe only visits by KFD officials is an attempt to implement top down model JFPM. They give the idea that a new forestry programme has come and they have to involve villagers. And they want a committee villagers. In many villages KFD officials said “We have to carry out our plan”. The meetings turned out to be a one way process in which KFD explained to people about JFPM. The emphasis was that people will get commercial and monetary benefit and so they should become members of VFC. At no point of time the KFD officials explained the idea of management of forest resources. Instead, they said that the KFD will establish the plantations which has taken care by people, for first three years the department will  take care  and after that the VFC has to manage  the plantation. In many villages VFCs were formed after the establishment of ODA Plantation. KED could have utilized this opportunity to establish a genuine relationship with forces users. However it has squandered away the opportunity.

3.2.1          Another indicator for assessing participation of people in VFC is to look at the number of people present during the meeting when actual VFC is formed. Out of 25 villages only in 4 villages more than 500% of the population participated in this meeting. Out of this in one village (Gobral) they were forced to attend the meeting. In remaining 21 villages the percentage of people who attended the meeting is between 10 to 30 percent.This figures indicate the poor response of villagers towards VFC. Even when people attend these meeting there is rarely any opportunity to ‘participate’ actively because the people are passive participants. They have to hear what KFD officials say.

3.3              In these meetings participation of women is negligible. Only in three villages more than 20 ~ women attended the meeting. But in all other villages less than 10 women attended the meeting. Even where they attended the meeting they did not participate actively, in the process of formation of VFC. Thus, their participation was passive. In many cases where women are the main forest user group (like Halakki women) has been left out of the JFPM process and their involvement in VFC. In many VFCs the women members were nominated for managing committee to meet the legal requirement.

IV        THE IMPACT

4.0       The largest foreign funded programme, when implemented in on small area is likely to create impact at micro and macro level. We have already attempted to see how it has helped or not helped in bring an institutional change in KFD. Similarly we will try to assess the impact of WGFP on the lives of common village people where VFCs are formed and also on livestock and ecology of the area vis-avis JFPM’ plantations.

4.1             ON PEOPLE

In the caste ridden rural village structure the JFPM process, attempted without seriousness has not elicited any response from village people. ‘However it has definitely created fear among groups who were using the JFPM area. Many people were using it for various purposes, now with the new ODA project the people see that the possibility of taking away this area, whether it is small or large. However the people who have power in the village can definitely influence the KFD in prohibiting access to particular area selected for JFPM plantations. The people see that this programme is an extension of earlier monoculture afforestation programme. But it is anmed as JFPM. May be, to satisfy the rules, the VFCs and Management Committees are formed. But these are institutions without power. The people have gauged this authoritarian attitude of KFD and due to the fear of further alienation, they support the whole process of JFPM. People feel that the impact is further restriction of access to forest resources and possible 3.lienCition of people from forest. The barbed wire and the trench around the plantations is further evidence of such alienation process through JFPM. There is another possibility of village loosing faith on the rehotoric of  ‘peoples participation’ in management of natural resources. It leads to demoralising  peoples initiatives in the long run.

4.2             On  Livestock

Livestock keeping is one of subsidiary occupation of people in Uttara Kannada. It is kept as draught and milch animal. It is an important link in the agricultural system, providing inputs (Farm Yard Manure) to grow crops. The livestock population has increased in recent years. However there is shortage of fodder, forcing import of fodder. The access of grazing land to poorest, people is an important resource. Formerly the availability of fodder was high in natural forest regions. But the gradual conversion of natural forests into monoculture (teak) plantations has reduced the availability of fodder. Similarly the spread of exotic weeds like eupatorium has hindered the growth of grass. In the wake of afforestation drive, the  enthuastic KFD has raised plantations on every open area in this district. Now with ODA project, they have further identified the ‘last resort’ of grazing areas left in the villages. Due to this, many villagers have initially expressed their apprehension over the ODA project. They were not willing to loose the limited grazing area. Out of 25 villages studied, in all the vil.1ages the people said that the area was being used as grazing land. Obviously, the ceasing of the grazing land puts extra burden on people to search for alternate areas/sources of fodder. The well off farmer has the purchasing power to purchase fodder from distant places. But a small farmer and landless labour is not in a position to pay towards the cost of fodder. Thus the project has made it difficult to keep the livestock by poorest groups. Especially the Gouli tribes are the major group who will be affected by the JFPM. Though the KFD has plans to establish fodder plantations it is impractical to expect fodder production on a large scale to stall feed the livestock.

KFD has assured that people can harvest fodder after the rainy season. In reality it is true that the availability may increase in the short run due to cordoning of the area. But after 3 years when the monoculture spicies (of acacia or teak) grow, they will not allow grass to grow underneath. Thus in the long run availability of fodder will get reduced, affecting the poorest groups an;l women.

4.3             On Ecology

Though it is too early to assess the impact of JFPM plantations on the ecology of the area, we may be able to look at the probable direction. As discussed above (5.20) the impact of shortage of fodder for livestock keeping will definitely force people to look for other regions where they can grow grass. At the present stage, the available open grass growing area is taken away for various afforestation programmes including ODA WGFP. Thus the people have to create opening in the thick forest regions to grow grass. The stress on available land for growing grass/fodder will shift to forest regions. This will “create additional pressure on the fragile ecosystems of western ghats.

V         VFC’s ANALYSIS

5.1               General

In order to understand the functioning of VFCs at indepth level we conducted study of five VFCs. We attempted to look at the socio economic situation and the expectation of people. We also tried to assess the strength and weakness of VFC and its link to the JFPM plantations. what is the opinion of people regarding VFC? Is it possible for VFCs to get control over forest resources? What are the needs of people. Do they any alternative to forest management?

5.2               Keravalli

This represents the typical village situation of the coastal region. Situated on the banks of Sharavati, it has mixed caste groups. The land holding is very meagre ranging from 5 cents to 2 acres. The people have attained self sufficiency in food due to establishment of lift irrigation scheme, costing Rs. 1.2 lakhs. This is entirely managed by people. The ODA plantations was thrust upon the villagers. The people were not consulted before identifying the plantation area. The KFD wanted to install its own person as Chairman of VFC. But by coincidence the present Chairman got the opportunity. The VFC and Managing committee is homogenious in tackling the issues. They are the ones who did not sign the minutes on dotted lines. The MC passed resolutions to get cashew trees from Cashew Plantation. VFC has mature leadership and aware of their rights and duties. The weakness of VFC; it could not pressurise KFD to plant spicies that was demanded by people, it did not bring in the real biomass needs (dry leaves etc) in to VFC discussion, and did not demand the costs incurred by KFD to establish the plantation.  The people feel that VFC is not in a position to get control over management of forest resources. The KFD has in fact taken away the land encroached by Poorest groups to plant ODA plantations. The KFD used divide and rule policy by supporting other group, who were not encroachers. Thus, the mutual trust was destroyed. The KFD should have looked into the collective lift irrigation scheme to see how the same could be used for JFPM/VFC activities. Thus, it has ignored the existinance of a village institution to manage water resources. The presence of NGO has in no away helped the VFC/JFPM process due to lack of interest by NGO.

5.3               Gublegadde

Through it is Honnavar division, this village is situated in midst of thick evergreen forest. In fact the area should come under Zone I (Core Zone}. However. there are open grass lands in midst of these forests. The ODA plantations are done on this grass land. People have lost their main grazing areas. The economically better off section was able to influence KFD and leave some areas for grazing. The migration of cattle by Marathi people to this region will be severly affected. The people raised adjection to the VFC/ ODA plantations. However using threat and luring SOYo share forced them to agree to form VFC. The strength of VFC is that they forced KFD to reduce the density of acacia saplings to be planted in the area. They also forced the KFD to plant some indegenious spices. The VFC leadership is gone into the hands of powerful Havyak Community. The trend is to support ODA in order to live in coexistence because they have to work with KFD everyday because they live in midst of forests.

5.4                This is the first village in which kFD inaugurated the VFC in the state. A typical coasted region with enormous    population pressure and headload of fuel wood brought by women to earn living. The KFD established VFC by Promising alternative jobs to these women and also to hand over cashew plantations. Once the VFC was established the plantations were established without consulting people. Thus, all the efforts of KFD, iniating PRA etc., was a failure. The KFD has failed to keep the promise and people are suspicious about KFD. Even VFC Chairman doubts the intention of KFD. Thus the first VFC of Karnataka is already on the road of railure.

5.5               Hitlahalli

This is in midst of hill of western ghat. The VFC was formed after plantirlg acacia and,teak saplings. The Chairman of VFC is, from dominant high caste. The people using the forest resources are not part of VFC process. The plantation has severly affected the landless labourers, stopping access to forest resources. And also closure of foot path in the plantation area. The plantations have been established without consulting people and they have not developed any stake in the ‘forest’. The VFC is a token body to appease rich people in the village. The possibilities of natural regeneration in the village is better.

5.6               Malvadi

This is one village where in we see a positive trend in peoples participation. Though it is on the edge of Western Ghats, the encroachment problem is not there. The people are not dependent on forests for dry leaves or green leaves. They use forests for fuel wood, timber and grazing. Historically this village has cordial relationship with KFD. The people voluntarily work for one day in a year for KFD X since many years. This act or has played an important role in the success of KFDs attempt an important role in the success of KFDs attempt to establish VFC. The PRA, and micro plans are remembered as events of drawing maps and people feel that it was done for the requirement KFD. There is no need for plantation because of excellent regeneration possibility. However this has not been given due consideration. The VFC has specifically asked for local spicies to be planted. The people are already in the process of loosing confidence on the false promise of KFD. The KFD promised to hand over the bamboo plantation to VFC. But it has not been done. Thus there is a lot of suspicion among people on the intentions KFD. Ironically the best village where VFC is strong is being e defunct due to the apathy of KFD.

VI        WESTERN GHATS: REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE

6.0       The WGFP is implemented in Uttara Kannada  district on a uniform pattern. However the district is not a homogenious unit and the different regions has diverse cultural, ecological and economic differences. In order to understand how the intervention of ODA has helped to accelerate the process of forest conservation, we are attempting to look at these regional differences.

Broadly the district can be divided into 5 categories, based on ecological differences. The hill regions with forests (Sirsi- siddapur); the coastal region with heavy population, the coastal ghats with less population. The fourth is the plains of Haliyal and fifth is the forest region of Joida with least population pressure.

We are attempting to look at these regional differences to understand the pressure on population and how WGFP is implemented. This provides the background reality to the implementation of WGFP.

 6.1      GHATS:HILL REGION (Sirsi-Siddapur-Yellaupur Areas)

I Geographical Situation

This region consists of hills and thick forests. It has both evergreen and decidious forests. The natural forest is clearfelled to make way for teak plantations. The ~perennial streams are common. Tanks and ponds are common to harvest rainwater.

The encroachment problem is very common due to in high population pressure.

Villages are scattered, school, education facility is high.  Dependency on forest is very high.

II     Population:

Population is sparse in the village. Higher education has helped people to migrate in search of employment, thus reducing the Population pressure on land.

Ethnic groups:

Havyak Brahmins dominate in ghat region. Lingayats are found on he edge of ghats. Harijans, Siddis, Marathas are dependent on orests. Vokkalighas (Kari and Gamma) are also founa as forest wellers. Muslims and Christians are mainly found in towns.

II.    Land + Income

Paddy and arecanut is the main crop. The land is very fertile due to bountiful natural resources. Due to the cash crop affluence farmers have installed irrigation units on their farm.

This region is the economic centre of the district. The cash income from areca nut has helped to attain prosperity. There is shortage of labour and the wages are well above the state minimum wages.

Cattle population is high. Fodder shortage is acute. Fodder is imported from other plain regions. There are established dairy collecting milk. Livestock keeping is a subsidiary occupation.

IV    Dependency on  Forest:

–     Very high; dry and green leaves are collected on a large scale for composting.

–     Fuel wood availability is gradually becoming problem near urban areas.

–     Fuelwood sale near towns are common.

–     MEP collection in forest regions mainly Uppage, Ramapathre etc., provides cash income to poorest groups.

–     KFD employees people for plantation work. On an average men get Rs. 25-30 and women gets 15-20 per day.

V.    ODA Plantation:

–     There is very little open space left for plantations.

–     Possibilities of natural regeneration is excellent in this region.

–     Smuggling is common and it is done in collusion of KFD officials.

–     ODA plantations are established near agriculture land and even on encroached land.

Dependency on plantation~

–     Grazing land

–     Poorest groups growing food crops (encroachment)

VI.   Impact:

–     The people have initially objected to taking away grazing land.

–     Pressure on forests may increase

–     Goulis and Siddis may be affected most as loss of grazing land will effect them adversely.

VII   JFPM / Participation

–     Chairman: Are politically aware with good ‘connection’ with KFD.  Lingayat, Havyak, Namadhari are the Chairman for VFC. Participation of women is through nomination. They are not actively involved.

–     People do not feel that they have stake in the ODA forest. The monetary benefit is the only attraction to join VFC.

–     The pressure on forests for expanding agriculture and to fetch other biomass needs very high.

6.2      COASTAL REGION

I.          GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION

The coastal area has hills and valleys adjacent to coast. The habitation starts from seashore. The NH-17 passes near the coast. The houses are near the valley. These small hills are barren without any big trees. There are throny shrubs and plants. In recent years acacia plantations have been established on these hills. There are also cashew plantation in this region. No big trees (Natural) are seen.

There are no forests near village. Near the ghats forests starts, which are getting denuded. Ample streams (perennial) are flowing. There are big river like sharavati and Chandavar etc. Backwater problem exists in coastal area.

Road connection is good, even in interior areas.

II.    POPULATION:

Thick population everywhere. Wherever land can be cultivated, People have settled. Concentration of population adjacent to Highway. Dugwells are common. Drinking water is available in plenty. Education and literacy is good.

Cultural Groups: All major communities from Fisherman to Halakki, Vokkals, Naik, Gam Okkal (Patagars), Nama Naik, Gam Okkal (Patagars), Namadhari Naik, Harijans, Jer, Ambigas, Muslim and Christian Population.

Land + Income:

Small very small and holdings is a common phenomenon. They eke out a difficult living. Economically well of communities are Nayakas, Havikas, Muslim, Navats, namadhari Naik, Patagars etc. Poorest groups are Halakki and some percent of Gam Vokkals. Ambigs are poorest group.

Income: Low income groups are more. They earn from coconut etc. They grow paddy (two crops), groundnut (Rabi crop), areca and coconut etc. Irrigation pump sets are used extensively.

Cattle Population is there but it is kept only for drought animal. They sell milk on a small scale. Milk is used.

IV        Dependency on Forest:

–     There is no forest nearby, they have to walk 3-4 kms to get fuel wood.

–     Heavy pressure (on Chandavar betta) on forest.

–     Fuel wood, smuggling, darku and soppu is collected.

–     Nearby forests are destroyed, the forests near ghats is gradually.

–     Getting decimated. KFD and people are regularly in conflict due to high dependency.

–     Encroachment on forest land for growing groundnut.

MFP collection- Murual etc. No MFP available due to deforestation KFD is major employer for plantation of acacia. ‘Wages for labour men ( 20) and women ( 15 ).

V.        ODA Plantation —

Established near the village. The main objective is to stop encroachment. Plantation is very essential. But people feel that this ODA plantation is not good. Gradually people are using acacia leaves wood etc.

Dependancy:

–     Grazing

–     Encroachment / Fodder / Cashew / Peanut.

–     Ground leaves/ green leaves on a small scale.

Impact :

–     The main problem is that of cattle grazing.  There are no lands for grazing.

–     Due to encroachment problem where is clash with KFD.

Women: Fuel wood is difficult to get

Poorest groups: There are people who have done encroachment on ODA plantation area (Manki). They are affected/evacuated for ODA plantation (Manki).

Cattle: Grazing is a problem they have to go longer distance. Stall feeding may be essential. But alternative fodder source is not there.

VII. Participatory Ideas

JFPM Chairman: Links with KFD and political parties is common. Usually the economically well off person is the Chairman of VFC.

Women Members : Havyak, Naik or economically stronger groups do participate. On an average women participation is not there. Women members are aware but Halakki women are not aware.

JFPM: After formation the people have taken interest. Due to encroachment KFD and people are going in opposite direction. People are cutting KFD acacia plantation. Conflict with KFD is acute. Monetary benefit is the main reason for joining JFPM.

In general people are not interested in loosing grazing land. However they have agreed to help due to awareness. The people are suspicious smuggling is supported by KFD. So people think that KFD can not keep/protect the remaining natural forests. OOA plantation is not unique.

Cashew plantation is found on large scale in coastal area which belongs to Cashew corporation. Cashew Corporation is a separate wing. The TW and  KFD has given false promise of giving cashew sales of JEPM. These false promises has led of disruption of relationship with KFD as it has not kept up the promise.

Fuel wood and women dependency on fuel wood collection is a major problem.

6.3             COASTAL GHATS: (FOREST EXITS)

I. Geographical Situation

Near village thick forest exists. Hills and Valleys is common. Different type of natural plants are found. Streams are plenty. Road situation is not very good. Higher Education facility is not there.

II. Population:

Compared to coast the population is less. But in village there is concentration of population. Migration of people from coastal area is also there.

Cultural groups:

Gouderu ( Konkani ), Gouli ( Marathi), G. S. B.  Havyaka.

III.  Land + Income

Arecanut plantations on small scale. Paddy is the main crop. In some areas two crops are grown.

Income : is comparatively good. Small land owners are in majority.  About 10% are landlords  owning arecanut plantation 3-4 acre ( G.S.B., Naik etc., ).

Cattle population is equal to human population. Milk is for Consumption.

IV        Dependency :

–     Fuel wood, soppu, darku, available in plenty. But there is pressure from outside, from coastal region- 8 – lO kms they come to their forests (Bhatkal to Kodlamakki).

MEP- Contractors, Vatekai, Analekai, Cashew.

KFD nurseries (Kuntwani-50 People).

V         ODA Plantation –

Is not essential. The need is to protect the existing forests. muggling over dependency of coastal area, they take soppu on cycle, tractor and cartload etc. So heavy pressure on forests.

Dependency – ODA

–     Grazing land

–     Encroachment (for fodder)

VI.       Impact

Grazing pressure on natural forests for growing fodder.

Women – Nil

Poorest groups – Nil

VII.      Participation – JFPM

Chairman are political leaders, they are well off people not using forest resources. Political party link is obvious.

Women participation is not there. JFPM is good but they do not feel that they have stake.

Monitory benefit is the main attraction to join JFPM.

Land encroachment is not as severe as in coastal area. People are not rough-fighting nature.

6.4              THE PLAINS (HALIYAL)

I. Geographical Situation

It is plain area and hills are rare. There are no thick forest area like Joida. The forest is decidious forest, but it is less~ There are plantation of teak and eucalyptus. Now eucalyptus trees are cut. Streams are found, but it has less water in the summer. Large number of tanks are common in this area.

Encroachment problem is very common in Haliyal taluka.

Mud roads are common, villagers are closer. School facilities exist and literacy is common, Kannada speaking population. Near the villages forests is destroyed, Siddis are agriculturalists. They do not depend on forests.

II. Population

Thick population compared to Joida. Clustering of village is common. Old people are just functionally literate. But the younger generation is involved in higher education (below 10%). KFD has employed people as watchman but they gre temporary.

 

Ethinic group

Marathas dominate in the population and equally Goulis are also found. Lingayats (more) Harijans, Siddis, Koravaru (Bamboo weavers – Mundwad has a cology).  Siddis( Muslim and Christian ) Muslim and Christian.

III. Land + Income

Paddy is the main crop (kharif). Compared to Joida land is fertile. Paddy yield is good. In some areas lift irrigation has helped to grow two crops of paddy (on small scale).

Ground nut, lentils, sugarcane and onion is grown in rcibi season. Economic situation is better in comparison to Joida due to fertility of land. Migration to Goa is less. Landless families are about 10%. But they work as agricultural labour. Migration of labourers to Haliyal, Karwar and Belgum, Londa etc.

Cattle population is almost equal to human population. Livestock keeping, growing fodder is common. Milk is used for consumption.

IV. Dependency on Forests

–     Dry leaves are used for composting, but it is not very common.

–     Fuel wood availability is not easy because of pressure of population on forests.

–     Fuel wood for sale is not there.

MFP Collection – sheegekai, Allekai and small quantity of honey is also collected. Contractors collect the MFP. MFP collection does not provide any major employment opportunities.

v. ODA Plantation:

Compared to Joida, ODA plantation is essential, because forest is denueded by people in a reckless manner. So forest is disappearing faster.

Possibilities of natural regeneration is high because soil and root stock is intact.

Smuggling of timber (teakwood) is high. People say the smugglers are from different village, but people feel that KFD knows about it, KFD supports them.

ODA plantation is near the village (fields) to stop encroachment on forest land.

Dependency on ODA plantation area

It was grazing land, to grow grass as fodder. About 900% of land is grazing land. In some areas farmers encroached forest land to grow qroundnut and lentils.

VI Impact

–     In general people in Haliyal have objected to ODA plantation due to the fea~ of loosing land.

–     Pressure on forest land may increase.

Women: No dependency, but there was no wood available in the ODA  area. They cut green trees for fuel   wood.

– Goulis/Sidjis: Goulis may be affected due to loosing of grazing   land. Goulis are dependent on agriculture land than animal husbandary. If they do  not have land, they migrate to other areas.

VII. Participation / JFPM

Chairman: Usually those who have links with KFD. They are politically aware. Politically aware people are Chairman. One Siddi Chairman (Dodkoppa) of VFC. Lingayat, Upper Caste people are holding VFC Chairman’s post.

Women Members: They have attended but they are nominated for the VFC. Women participation is less.

People have opposed the JFPM, but now they have become members, but they do not feel have ‘Stake’ in the forests. The people have accepted the JFPM because of the lure of monetary benefits.

The village people are rough and they want to extend the land for agriculture. The tendency to fight for getting agriculture land is more common. Due to heavy population forest is destroyed for house building~ to meet human needs. The pressure on forests is heavy in comparison to Joida. In Haliyal every plantation has a ,watchman. If we do not intervene at this stage, the deforestation may accelerate and lead to a situation like coastal areas.

People have the mentality of using/cutting trees, rather than planting. They do not feel that forest is theirs. Awareness regarding deforestation is required.

6.5              THE PLAINS (JOIDA)

I. Geographical

Hills are rare, it is a plain area adjacent to thick forests. .MarasangalJ Paiswadi etc., does not have hills or valley. In the forest area- there are huge plantations in Joida taluka-(Chandwadi Jugalbet etc). Miscellaneous trees and concentration of teak (maximum plantation). Recently acacia plantations also have been established.

Near the village there is excellent forest. Streams flow in rainy season. But in dry months, there is extreme shortage of drinking water. Perennial streams are rare (except Gobral).

Villages do not have tar road. Main roads KPC roads are good. Railway line near Marasangal (Belgum-Goa Road).

II. Population

Thin concentration of population. The villages are scattered and very thin population. Education facilities after 4th standard is very scarce. Education/higher education possibilities are very less.

Cultural groups:

Marathi speaking Konkan Marathas are in majority in this area. They do not understand Kannada. In some area Gouli communities are found (Paiswadi Jalkatte). Kunabi families are also found in minority.

II.                                      Land + Income

Paddy cultivation  is the only occupation  The  land holding is marginal but the income is very less. The soil fertility is very less. The dry land is more and the crop is raineed. Thus the income is low. Landless people are less, but both landed people migrate to Goa for work. Paddy is the only crop grown. Irrigation facilities are less. Lot of problem due to wild animals destroying crops. Cattle population is less than human population. They are decimated due to disease. People do not use milk.

IV        Dependency on forest

Fuel wood  easily available due to forests. In Joida taluka they do not use green leaves or dry leaves (Timbolli- they use dry leaves).

MFP    – Sheegekai, Allekai is available. KFD- Gives on contact to contractors. These contractors approach villagers to collect MFP. On an average people get employment for 20-25 days to some families}. On an average they earn Rs. 40/- per day.

They are also employed by KFD and PWD. KFD gives nursery,

Plantation work. Women get Rs. 15/-. Men get Rs. 25/- per day. KFD is the major employed in this area (women get work in KFD}.

V. ODA Plantation

Looking at the forest cover, which may be about sixty percent canopy cover, plantation is necessary. Natural regeneration is good. Smuggling activities are rare, deforestation is done by KFD. Under such circumstances ODA plantation is not necessary.

Dependency (ON ODA Plantation)

Most areas of ODA plantation is near villages (Paiswasdi etc). for growing ‘Karada’ Grass. Fuel wood was also brought from this area.

VI. Impact:

Total impact on People: Monetary benefit is attraction to join JFPM. People are worried about the loosing of grazing land. This is likely to create pressure on natural forests because its natural forest grass/fodder is not available (Vaine people are opposing the scheme due to this).

Women: Women dependency on forest is very less. However, they get work of forest department. ‘Nomen do not go to forest for collection of MFP.

Poorest groups: Goulis etc.

(Paiswadi)- Goulis face shortage of availability of fodder. In a village the economic situation is generally poor. Thus everyone is affected.

Cattle: There are no veternary facilities in the village. Wild animals attack on cattle is also a problem {eg. Vaine) in some village.

VII       Participation/JFPM

JFPM Chairman is mostly opinion leaders. No one is working in forests. They are mostly petty political leaders having little awareness. All of them have good links with forest officials.

Women members are mostly nominated. The participation in JFPM is negligible. Women are unaware of the JFPM.

The people have not actually taken any interest in JFPM. They are afraid of FD as they depend on them for livelyhood. So when KFD said to form VFC’S. People accepted it. Formation Of VFC was done during first meeting. They have paid membership fees. Overall, peoples participation is not there. People work as wage earners. It is one sided programme.

The people do not feel that JFPM is a unique/special programme. There is no watchman for plantation. There is no need be cause people do not destroy trees. People use trees for small timber, lead a simple life. They are not involved in smuggling activities. Encroachment problem is very rare in Joida taluka. Still, the KFD has attempted to establish plantations destroying dependency of people on forests. It is surprising that KFD has chosen the village grazing land for ODA plantation.

VII       SPONTANEOUS FOREST MANAGEMENT BY PEOPLE

Though the state government is making serious attempts to form VFC’s in villages, their efforts have not brought positive results. The village people suspect the real motive of the forest department. The previous backlong of negative experience has had its impact on he present programme. Though the concept of JFPM is good, it1s mplementdtion has ruined the process of bridgining the widening gap. Nevertheless, there are various attempts by people to manage the forests spontaneously. We are presenting two case studies wherein people have been managing the forests for almost five decades. Surprisingly, no government department is involved in running these institutions. These spontaneous efforts are ignored y the departments. In fact they provide a rich experience to initiate a true process of peoples management of forest resources.

7.2              CASE STUDY

HALKAR  VILLAGE FOREST PANCHAYAT, KUMTA TALUK;c UTTARA KANNADA

Introduction: —

Recent studies by ecologists have brought to the light many instances of successful natural resource management by traditional societies from different parts of the world. Such management systems have acquired greater significance today as modern science ~d newer systems of resource management purportedly based on it have failed to deliver the goods and have brought our natural environment perilously close to the brink of a disaster. Especially in the developing countries this situation has, through disruption of many  ecosystems undermined  the livelihoods  of many millions of people. Thanks to a global awakening  on the magnitude of this proble and   the studies which ensued it a strong plea has been made by the concerned persons that the local communities with

their traditional knowledge of the management of natural environment should be given greater participation in resource management. The concept of Joint Forest Planning and Management which is getting implemented in our country is the outcome of such an alternative thinking. As traditional knowledge pertaining to this is largely forgotten or lost in ill-written pieces of history we are on the lookout for concrete instances of successful forest management by village communities. In this paper 3 is briefly outlined a study on a live example of forest management by village community as existing in the Halkar village of Kumta taluk in Uttara Kannada. Before embarking upon such a venture anew we have many points for serious consideration as the Halkar Village Forest Panchayat would tell us.

Historical Background

Considerable evidence has accumulated to show us that during the pre-British period there existed autonomy among the village communities of India as regards the management of forest resources within their respective territories was concerned. In the hilly and forest clad district of Uttara Kannada the pre-British landscape was basically managed by the village communities. It seems every village used to have a substantial portion of land under a rather primeval kind of forest called kan where tree cutting was a taboo, Such kan often protected the watershed,  regulated the local climate, supplied a variety of non – wood produce  forest  and grouping of the village  for enjoyment  of privileges in theforests. The minor forests were to be brought  under the Revenue Department as they were unproductive and policing them would be a burden on the part of the Forest Department.

At the same time it came to the notice of the Forest Settlement officer G.F.S. Collins that several villages along Uttara Kannada coast hade some wooded portions within their limits which the villagers had been carefully guarding. Extension of minor forests into these patches could result in their decimation. Therefore Collins proposed that as per the provisions of the Indian Forest Act of 1878 the system of village forest panchayat be introduced in coastal Uttara Kannada. Collins mentioned. about the communal woodlots or ‘hadis’ of Bhatkal and the forest patches of several villages of Kumta, Honnavar and Ankola taluks where some kind of community management prevailed. Mention may be made of Vanalli, Holan§adde, Halkar, Chitrigi, Gonehalli, Hichkad, Shetgiri etc. Some villages had already unofficial committees to look after their forests, and appointed watchmen (rakhawalders) to prevent abuses such as the cutting of the soppu at the wrong time and keep awayoutsiders. In his correspondence of 25th August 1922 Collins observed that “The Halkar Committee is at present flourishing”. He also a copy of the latest rules of its Committee.

The Government of Bombay, vide Resolution NO.7212 of 24th July 1923 approved Collin’s report on the minor forests of Uttara Kannada coast including information of village forests in selected areas. Model rules were also framed for the management of village forests. Mamlatdars of Honnavar, Kumta and Ankola and Mahalkari of Bhatkal were empowered to deal with offences under section 67  and often function as  scared places being regarded the abode of gods.  A second  land scape unit would be the Kadu or Adavi which is an ordinary forest from  where  the community  gathered  their  timber, fuel, leafmanure and other major biomass. Much of the hilly and highlands were treated as Hakkalu or  Kumri meaning shifting cultivation areas, which also must have provided during the fallo’ period some biomass and fodder. In addition were the regular field orchards and bena or gnazing lands. The landscape heterogenity under such a management would be considerable. No wonder, Uttara Kannada was a haven for both plant and animal life.

The British occupation of Uttara Kannada changed this scenario drastically. The state consolidated its hold over all kinds of forests and common lands towards the latter part of 19th century. Shifting cultivation was prohibited almost totally. Nevertheless considering toe intimate relationships between man, agriculture a forests in this district the British were rather compelled to grant certain privileges to the people in certain kinds of forests administratively treated as ‘minor forest’. Most of these minor forests were either already barren areas or at the best were scrub jungles or savanna woodland. These being close to villages and towns were subjected to unregulated exploitation the main reason being such forests turning into common property resources with virtually open access. The village community management collapse, almost totally. There was, in the early 20th century, aloud cry for ‘soppu’ or leaf manure from the farmers who hacked upon any kind of greenery within their reach. In view of such a deterioration of forests, particularly along the sea coast village of Uttara Kannada there was a proposal for extension of the minor of the Indian forest act. However they are not  to exercise  the powers except  on the recommendation of  the panchayat ( The model rules are given in the appendix – 1).

A list of village forests officially formed thereafter in Kumta Range is given below:

1. Chitrigi         : 104 acres                   7. Alvalli : 315 acres

2. Harodi                    : 155 acres                   8. Halkar  : 219 acres

3. Holanagadde : 261 acres                   9. Muroor : 1267 acres

4. Kalkeri         : 870 acres                   10.Kallabbe:1030 acres

5. Vanalli          : 135 acres                   11. Hosad : 136 acres

6. Valgalli         : 239 acres

Halkar Forest Panchayat

The Halkar Village Forest Panchayat formally came into existence around 1930. The total area of forest is about 219 acres and the total area of the village is about 500 acres. There are 159 households and a population ~f about 360 people. The Panchayct has a total of nine elected members. Each property-holder of the village has one vote. As per the rules the elections should be held once in three years. There is provision for representing a cross section of the castes of the village in the Panchayat.

There is no provision for electing any absentee landlord to the Panchayat. The caste compositions of the present body is as  follows

Havik Brahmin             : 1

Gunaga                      : 2

Patgar                        : 2

Mukri                         : 1

Madiwal                     : 1

Harikantra                   : 2

—–

Total         9

One of the member is elected  as the Chariman, one as  Voce chairman and one as secretary . The election  is conducted in the presence of the Tahasildar and the Village Accountant. There were bad times when the elections were not conducted as per schedule. For instance after a period of over 15 years  election was held in the year 1975. This body continued for ten years upto 1975. The general body of voters meet once a year to discuss matters pertaining to the forest. The Panchayat meets once in a month.

Forest Protection

It is remarkable that the people of Halkar in general feel that the forest is to be used srupulously and conduct themselves with a deep sense of responsibility and commitment. Nevertheless the Panchayat appoints one person as watchman. In the earlier times the watchman used to be paid in the form of grains by each household. Recently the Panchayat itself makes a cash payment. The payment used to be Rs. 300 a month till recently. During this year two watchmen have been appointed and the payment has been hiked to Rs. 650 for each. The watchmen guard the forest from outsiders as well as check the villagers from unregulated exploitation. The offenders are brought to the notice of the Panchayat and their weapons like knife, axe or pole are confiscated. These are released only on the payment of a fine. Unless the fine is paid a resident offender is not allowed to collect any material from the forest. The system is working successfully.

Regulations on forest  Use.

There are several restrictions on biomass gathering from the forest which the villagers are very familiar with. Though there has been no improvement in the forest as such these regulations have limited the uses to sustainable limits. The regulations are also highly socialistic benefiting all sections of the society. Every householder on payment of Rs. 10 is given a permit which makes him eligible to gather the biomass for one year. He can get addition permits on additional payment.

Fuel wood collection: A permit holder or his representative may make one trip a day to collect the dry branches of trees for fuel. The he has to break by hand and should not use a knife or pole or axe. This guarantees that only small twigs are broken off from the trees and that too the dead ones. Needless to say that richer sections of society would not indulge in such exercises. A person may make two visits to the forest to collect fuel provided he has two permits. There is no bar on sale of fuel gathered in this fashion within the village itself. But the sale of fuel from the forest outside the village is strictly prohibited and the offenders are fined.

Once a year all the dead trees of the forest areauctioned to the residents. If an householder bids for one tree he is not eligible for a second one. This also is aimed at more equitable distribution of forest biomass. Again no one is allowed to sell the tree thus purchased outside the village. Live trees are never auctioned this way. The recent construction of the Konkan Railway track through the Halkar forest has destabilized the forests to a great extent. The villagers however objected to clearance of the vegetation by  bulldozer.  On the contrary Panchayat made   arrangement for hand cutting of the trees by the workers of the village and payment of wages to them. This has minimised the damage to the vegetation. The accumulated food gathered thus was sold to the villagers at a nominal price of Rs. 12 a quintal.

Leaf Manure Collection: The people are permitted to collect only fallen leaves for the manure purpose. This is normally done during’ the dry months. The permit system is valid here too.

Nonwood ProsuceThe forest has very limited production of nonwood produce like the fruits of Murugila (Garcinia Indica), Mango, cashew and the flowers of Suqugi (Ochrocarpus longifolius) .The Panchayat obtains a minorincome through the annual auctioning of these produce. The rights to gather them is given only to the residents of the village. This generates some amount of employment too. The forest is somewhat rich in wild fruits like Neerilu (Syzygium cumini). Anyone is free to gather such fruits.

Cattle Grazing: The Halkar forest is a combination of open patches and islands of woods, the former provide poor forage for the cattle. There is no restriction on cattle grazing in the forest even by outsiders.

Hunting: The villagers of Halkar, a village close to the town of Kumta, do not indulge in hunting. The main reason seems to be the absence of any major wildlife in the forest. The fauna include black-naped hare, peafowl, jackal, hyena, jungle cate, various birds and reptiles. However the villagers do not prevent subsistence hunting by the neighbouring people of particularly the Halakki Vokkal community who have a strong tradition of hunting which is reduced to mere ritual  these days.

Laterite Quarying

Apart from the forest utilization , as narrated above  the villagers are not knowledgeable about forest succession, forest restoration and other ecological, :aspects. This has resulted in very limited from the forest which is hardly sufficient to meet the running expenses of the Forest Panchayat including the salaries for the watchmen. Major income to the Forest Panchayat, regrettably, is from the quarrying of laterite stones within the forest. The re construction boom has created enormous demand for laterite stone Each truckload of stones (200 nos). earns a royalty of Rs. 150. The annual income from the stones has come as a great boon to the Panchayat, (which is estimated around Rs. 50,000 a year) .This income has enabled the Panchayat to appoint an additional watchm as well as hike the payment to each watchman from Rs. 300 to Rs. 650 a month. The Secretary of the Panchayat is also being paid Rs. 600 a month (it used to be only Rs. 100 a month). The sitting fee for the members is Rs. 10 per meeting. Anyway, in the long run , repeated quarrying within the forest would leave behind irrepairable gorges.

State of The Forest –

The forest has been in the state of a woodland savanna according to the memory of the village community. Clumps of trees and bushes are separated by open grassy blanks. The trees are of low stature, seldom exceeding 10m if at all. Basal area per hectare is only 4m2 although the land has the potential of supporting 30-40m2 per hectare. The ground vegetation too is not much diverse or rich in biomass. The trees belonging to the  light loving evergreens  and deciduous  types.  Mention may be made of  Syzygium cumini, S. S. Corymbosa, Mimusops elengi, Ochrocarpus longifolius, Carallia, brachiata, Terminalia paniculate, careya arborea etc, sparingly  are found Mangifera indica, Garcinia indica, Anacardium occidentale, Diospyros embryopteris, Buchanania lanzan and olea dioica. The tree  density  is about 100 per hectare. Indeed 350 to 400 would be an ideal number.

Weakness of the Panchayat

For the village community dominated by peasants, potters, fishermen, agricultural labourers and service castes the Panchayat with its democratic structure and equalitarian outlook is technically sound. Such a sound system is potentially capable of managing greater amount 0f natural resources. Halkar Panchayat is still lucky enough to have some kind of forest within its control unlike most other coastal villages of Uttara Kannada. The lack of a forest working plan may be considered as one of the major weaknesses. As no part of the . forest is closed to access people prowl everwhere in search of litte1 and deadwood. Moreover there is also unrestricted movement of large number of cattle which is a severe threat to forest regeneration not only through browsing and grazing but also trmpling. There is very little return of nutrients to the soil. The forest therefore remains almost static through decades. The Panchayat is all the time concerned about the utilization of the materials available from the forest and seldom gave any thought to the enrichment of  the forest itself.

Planting by forest department

In the recent years, under the Social Forestry Programme Department has been planting substantial portions of the’ forest with tree saplings, mainly Acacia auriculiformis and casurina.  This would boost the timber and fuel output in the immediate future. However the villagers resent that native species which have a multiplicity of uses are not being planted. They are also afraid the scanty grazing available at present is also corning to an end.

Takeover Efforts by the Government

Due to various reasons most of the Forest Panchayats of Uttara Kannada collapsed and the forests under their control got liquidate The Government of Karnataka felt that the Panchayats failed in their responsibilities. The Deputy Commissioner, Karwar in his letter dated 3rd October 1979 ordered the remaining Panchayats of Muroor, Kallabbe and Hosaa group, and Halkar to hand over all the records pertaining to the forests to the Government stating that all the Forest Panchayats were dissolved with effect from 1969, the day Karnataka Forest Act 1963 came into force. The Chairman of both these Panchayats challenged this order in the High Court of Karnataka. On 20th November 1989 the Court gave the verdict in favour of the Halkar village Forest Panchayt.

Recommendations for Improvement

1. Adoption of a working plan for the forest is very important. Small areas of forest should be closed to all forms of  exploitation for certain period, say for five to  ten yers. This will promote natural regeneration as well as enrich the soil. The species diversity also will increase. Enrichment planting with desirable species of appropriate successional status  may be carried out . Cattle should be excluded from such closed plots through fencing.

2. The planting should include as many species, including of bamboos to engage the people in a diversity of occupations as well as catering to their subsistence needs.

3. With the help of the Government or other funding agencies a special scheme may be chalked out to raise an~ supply medicinal plants on a commercial basis in a small portion of the forest.

4. There is pressing need for folder in all the coastal villages. These villages should be able to solve this problem using portions of the forest area within their limits. In Halkar a multiple species  fodder farm may be fruitfully raised mainly to cater to the needs of the village cattle.

7.3       Case Study: HUNSUR

(Sagar Taluka

Dt. Shimoga, Karnataka)

Hunsur is a living example of spontaneous forest management by people. It has one of the rich evergreen forests near the village. 11 other villages have barren hills. But in contrast to this the and scape totally .changes near Hunsur village . The age old traditional of ‘Kan’ forests or the ‘Sacred groves’ is still functioning.

Sometime in the late Sixties, timber contractors, armed with a forest Department permit, axes and saws, landed in a tiny village n Shimoga district. They hoped to cut down and cart away old trees in its thick forest. However, that hey had entered a village which had passionately protected its evergreen forests over the centuries. The villagers refused to allow the contractors into the forest. The Government was forced o cancel the permit.

That village is Hunsur.

In 1972, the Government approved a proposal to cut down 30 trees n the Hunsur forest to make boats. The villagers protested again and prevented the felling.

Two years later, a plywood company managed to get Government’s permission to fell some trees. Yet again, the villagers  fought back to save the dense forests in about 50 hectares.

Hunsur is situated at the foothills of the Sahyadri range in Malnad.  It is 12 kms from Sagar, off the Sagar-Jog road. The village has become a pilgrim centre for environmentalists who are, inspired by the fervour with which its people have protected the thick evergreen forests.

Once a thick jungle stretch, the Sagar-Jog area is slowly losing its forest wealth. Hunsur is an exception. It continues to have a forest so dense that the sun’s rays can hardly pierce it. The people who have made this miracle possible are not fashionable, foreign-funded activists. The villagers are small farmers and agricultural labourers There are 140 families in this hamlet.

The forest here was earlier called Aigala Mathada Kannu. It is now called Hunsur Kaanu. In fact, unit 1965, the village was in charge of the forest and the people were paying a tax of Rs. 14 for it. The State Government took over the forest that year.

After its attempts to make money from the forest were foiled by the people, the Government has left the Hunsur Kaanu alone. But how have the villagers managed to be so vigilant? They have a unique system of keeping watch in which all families participate.

Every family gets to keep watch over the forest by rotation. A sickle is given to the man whose turn it is to protect the forest. After his duty is over, he passes on the sickle to the next in line. If a family ‘fails to carry out its watch duty# it has to pay a penalty of Rs. 50. The system ensures that the forest is guarded constantly.

Every two years the villagers gather and form a village improvement committee. This body has nine members and a chairman. All sections and castes are represented in it. The committee is then entrusted with the responsibility of taking decisions regarding the administration of the village. Its decisions are final and are not contested.

The system is so democratic that seldom is a rule. Broken. The committee decides how the forest is to be protected. Accordingly, the villagers enter the forest only once a year to fetch fuel wood. A common date is fixed sometime around the Ganesha festival. Each family can send a man and a woman to fetch a head load of fuel wood each. If a family wishes to build a house, it approaches the committee, which then sends some people into the forest to look for dead wood. Only what is essential is taken.

While there is not restriction on gathering dry leaves from the fresh leaves for making manure is prohibited.

The villagers are free to use forest produce such as berries, aromatic tree barks, medicinal herbs and honey for their families. No outsider is allowed to step into the forest.

The Hunsur example is being held up by environmentalists as an example of how a community can effectively protect its forests. Nature lovers, scientists and teams from the World Bank. UN and other international organisations have visited the village and praised its efforts as worthy of emulation.

The Karnataka Government presented its first Environment Award(1992) to Hunsur. Inspired by Hunsur, neighbouring viilages like Alahalli, Shuntikoppa and Kugwe-Kagodu ;mave also taken up forest protection programmes. The people of Sagar and Keladi have already formed vigilance committees to protect their forests. The forest authorities are ready to help the people in such programmes, Assistant Conservator of Forests (Sagar) B. B.  Mallesh says.

This official has drawn up a plan to green a 40 acre extent of elevated land near Hunsur, where his department hopes to grow, besides trees, medicinal plants and herbs. Kelaginamane Ganapati, whO is the Chairman of the village improvement committee, also wants to develop the area as a community forest

Development

1.0      Project Title:  Capacity Building For Migrant Labour Children and the Menace of Tourism Related Child Sexual Abuse

1.1.   Period:  October 2000 – March 2001.

1.2.   Implementing Agency:  Peaceful Society.

2.0     Project Implementation:

Project Goals:

a)      To enable children to attain and safeguard their rights to childhood and promote their all-round development through social, educational, cultural, recreational facilities.

b)     To create awareness and organise women for an integrated development process, enabling them a better livelihood, leading to empowerment.

Objectives (General):

a.      To organise educational, cultural, creative and recreational activities for children.

b)     To create awareness about rights of children, especially those forced to work, and work for their implementation.

c)      To investigate the prevalence of tourism related child sexual abuse and initiate an intervention program of awareness and advocacy for its arrest.

d)     To create health awareness and initiate a health promotion program for the people, particularly children and women.

e)      To create awareness and organise women by disseminating relevant information, providing skills, and building a network of self-help groups.

3.0    Programs and Activities:

3.1    Capacity Building and Promotion of Children’s Rights:

3.1.1  Objectives:

a.      To enable the participants to acquire a greater knowledge base and awareness.

b.      To enable school children to cope with their studies and reduce drop out rate.

c.      To develop self-confidence, self-expression and facilitate all round development.

d.      To address the problems of street/working children and work for the promotion of children’s rights.

3.1.2          Activities in Progress:

3.1.3          Creative Self-Expression – Wall Paper

a.       The Wall Paper is an exercise in creative self-expression wherein the children present pieces of articles, drawings, paintings, poems, jokes, riddles, etc.  In the second semester, we brought out two such issues, one in Dec. 2000 (Human Rights issue), the other in March 2001 (general issue).

b.      Features:

:  Human Rights Rally of Children – Highlights.

: 2 Songs on Child labour – “Chota Baccha Samajke….” and “Ham Bacche Hai To Kya  Hua….”  written by 2 of our students – Sonia Borkar & Sheela Ganachari.

:  2 Poems on exams and 5 other general poems.

:  Drawings on Child labour, other general art.

:  Autobiography of a Flower.

:  Jokes, Riddles, Puzzles, Shairi.

3.1.4          Self Discovery & Affirmation Workshops:

a)      These 1-day Workshops have been organised for adolescents of the age group 13-16.  They were held at Jan Ugahi Kendra.

b)     No. Of Workshops:  1 (Photograph enclosed)

c)      No. Of participants:  25 (list submitted with previous report)

d)     Subject Covered: Social Awareness – Basic understanding of Power structures in Society and the   plight of the lower classes.

e)      Pedagogy: Use of Posters, ‘Kaun Banega Karodpati’ style quiz.

f)       Resource Person:  Mr. Gregory D’Costa, Jan Ugahi, Margao.

3.1.5          Remedial Education Classes:

a.)    Expected No.:  80

b.)    Actual No. of participants :  70, from Stds. 3-10.

c.)    Activity involved:

–       Remedial Classes & Individual Coaching.

–       Periodic tests to monitor progress and prepare for exams.

–       Personal Guidance/Counselling to deal with personal and social problems and enhance performances.

–       Regular interaction with parents (usually mother) or guardians for feedback and community support.

–       This program is combined with cultural, recreational and creative activities to promote self-confidence, creativity, all-round growth and development.

–       Regular review meetings with teachers for monitoring program & progress and training of teachers.

d.)     The reduction in number of participants is mainly because of dropping out from school, de-motivation, influence of friends, discouragement due to poor results, etc

3.1.6          National Open School: To continue education and reduce drop out rate, neo-literates and school dropouts are encouraged to join the NOS stream.

a)      No. Of participants:  27 (18 girls, 3 women, 6 boys) – (list submitted with previous report)

b)     Levels of participants: A, B, C grades corresponding to 3rd, 5th, 8th stds. of formal school, respectively.

c)      Activity Involved:

–       Eklavya, Bhopal, provides the participants textbooks either from the NOS scheme or those designed.

–       The students study on their own, alone or in groups, and on Thursdays, classes, individual and group guidance as well as periodic tests, are arranged with a teacher in attendance.

d)     Remarks:

(i)           While 27 have been enrolled, the attendance in the 2nd term has been poor.

(ii)          It has been very difficult to sustain the motivation of the participants to continue their education.

(iii)        Many questions arise in our minds: is this a normal problem of mainstreaming of these migrant, marginated groups?  Is it the absence of an educational culture and support system among theses groups?  Is it lack of proper support on our part ?  Is it due to the general trend among these groups of demotivation, disillusionment with the system, no hope in education?  These questions remain unanswered.

3.1.7          Addressing Street/Working Children’s Problems: As part of the organisation’s plan to focus more sharply on the street/working children’s problems, the following steps have been undertaken.

a) Preparing a database on the street/working children.

i.        5 community representatives – Ms. Rekha Addekar, Ms. Noorbi Sayeed, Ms. Ramiza Sheikh, Ms. Gosby Sheikh, Ms. Gulzar Banu were trained to administer the survey instrument.

ii.       Ms. Melita Noronha along with community workers Ms. Noorbi Sayeed and Ms.Gulzar Banu have also helped to run Poti School, a non-formal and remedial class program for street, working and slums children, coordinated by Prof. (Mrs) Joan Rebello, Head of Dept. of English, Damodar College, Margao.

iii.     The Project Coordinator, Ms. Bernardette D’Souza has been actively involved in Child line service, an emergency help line (phone) service for children in distress & crisis situations.  19 number of children’s cases (list-2 appended) have been attended to as part of this.

iv.     To sensitise the public about the violations of children’s rights, particularly the violations of child labour & abuse, a Children’s rally was organised at Margao on 9th Dec. 2000 on the occasion of Human Rights Day, in collaboration with Child line, Goa, Jan Ugahi, Margao, and the High Schools of Salcete taluka.  About 25 schools with nearly 500 children, teachers, and organisers participated.  The rally, which started at the memorial Lohia Maidan, took out a silent protest march along the main roads of Margao and concluded at the Municipal garden with a cultural program and speeches on child abuse and labour by Ms. Fiona Dias Saxena (Sangath) and Mr. Christopher Fonseca (AITUC) respectively.

v.       Attempts are also being made to explore the possibility of a Shelter for street children; the need has been felt with the organisational team encountering more and more such kids during its operations, including a group of street boys under the custody of a train cleaning contractor at Madgaum Railway Station.  Presently, boys like these are sent to Child line Goa Shelter at Don Bosco’s Panaji, or encouraged to use day facilities available at Jan Ugahi, Margo.

vi.     Street/Working Children’s Workshop: A workshop for street/working children was organised together with Butterflies, Delhi at Fatima Convent, Margo on 25th March 2001.  Together with the Colva street/working children’s group set up by Peaceful Society, a group of 50 children (upper limit set by Butterflies; list-3 appended) participated in the workshop.  Other sub groups included Arz (Vasco), Child line Goa (Panaji), Poti School and Jan Ugahi (both Margo).  The features included – Expressions of Rights by children, prioritising of Rights, Need for support structure, Children’s Right Clubs, Inter organisational interaction & support.  The pedagogy at the workshop was participatory, with expressive drawings, street play presentation, group discussions, and slogans.  The children certainly enjoyed every moment of it and Butterflies did an excellent job of the animation.

3.1.8          Tourism Related Child Sexual Abuse:

i.        After establishing initial contacts at Colva, this program took off in December 2000 with Ms. Melita Noronha (Social Worker) and Ms. Rekha Addekar (Field Worker) assuming responsibility.

ii.       The Project Coordinator, Ms. Bernardette D’Souza, was closely involved in the planning, mobilising, monitoring of the progress.

iii.     A three-fold action plan was made – organising beach street/working (migrant) children through non-formal education classes, involvement with their communities, and visiting of shacks, hotels/lodges for awareness generation and creating support structures.

iv.     The street/working/slum children’s group has been set up with 42 children attending literacy classes and 40 children attending remedial education classes (list-4 & 5 appended).

v.      The involvement in the community of these children has been complementary to   the children’s classes and already some eye-opening facts have been brought to the notice of our team.  One such fact has been the disappearance of a minor girl with 2 contradictory stories being related.  One from some neighbours that the mother traded her with a ‘foreign tourist’ for 5 days for a sum of money.  However, even after 25 days the girl has not returned.  The other, from the mother, that the girl ran away with a boy.  Our team is investigating the matter under legal guidance from Adv. Albertina Almeida and trying to persuade the mother to lodge a police complaint.  The mother has been blowing hot and cold with regard to the mystery.

vi.     Besides this girl’s case, one hears of other such stories of young women from the settlements involved in prostitution.  However, the team has thought it proper to make investigations before jumping to conclusions.

vii.   The case of pedophiles Middleton Colin John: The Project coordinator Ms. Bernardette D’Souza together with support from Jan Ugahi, Vikalp and Child line Goa helped the police to book Middleton Colin John (MCJ), a British National, for suspected pedophilia.  MCJ was found with 3 minor Nepali boys and has been coming to Goa for the last 4 years with minor boys.  Persistent efforts on our part managed to obtain information from our contacts of MCJ’s two previous convictions for sodomy in New Zealand.  However, the same persistent efforts with the police yielded no results, as to date, even after a month and half has elapsed from the time of booking, they have not managed to obtain any such information through the Interpol.  We also were aware of the political pressure on the police from the local MLA and Congress heavyweight Churchill Alemao, as MCJ was lodging in his area and has projected himself as a Santa Claus doling out gifts to young boys.

viii.  The case of MCJ and the case of the missing girl (quoted in no. (v) above, are only tips of the iceberg in a very hideous crime that is indulged in surreptitiously (though sometimes openly!)  With the connivance of locals, politicians and police, all for the sake of boosting unbridled tourism at the cost of vulnerable children and women.

ix.      Movement Against (offshore) Casinos: Our team members have been part of an active group of women, representing various women’s organisations, protesting against the Governments decision to allow Casinos, including offshore casinos, to operate in Goa.

3.2.   Awareness and Income Generation For Women:

3.2.1        Objectives:

To empower women in a predominantly patriarchal society through education, awareness, skill development, income generation, organisation.

3.2.2        Activities in Progress:

3.2.2.1.   Education:

a)      Adult education classes have been organised in 3 bastis – Deccan Tyres, Calcondem, Malbhat, at times convenient to the women.

b)      Around 106 women (list submitted with previous report) have enrolled for the classes.  However, the community workers report a good deal of irregularity and lack of perseverance of the group.

c)      A few of the regular ones have been making steady progress.

3.2.2.2   Awareness Generation:

a)      Awareness generation regarding basic issues of discrimination, denial of rights of women, early marriages of girls, discontinuity of education of girls especially when they ‘grow big’, i.e. reach puberty, need for building skills and assets for a rainy day (in times of abandonment by husbands, early widowhood and so on) are some of the areas taken up regularly in small and big group discussions, individual Counselling and so on.

b)      A 1-day workshop on Women’s Rights was initially scheduled for 18th March but at the last minute had to be rescheduled on the 1st April 2001.  37 women participated (list-6 appended).  The issues discussed were – early marriages of girls, sexual exploitation of girls, women’s rights vis-à-vis marriage at the family of her in-laws.  The pedagogy used was one of group discussion, sharing of experience, skits.  Saad Alashiro from Panaji was the resource organisation.

c)      Reproductive Health/Fertility Awareness: While this is a health matter, it is utilised as a forum for generating awareness on issues related to sexuality, women’s right to body, self, family, property in marriage context, children and so on.  Also, the young girls utilise the awareness sessions as a preparation for marriage.

3.2.2.3   Skill Training/Income Generation:

a)      Presently the women undergo training in tailoring, paper bags, and other utility items.

b)      Those interested and who have learned the skills are provided opportunities for production and income generation.

c)      ‘Paper bags has come in the context of the Govt. ban on plastic bags below 20 microns and includes collection of paper and cardboard from well-wishers, production, marketing.  The women may take the material and make the bags at home as well.

d)      Presently, 2 self-help groups are operational – one in Savings & Credit, and the other in tailoring, utility items and paper bags.

e)      Training programs:  2 Training programs – one in making jewellery and utility items of scrap paper, by Ms. Cibell Noronha and the other in batik printing and tie dyeing by Mr. Vikrant Fernandes were organised at Jan Ugahi Kendra on October 30, 2000 and from Nov. 2 – 9, 2000 respectively.  13 women (list-7 appended) including the Project Coordinator participated and felt much enriched in their skills and self-confidence.

3.2.2.4   Remarks:

a)      It is indeed heartening to see that a few women have grown in awareness and assertion of their rights.

b)      Despite continuous work and struggles, some of the women find the space and time for their own development activities like literacy, skill development, and awareness generation.

c)      Our observation is that many of the women provide good role models for their daughters as compared to their husbands for their sons.  This is evident in the better performances and character displayed by their daughters.

3.3   Recreational/Cultural:

The weekly recreational activities for children were held at Jan Ugahi Hall, Margao.  Special programs to celebrate social events included the following:

(a)    Children’s Day: A Sports Festival was held on Sunday 12th Nov. 2000, to celebrate Children’s Day.  Over 300 children (list-8 appended) with another 50 adults (mostly women) participated in the festival.  The sports items concluded with prize distribution, lunch and a gift for each child.  Mr. C. P. Da Costa, a renowned freedom fighter, presided over the function.

(b)    Cultural program on 3rd Feb. at Jan Ugahi Hall for children.  About 45 children   participated (list-9 appended).  It comprised mainly songs, dances, and skits.  This programs scheduled for Republic Day had to be postponed due to the mid-term test.

(c)    International Women’s Day – 8th March: A group of 20 women (list-10 appended) participated in the International Women’s Day Function, held at Azad Maidan, Panaji.  Women from all over Goa, representing various organisations participated in this program organised anually by Bailancho Saad, Panaji.  Our group presented a street play on early marriages of girls among the target group.

(d)    Cultural/Educational Tour: A 1- day tour for 70 children (list-11 appended) was organised on Feb. 11th, 2001 at Cotigaon Wildlife Sanctuary and Palolem Beach.

3.3.1   Counselling and Health:

a)      Counselling goes on, on a regular basis, with women and children in distress and crisis situations being the main beneficiaries.

b)     The participants attending classes, personality development program, fertility awareness sessions, awareness workshops are among the more common clients.  These fora provide an opportunity for the participants as well as the organisers to supplement these activities with Counselling for those who really need it.

c)      The Counselling program with follow-up action, at times involving legal action, particularly w.r.t. Women, has been a collaborative venture with Bailancho Saad and Jan Ugahi.

d)     The health program has included a fortnightly free clinic for the poor, with particular focus on children and women’s health.  While earlier, the clinic was monthly, in the last 2 months, the clinic has been made fortnightly with another Doctor (Ms.) Judith Da Costa Das providing free service.  Being a gynaecologist, the clinic mainly caters to women.

a)      e) The fortnightly clinic maintains proper files, family-wise, to ensure proper records   and follow-up.  Our Staff maintains these files.

e)      A weekly session on reproductive health and fertility awareness is also conducted for young girls.  Ms. Bernardette D’Souza, the Project Coordinator, who conducts these sessions, uses the book ‘Beti Kare Savall’ published by Eklavya, Bhopal as a working text.  The girls discuss pertinent issues related to their sexual growth and reproductive life.

3.3.2   Staff Development:

(a)    2 of the staff members Ms. Melita Noronha and Ms. Rekha Addekar, along with a community representative Ms. Noorbi Sayeed participated in a 3 day National Convention on Children’s Rights at New Delhi from Oct. 12-14, 2000, organised by TDH to commemorate 25 years of TDH commitment in India.

(b)   Counselling Training: A 4 days Counselling Training Course for the staff was held at Loyola School, Margao, from Nov. 5-8, 2000, with Fr. C. Drago, Pune, as resource person.  This was followed up by 1-day follow-up session on Dec. 6, 2000 at Goa State Commission for Women Multipurpose Hall, Panaji.  The Course benefit was also extended to two other organisations, Bailancho Saad, Panaji and Rishta, Candolim.

(c)    Batik & Tie-dyeing Training Workshop: (Report included in 3.2.2.3. e)

(d)   Police Sensitisation Workshop: Ms. Melita Noronha & Ms. Rekha Addekar attended a 2-day training workshop on police sensitisation with regard to children’s rights and issues.  This workshop, conducted by Sangath, Porvorim, was held at Goa State Commission for Women Multipurpose Hall, Panaji, on 2 different days 20th December 2000 and 11th January 2001 respectively.

(e)    On-going on-the-job training for the staff includes training in teaching, community work, administration, accounting, reporting, etc.

Environment

SALT PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION

 Pernem Taluka Mith Utpadak Sangha

(For Assistance to Salt – producers of Pernem)

Agarwado – Pernem

The father of nation, Mahatma Gandhi undertook the famous DANDI MARCH to offer Salt-Satyagraha, in 1930.

During this period Goa under the Portuguese occupation was exporting Salt to rest of India and countries in Africa.

After India’s independence Salt-production, being a traditional village industry was given constitutional protection. An office of National Salt Commissioner was established at Jaipur – Rajasthan.

However, the Salt-industry in Goa did not receive any encouragement after liberation. As a result number of villages producing Salt was reduced, number of Saltpans decreased and the Salt-production fell drastically.

Despite lack of support from the government of Goa in production and marketing villages like Agarwado in Pernem, Nerul in Bardez, Merces and Bhatim in Tiswadi, Sirlim in Salcete have been striving hard to keep the industry alive.

Needless to say, Salt-production is environmentally clean, non-polluting, low-capital, labour intensive, employment generating rural economic activity, which should get full government support.

That’s why the Salt-producers of Agarwado-Pernem make this appeal to solve their problems and help them to raise their production.

1. Problems of Agarwado Salt-producers

Agarwado as the name itself implies is one of the ancient Salt-production centre on the West-coast. It is situated a few kilometres from the Arabian Sea on the north bank of Chapora river.

More than sixty families of Agarwado derive their livelihood from Salt-production.

Agarwado Salt, being purest of natural Salt in Goa, with less silt and sand is highly prized.

The total 16 Saltpans in the village only 4 are presently used for Salt production and 3 are practically damaged.

The rest 9 have been damaged due to destruction of outer protective embankment and sluice gates since 1987-88. This caused a loss of Rs. 8.9 lakhs / year.

Wave-action has caused massive erosion of outer embankments. Four large breaches haves wrecked havoc by incessantly flooding the Saltpans.

The outer embankment known as “AGOR POILEM” needs immediate attention.

The Saltpans are inaccessible from the main road, thus marketing becomes expensive. An approach road from the Ferry-wharf at Chopadem may solve the problem.

The time required for preparation of Saltpans is normally 90 – 100 days. This is mainly because of non-availability of diesel pumps for removing water from the Saltpans. Agarwado Salt-pans are constructed below the sea level for intake of water.

Provision of diesel-pump on subsidised basis will help in reducing pre-production period.

There is no minimum price support policy for locally manufactured Salt. This leads to dumping of sub-standard, adulterated with sand at cheap rates forcing Agarwado Salt-producers to lower their prices.

There’ re effective solutions to the above problems, which the government need to apply.

Suggested solutions for solving Agarwado-Salt-producers problem:

Immediate survey and reconstruction of the eroded “AGOR POILEM” bundh on permanent basis;

Reconstruction of damaged sluice gates regulating “saline-water” intake in 4 damaged Saltpans;

Widening of “AGOR POILEM” bundh so as facilitate transport of light-goods vehicles for speedy, cheap transport of Salt;

Provision of diesel-pump sets to Salt-producers on subsidised basis for the production season;

Notification of Salt as commodity under state marketing act and declaration of minimum support price;

Grading of locally produced crude Salt;

Encouragement to set-up co-operative society for producing refined White Salt and Iodised Salt.

2. Economic fallout of Govt. action:

Government intervention will enthuse not only Agarwado Salt-producers but also other Salt-producers in Goa. Many damaged Saltpans could be reclaimed with government assistance.

Reconstruction of “AGOR-POILEM” bundh and sluice gates will help in commencing production in 12 damaged Saltpans.

Salt-production in Agarwado will increase from present 750-1000 Mt. To 1000 -1500 Mt/year.

This will provide direct employment to 70 persons and indirect employment to 100 people.

Salt-trade will boost from Rs.5-8 lakhs/year to Rs.10-14 lakhs/year.

Government assistance will also help the producers to use their Saltpans as multipurpose production units for producing “prawns, brine-shrimps, alga bio fertilisers and valuable medicinal seaweed’s, using latest technology.

Plan of action:

Concerned government departments such as RDA, soil conservation, Industries & Mines, Revenue need to co-operate.

A high level meeting comprising above departments and representatives of Panchayat, Salt-producers need to be held followed immediately by “on the spot inspection”.

A time bound plan to implement the solutions as suggested need to be prepared.

Since RDA and soil conservation dept. will have to play an active role they need to closely liase with the committee of Agarwado Salt-producers.

It is hoped that government will take positive steps to remedy the situation by reconstructing the bundhs so as to make Salt-production viable from 1994-95 seasons.

Dhonashi Goa Unemployed Women’s Programme

The village Dhonashi is one of the most backward villages of Bandora Panchayat in Goa District. Out of the total population of 276 of the entire village women constitute 48.55% and 41.04% women are absolutely illiterate. The rate of women unemployment is relatively higher and their percentage comes to 26.11%. This unemployed rural force belongs to the middle and semi- middle socio- economic group and most of them are from backward classes.

Due to their illiteracy and ignorance most of their time is being wasted. Apart from the general education these women folks lack any (traditional) technical know how, to utilise the locally available resources. In these families only the male members are the earning members. 90% of the male members take alcohol and spend a good amount of their income for buying alcohol and spend a good amount of their income for buying alcohol. Besides maximum expenditure   is done for modernisation. Women and children in the house spend a large share of the rest of the amount in   purchasing luxury articles. As a result they are left with very little amount for their primary needs. Because of the high cost of living in Goa, people afford very scarce for their primary needs. Their ability to purchase the basic needs has need deteriorated due to the prevailing modernised culture. Lack of appropriate foods affect their health as result unexpected death rates are high in this area.

In is notable fact that in Goa area no sufficient women awareness programme is launched. As a result – sitting together keeping relations between families are sported in an informal sense. Interaction between women and women are zeopardised. Mothers try to accommodate their children in the prevailing modern civilization.  Ritual talks, character building, moral education, family feeling, story telling mother stops activities. As a result the position of women and their condition today have been so mechanical that they have completely forgotten the basic role of women as mothers and their respective role as a housewife to improve their house by extinguishing their family member from bad habits and reinforcing them for their good qualities.

In this critical fallen stand, the women wing of the peaceful society intend to launch   an educational –cum – economic based programmed within Goa society. One introduced economic programme within Goa society. One introduced economic programme would serve as a media for a continuous movement along with providing   them a justifiable balance income.

OBJECTIVES

 

1.       To raise the economic standard of the target families providing them employment.

2.       To provide their literacy standard.

3.       To generate their self –employed women programme.

4.       To provide necessary skill for utilising the locally available resources.

5.       To foster a women awareness programme for brightening their awareness.

6.       To impart education for the women for detaching their husband from the habit of drinking alcohol and creating a healthy family atmosphere.

7.       To utilise the local available resources and minimising the modern article.

8.       To impart health education like value of nutritious food, food preservation, value of filtered water, good impart of environment, cleanliness and sanitation.

9.       To inform the women about assistance available from Govt. for their development.

10.   To create a band of rural youth women for establishing a Peaceful Village Society

Target Village

For the first Dhonshi village 20 families (most down-trodden) would be selected from the worst suffering. In the subsequent year other families would be included. In selecting the target families the concept of most economical backwardness would be kept in view.

 

PROGRAMMES

A.     Informal Education for women.

For awakening centre would be opened by the peaceful society in Dhonshi village. An Instructor would be chosen from the same village. The content of the education would be related to the life style of the local language.

Appropriate motivation would be created to encourage the women to attend the centre. In each day the centre would be run for one hour per day. The time would be fixed depending upon their convenience. The relation between Instructor and participant should be of very informal type.

The course content would be very useful type. A pattern of those few may be given for example.

  1. Common alphabets and number for read, write and numerical calculation for keeping        home account of income and expenditure.

2.       Child rearing practical and pattern of baby care.

3.       Type of nutritious food and their preservation.

4.       Effect of clean atmosphere.

5.       Effect of alcohol and type of diseases born by it.

6.       About the details of our state and country and the basic relation and duties of

Government and citizen

7.       Positive aspect of story telling to the children.

8.       Impact of utilization of village resource in sustaining economy.

9.       Idle of home management.

10.   Available Government assistance for family welfare programme through various schemes.

11.   Role of women in taking part in Government’s development programme etc.

12.   Positive effect of women’s association in each and every village.

13.   Bad impact of excessive use of luxurious modern item.

14.   Good effect saving.

Strategy

In the beginning stage on behalf of the peaceful\ society a centre would be started. The instructor would be selected and she would be trained and acquainted of this type of programme by visiting centres in and around the state. After her return from training she would arrange a general women meeting in the village and explain about the programme to be operated. Before selection of the learners/ participants to this programme, each of them should be thoroughly convinced about the urgency of this type of programme in the village and its expected results. The general term of the centre is 12 months.

 

b.  Employment Programme

Those women who would be the learners in the centre would be associated with some income-generating programme in the leisure time. Each woman should have to visit centre for contributing her labour in the income-generating programme.

The objective as explained earlier is to acquant the women to make productive of her time in adding some amount in her husband’s income. It is a type of supplementary income for the participating women in the programme.

On behalf of the peaceful society, it is proposed to start some employment programme utilising the locally available resources. Coconuts, bettlenut (Supari) in Bandora Panchayat are the main crops. Due to lack of technical know how its different parts of simple wastage, out of which many good handicraft things could have developed. Besides this, there are types of local fruits, which can be utilised for preparing sol-curty (a type of palatable liquid dish). The juice of mango and jack – fruit can be used for different type of dish. In this connection it is concretely through that the following items would be used for employment programme.

1.       Preparation of brooms out of coconut leaves.

2.       Preparation of different types of dish plates out of bettlenut tree’s cover (pouly).

3.       Processing of bettlenuts.

4.       Preparation of curry out the locally available jackfruits seeds.

5.       Preparation of papad and pickles.

 

Advantages

The advantages behind these programmes are that the raw materials are readily available plenty. Maximum of raw materials can be utilised for productive purpose. Village woman can be able to learn the indigenous utilise the wastage. The product can be a better substitute for the costly modern commodities. The village people would get different type of necessary articles in a relative low rate, thereby they can save a lot of price constant use of these raw product would bring back to their attitude from modern commodities for their village product.

 

Strategy

Deliberately the Peaceful Society decides to handle this woman programme instead of making this programme woman’s won because of the fact that the sentiment of village women in Goa is different than other part of India. For the first time since the programme is introduced to the woman, they have to be acquainted with the pros and cons of the programme. They should be thoroughly understood the basic objective of the programme. When they would be convinced about the objective, in the subsequent years this programme would be left in the control of women association. The first year would be served as a year of motivation and acquaintance about its management, marketability, productivity of the products.

The raw material would be collected in reasonable price from the families. It would be stored in the promises of Peaceful Society.

The women could be provided orientation for each item. The women co –ordinator of this programme (a trained women) would impart training and for a greater exposure, the women would be sent for one-month orientation, they would start preparing the products. The complishing products would be sent to market. A reasonable income should be provided to each participant in the programme.

Saving Habit

Due motivation would be created among the participants open a compulsory saving account either in back or in   post office and the details of a advantage of saving habit would be explained in their informal education centre

Women’s Empowerment Year 2001

Since, the year 2001 is declared as “Women’s Empowerment Year”, Peaceful Society has decided to organize several month-wise programmes in Goa to educate the women community about their democratic rights and duties and also the welfare schemes available to them. These programmes were also designed in such a way that they will seek the over-all development of women by providing them adequate information about self-employment schemes. Another aim behind organizing these programmes was to unite the women to fight for their legitimate rights. Unfortunately after declaration of ‘Women’s Empowerment Year 2001’, there was not a single programme declared or organized during first six months by Government of Goa. It was only by Peaceful Society, after a period of six months, some of the programmes were chalked and worked out to rightfully celebrate the ‘Women’s Empowerment Year’. After the introductory programme launched by Peaceful Society, Government of Goa took an initiative to organise such awareness programmes for women on mass scale.

Peaceful Society formed a three-member committee comprising of Smt. Bharati Bandodkar (Programme Coordinator of Women’s Wing, Peaceful Society), Smt. Jyoti Kunkalkar and Dr. Pournima Usagaonkar to chalk out its year long programme.

The following programmes were planned month-wise and successfully organised to educate the women community as a part of celebration of  “Women’s Empowerment Year 2001. The venue of all these programmes was the campus of Peaceful Society, Kundai and the time was from 14.30 hrs. to 17.00 hrs.

Sr. No.

Subject Resource Person

Total participants

1.

Law 1. Adv. Shubhalakshmi Nayak

94

2.

Banking 1. Smt. Pratima Dhond,

Chair Person of Women’s

Co-operative Bank

33

3.

Health 1. Dr. Purnima Usgaonkar

2. Dr. Lalana Bakhale

3. Dr. Manisha Naik

54

4.

Politics 1. Smt. Nirmala Sawant,

Ex-Minister

59

5.

Education 1. Smt. Suman Pednekar,

Ex-Director, Education Dept.

2. Smt. Sudha Amonkar, Ex-Principal

48

6.

Government Welfare Schemes for women 1. Smt. Sandhya Kamat, BDO

2. Smt. Meena Goltekar, BDO

3. Shri Ajit Panchawadkar,

Mamlatdar

49

7.

Role of women in literature 1. Smt. Hema Nayak,

Konkani Writer

2. Prof. Bhushan Bhave, Critic

3. Smt. Seeta Kakodkar

76

8.

Theatre and mass-media 1.Smt. Ujwala Kamat Tarkar

2. Smt. Jyoti Kunkalkar

3. Shri Shridhar Kamat Bambolkar

[All theatre personalities]

62

9.

Marriages 1. Smt. Mangala Sane

2. Prof. Neeta Torane

32

10.

Entrepreneurship 1.Smt. Shakuntala Parab

2. Smt. Neesha Hegade

48

11.

Women’s Commission Dr. Pramod Salgaokar,

Chair Person,

State Women’s Commission,

77

 

The inaugural programme was organized on 28th July 2001 in the campus of Peaceful Society. Shri Ravi Naik, the ex-Deputy Chief Minister holding also the portfolio of women and child development was the guest of honour for this programme. All the women participants along with Shri Ravi Naik lighted the lamps and took oath to strengthen the women empowerment movement in Goa. .

Shri Ravi Naik, in his enlightening speech, explained about the role and responsibility of women in building healthy society. Women being inspiration behind most of the successful men, Shri Naik rightly opined that, a woman should receive respect in society.   He appealed that there should not be any discrimination between a girl and a boy in providing opportunities required for their growth. For him, parents should always equally treat a girl child and respect her at par with a boy. Smt. Kamalini Paiginkar, Chairperson of the Margao municipality, in her address, stressed upon the importance of education to the girls in their over-all development. Smt. Dr. Pramod Salagaonkar, the Chairperson of Women’s Commission highlighted upon the atrocities faced by women. She also spoke in depth about the vital issues related to women community.

Shri Ravi Naik applauded this function, saying that it was specially meant to address women’s issues and declared there itself to organize such women’s programmes all over the state of Goa. In order to chalk out statewide programme, he called a meeting at his Government residence on 30th July 2001.

As a part of the Women’s Empowerment Year 2001 celebration by Government of Goa, the first women’s convention of two days was successfully organized at Usgao-Goa. With this, the total number of such women’s conventions reached to 85. The efforts were made to organize such conventions in all the talukas of Goa. The women from Goa who attended in large numbers during these conventions, were benefited from the valuable guidance by expert resource persons during these conventions. Peaceful Society also organised several such programmes successfully through out the year in its campus.  During every programme in Peaceful Society, a total of at least 50 to 60 women and girls from various fields (like school and college going students, teachers, village women and members of women groups) participated actively. In these programmes, women were guided on important subjects as described above by experts from respective disciplines.

FAMILY HEALTH    Click here for detail speech

By Dr. Mrs. Purnima NS Usgaonkar

 

EDUCATION:

Excerpt from the lecture delivered by Smt. Suman Pednekar,

EX- Director, Education Dept.

In her enlightening speech, she emphasized upon following important issues related to education.

  • Education for girl child is comparatively a lesser problem in Goa due to its higher literacy rate.
  • The problem of dropouts exists in case of girls going to Schools.

The main reasons for this:

Ø      Economical, i.e. poverty

Ø      Gender discrimination, where a girl is looked as inferior to a boy.

Ø      A girl is asked to take care of household chores, particularly nursing and taking care of younger brothers and sisters when parents go out to work.

Ø       Some times a girl is compelled to work and help sustain her family.

Ø      Inconvenience due to distant location of School.

Ø      The percentage of dropouts of girl children was more, i.e. 61% during the period of 1986 to 1987.  However, now it has come down to 40% and also there is a marginal difference of dropouts between boys and girls.

  • SSC and HSSC results, today, prove amply well that there is satisfactory progress in the field of girl’s education. However, it is noticed that the girls failed during these examinations give-up their further education due to lack of interest and encouragement from their parents.
  • After registering name of a girl child in the School, it is also necessary to pay proper attention and take proper care to retain an interest in the mind of this child for schooling.
  • The incentives like free uniforms, text books, scholarships and rain coats for poor children attending Schools have helped in improving the percentage of School going children. Special efforts are also needed to provide more of such incentives to girl children in order to further improve the status and percentage of the girl children attending Schools.
  • Efforts should be taken to provide cash incentives to girl children from economically backward section of the society for education from Primary to University level.
  • Teachers also should encourage girl children to learn and develop themselves and the nation as a whole.
  • ‘Parents and Teachers Associations’ and ‘School Complexes’ at Panchayat level can play a crucial role in increasing the standard of education of girl children to yet greater heights.
  • There should be proper awareness in the society about the rights of women as enshrined in 73rd and 74th Amendment of the Indian Constitution.
  • Progammes should be framed to build self-confidence among women.
  • To seek an over-all progress of the Nation, the status of women has to be heightened by providing her all opportunities at par with that of men.

 

LEGAL RIGHTS OF WOMEN:

Excerpt from the information provided by Adv. Shubhalaxmi Nayak on the subject “Legal Rights of women”.

  • All the fields, which were once open to only men, are now also open for women community to explore their potentiality.
  • Women are now enjoying 33% reservation in politics.
  • A woman can contest even in non-reserved ward. However, a man cannot contest from the ward reserved for exclusively woman contestant.
  • While explaining the atrocities on women, she explained how the husbands take undue advantage of the illiterate women.
  • She explained how the instances of dowry deaths and rape cases have increased in toady’s society and further emphasised upon role of every conscientious citizen to report Police about such cases if noted, in order to prevent them happening.
  • Proper awareness should be created among common people about legalities involved in a marriage. They should be made aware that only after the second registration, the marriage is considered as legally approved.
  •  Awareness should be created among the poor and rural women to safe guard their constitutional rights.

 

BANKING:

Since, economic self-reliance is considered as very important in over-all development of a woman, a workshop was also organised on the subject of Banking. Smt. Pratima Dhond, Chairman of Women’s Co-operative Bank, guided the women on the subject of Banking.

  • Due to rising unemployment, a pressing need has arisen to search different means of self-employment. In this regard, women, in particular can start their own small cottage industries at home.
  • She emphasised that women should be explained about the loan facilities available in the banks to help women run their own businesses and small-scale industries. Here, she also expressed a need to explain these women about the required formalities to obtain such loans.
  • She emphasised upon the need to explain and familiarise women about bank transactions.

 

 

GOVERNMENT WELFARE SCHEMES FOR WOMEN:

A workshop on the subject of “Government welfare schemes for women” was guided by Smt. Sandhya Kamat and Smt. Meena Goltekar [both BDOs] and Shri Ajit Panchawadkar [Mamlatdar].

These officers explained about various schemes made available by Government for the all-round development of women and urged the women to avail these facilities to become economically self-reliant. They also explained the formalities to undergo in the Government Offices and the kind of certificates to be submitted for speedy clearance of the files. They also urged to spread the information about such schemes particularly to the women folk living in villages. There was an open discussion during this workshop and the women participants freely asked their queries and doubts to these Officers. In particular, the women were explained about the loan facilities made available by the EDC to start a small-scale business.

 

POLITICS:

Smt. Nirmala Sawant was the resource person to guide on the subject of ‘Politics’.

She explained about how cooperation and freedom from the family is required for a woman to play an effective and active role in politics. She narrated the democratic pattern of governance existing in India and the dissatisfaction and frustration people experience from the type of politics prevalent in today’s society. She explained the concept of ‘Gram Swaraj’ as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi. In the light of Gandhian philosophy, she also explained the role of Gram Panchayats in the development of the villages. She emphasised more upon the decentralisation of power from Gram Panchayats, Zilla Panchayats, State Assemblies to ultimate Central Government. She narrated from her own experiences how difficult it is for a woman to enter in politics and be a successful politician. She opined that a woman should enter into politics only after an age of forty years, i.e. after fulfilling all family responsibilities. At this age a woman also becomes mature enough to understood the strategies adopted by her political adversaries.

Following are the immediate advantages of these yearlong programmes:

  • It was noted here that many of the marriages remain unregistered for lifetime. A list of 27 such marriages was prepared for further action.
  • A total of 17 women insured their Lives by subscribing to Insurance Policies.
  • As a result, one of the women got a job of Insurance Agent.
  • B.D.O.s and Mamlatdars are coming forward to help the needy women by providing information about various Government Welfare Schemes.
  • Shri Ravi Naik encouraged cottage industry by making available two premises to open shops at Ponda. The women from neighbouring villages of Ponda taluka are keeping various home made food items and embroidery works for sale here.

Mahila Mandal

Peaceful Society has been active in the rural areas of Goa and hence it was natural that it took up issues of rural women on a priority basis.

In 1999, it established the GRAMIN MAHILA MANCH

·        The first Mahila Mandal to establish under this social action was the Sai Mahila Mandal, at Madgaon on 4th April 1999.

A number of rural women come to Madgaon from Malbhat, Pednem and other villages in search of work and the industrial town was an appropriate place organise these women. Peaceful Society felt this need all the more urgent in view of the prevailing blind faith and rituals that ruled the lives of these women. As society marched towards the 21st century these traditions affecting the advancement of women needed to combat. Besides there was no need for alternative income earning for the women.

The latter was perceived by the Mandal women at a gathering in Madgaon organised on 27th April 1999, where they expressed their desire to undertake various self-employment schemes. They were still at the preliminary stages.

A month later, on 24th May, they visited the Peaceful Society where they saw for themselves what a coming together could achieve. They took varied interests in the activities of the Society and were inquisitive about the natural farming being undertaken in the society premises.

On World Environment Day, that is, on 5th June 1999, they planted saplings of medicinal plants and flowers near their own homes and elsewhere.

The mandal could not undertake any activity in July and August last year due to heavy rains, in September a folk dance competition was organised at Marcel.

Then on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on October 2nd, 1999, the women assisted to start small scale industry and were handed over a preliminary in kind, that is, the necessary material and thread. This would help them gain self-employment through manufacture and other local fabrics.

Unemployed Women’s Programme

Peaceful Society In Collaboration With Save The Children Fund Of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Unemployed Women’s Programme

BACKGROUND OF FINAL REPORT

The Peaceful Society had started “Unemployed Women’s programme in July 1985, which was later known as Women’s Employment Programme (WEP), with the financial assistance from ‘Save the Children Fund of British Columbia, Vancouver”.  The project was totally committed to; provide economic support to the women through employment.  The Society had submitted its first interim comprehensive report in July 1986 to the Funding Partner Save the Children Fund of British Columbia (SCF-BC) after the completion of first year of this project.  The said emphasized the experiences of the society during this period supported by several photographs of the activities of this project.

The society had suggested some alteration and appropriation of the approved programmes, proposals and their budget.  The society has requested an extra grant of Rs. 20,000/- with an extended budget for the period of July 1986 to June 1987.  Previously the whole project comprised seven production units with a revolving fund of Rs. 29,000/- while in the alternative proposal the society had centred its efforts on four production units with the revolving fund of Rs. 29,000/-.

The SCF-BC had informed this Society by its letter dated August 28, 1986 of its willingness to provide the extra grant of Rs. 20,000/-.

IMPLEMENTING THE FINAL PHASE OF THE SAID PROGRAMME

The programme is basically founded on the production of different eatable and domestic items in order to provide employment to women.  The whole production unit totally depends on suitability of the weather conditions that is why the production must be discontinued during the rainy season which extents generally from June to 2nd week of October.  Last year the Society had established the Papad production unit and had also planned to expand it.  The Society had decided to re-start the production immediately after the close of the rainy season.  Generally the rainy season ends around the third week of October.  But unfortunately last year (1986) Goa received less than half the normal year rainfall and consequently faced severe drought conditions in the long history of the territory.  There was absolutely no rain in September and besides the rain had started very late that is why the Society instead of last week of September.  Surprisingly the rains again asserted their in predictability and it continued to rain till the first half of November.  The papad made during September consequently became qualitatively poor and resulted in the accumulation of the unsold stocks worth Rs. 900/-.  The deterioration of the quality is attributed to another cause.  The availability of bright sunlight is not enough to dry but it is equally imperative that the inner layers of the soil should also be dry when raw papads are laid on the mats to get dry by exposure to the sunlight.  Any humidity in the inner layers of the soil is absorbed by papads promptly and deteriorations of their quality set’s in.  The abnormal rainfall ended almost in the third week of November and as it takes almost two weeks for the soil to dry we re-started the production in the second week of December.  But once again unfortunate events took place in the second week of December due to which the peaceful life of Goa was completely disturbed by linguistic agitation which turned into hostility, violence and riots and it took almost one and a half month to regain normalcy in this ordinarily peaceful state.  The Society had sent newspaper cuttings as documentary proof to the SCF-BC.  The production unit was re-started in full swing in February 1987 and efforts were made to regain the regain the previous marketing response.  But even after a month the demand failed to pick up and the unsold stocks started piling up causing us a great anxiety.  There were two main reasons for the sluggish demand for the papads in spite of their good quality.  Owing to the almost four months of absence of our papad in the market a new brand of papad come up with attractive packaging and a very fast supply system.  The producers of that had invested about Rs. 1.3 million to spread their product to the length and breadth of Goa.  The third reason was that a government agency had supported many women’s groups for making papad.  This resulted in many producers of  papad flooding the market at the same time and creating an unhealthy tough competition to secure market for their own product.  It was therefore not easy to increase the sale.  The papad production continued in the remaining months but gave marketing problems continued to confront us. However, in a short time of two months this year and in the last week of April we demand that the consumers and the sellers had arrived at the conclusion that the over all quality of our papad was superior to the other varieties in the market.  So the Society increased production of the papad to meet the higher demand in May, but once again unexpected rainfall had started.  Generally the pre-monsoon rainfall starts in the second week of May with only a few occasional showers but this time the pre-monsoon rainfall continued interrupted for 10 days. Once again we were forced to finally stop the production of papad in the last week of May.  The cycle of seasonal rainfall is unbalanced and it is adversely affecting the village industry.  It is really surprising that this year Goa is receiving a very good rainfall but the neighbouring states are experiencing acute drought conditions.  Last year the situation was entirely different and while Goa suffered drought the neighbouring states had received good rainfall.

In spite of all these unexpected events the Society is able to say with full confidence that the future of papad production is very bright till it continuous to be one of the favourite and common dishes in Indian food. In spite of all these painful experiences the society has planned vigorous steps in production, supply, and overall co-ordination and follow up in this unit.  In spite of this continuously dull situation the papad unit had provided 418 women’s days employment and produced 47070 no. of papad worth Rs. 9,414/- during September 1986 to May 1987.

JACKFRUIT UNIT

Besides the not so good but not bad either overall performance and achievement of the Papad Unit in the same period the Society had encouraging and marvellous achievement in the establishment of Jackfruit Unit.  During the last year while the Papad Unit was found running well the Jackfruit Unit had been just introduced and had produced only 27 kg. of  Jackfruit Wafers worth Rs 5000/-.  Last year there was the problem of marketing of wafers.  But this year although the production of wafers was started with some hesitation it was really a miracle that the demand soared high very soon.  Initially the wafer production was10 kgs., and it ended with 30 kgs., so the Society increased the capacity of the unit almost 5 times that of the last years.  This was indeed a very inspiring and encouraging achievement this year.  The increasing demand was mainly caused by improved quality of the wafers produced.  This year we are mature and experienced in the selection of appropriate Jackfruits, which are suitable for good quality wafers.  This unit had generated 106 days employment for women and had produced 90 kgs. Of wafers that is double the last year’s production.  This unit also closed almost one and a half month earlier due to early heavy rains, which increased in inner humidity of the Jackfruit and rendered them unsuitable in inner humidity of the Jackfruit and rendered them unsuitable for good quality wafers.  The Society has planned in a realistic way to double the existing production next year.

SWEET PAPAD FROM JACKFRUIT

This year the Society had introduced sweet papad and got very good experience and found that it has also very vast market potentiality in and outside Goa.  For the preparation of raw material for it equipment is required.  But the Society procured the equipment with same delay due to its non-availability in the market.  This equipment is not going to reduce the manual work.  Due to the receipt of this equipment and the early arrival of the rainfall the unit could not commence commercial production because Jackfruit sweet papad takes at least 15 times more time and bright sunlight to dry than any other variety of papad.  But this was not available due to early commencement of rains.

LEAF PLATE UNIT

Due to lack of managerial capacity and lack of time the Society had started this unit by giving financial assistance and marketing outlet to six women’s.  This approach had created a good result and these women are earning about had Rs. 150/- per month in their leisure work time.  Now the Society is planning to try them for the other varieties of the Leaf Plates, which are specially produced in Andhra Pradesh.  In the coming season we can increase the employment of women twice by the same approach.  Please take note about that this unit also needs bright sunlight and wet leaves are not suitable of this purpose.

DISH PLATE FROM BETEL NUT LEAVES

The available machine to make Dish Plates from betel nut leaves received from Mitra Bir Trust was defective and we sought for its replacement from its suppliers.  The Society after a long period of waiting arranged for its repairs and brought it to a unit working condition.  All this took into too long a time and in the mean time the rainfall had started.  The evaluation team of this project inspected this machine and the production can be started by November 1987 when dry leaves will be available.

SPICES UNIT

Now the Society has planned to add one more unit, which is the spices unit.  This unit was expected to start around end of May but due to the late delivery of the required equipment it can be started in October 1987.  This unit has a good marketing potential.

BRIEF HIGHLIGHTS OF PRODUCTION UNIT

1)      In spite of all inconvenient conditions to run and increase the capacity of the papad production unit ultimately the society succeeded to get rid of all the bad consequences and had provided man at work.

2)      Up to June 1986 only papad unit was established but Jackfruit wafers hit, leaves plate unit, are also established this year.

3)      After the completion of two years of this project the society is able to retain overall revolving fund amount and had spent on the labour and on the material which we consider as one of the positive and inspiring achievements of this project.

4)      The Society created a marvellous market for the Jackfruit unit, which is another achievement of the current year.

5)      The workers efforts to make this programme a success was very great and due to these sustainable women’s team has been built up and this programme will continue forever.

6)      The Society maintains all the relative registers like Production register, Stock register, Attendance Register, Sale Book, Bill Book, Cash Book, Ledger Book etc.

7)      The Society has taken all the care to do the necessary record work.  The Society has also filled the required documents at the appropriate state and Central Government offices.

8)      Welfare Measure:  The Society has concentrated its efforts on the Welfare Measure, which were indicated in the previous report and has paid minute attention to the employed women as to where they spend their money.  There are very encouraging changes in these women who was the income earned from the project for their livelihood and most necessary domestic things.  All the beneficiary women are operating their bank accounts and have formed a healthy habit of regular saving.

PRACTICAL PROBLEMS

a)      How Developmental policy is stressing its efforts to the development and establishment of Industrialization.  There is no clear demarcation in this developmental approach as to which production will be for the Village Industry and Cottage Industry sectors.  Now days the multinational and other indigenous large industry have introduced their products, which can be easily produced by the village and the cottage industry.  It is really a very tough period for the village and cottage industries to face the encroachment of the Himalayan task for village industries to compete with multinational and big industries.  The position of the village industries is almost like the have-note but their capabilities and potentialities endless.  They require professional out look and structure, which is not possible in a limited provision of budget and within a period two years.

b)      This project faced such limitations like suitability of climate and appropriate infrastructure.  If the society can solve these two problems within a short span of time than this whole project can be turned into a vast expansion.

c)      The society is trying to acquire land develop infrastructure for its overall functions in which the women employment programme will receive main attention.  It requires liberal support from resourceful institutions.  How one of its supporter institutions has promised funds to purchase land.  The society hopes that it can acquire a sufficient area of land within two to three months.  Then the question will arise about preliminary construction for which society has received the bonafide assurance of a small fund by which urgent requirement of work shed can be completed within a short period.  So the question of infrastructure for such activities is on the way of concrete solution.  In spite of this the society requires further support to this project in a big frame.  Many times the problem arose due to adverse climate and this can be almost minimized by the installation of an electrical oven that will help to continue the papad project during the rainy season as well.  And if the society can feed the market demand during the rainy reason also then nobody can interfere into its market span.

d)      After the last two years experience it is also necessary that the society should leave enough stock of raw materials which the cost of production can be reduced.  As raw materials are normally cheaper during certain periods of the year, this will help us to control our cost of production.

e)      For the production of any type of items and its sale in the market with the aim of generating employment specifically among the needy women in the village atmosphere the whole thing fully depends on a band of committed workers teams.  But commitment does not mean that they have professional skill are not sure that they are committed. All types of programmes committed for a new social order requires a team of professional colleagues.   The commitment normally comes from their experience of the work, and their involvement, relation and communication with the Society.  The present trend of materialism has created drought to get and cultivate committed colleagues.   Therefore a period of two years is insufficient to assess the success or failure of any such programme or to develop a confident team of colleagues.

f)       In view of all the above problems and their situations the Society had planned in a big frame to expand this project, which requires very specific support from the SCB-BC.  The society understands that it will not be possible for SCF-BC to provide the entire fund for expanded programme. Therefore the required infrastructure expenditure can be made by the SCF-BC for three years.  The expansion proposal is enclosed.

Women Development

Peaceful Society is one of the voluntary organizations, established in Goa in the year 1984. It is based upon Gandhian ideology. The women development was one of the core issues upon which Peaceful Society concentrated with all seriousness. To put in a nutshell, following are the efforts taken by Peaceful Society from the time of its establishment till date in the field of women’s development and empowerment:

A Forum To Meet

Women’s lives are dictated by the male dominated society.  Peaceful society has made deliberate efforts to bring women out from their homes and provide a conducive atmosphere to discuss their own problems and co-operatively solve them. This effort has resulted in the formation of a Women’s Co–operative in Paiginim and led to revival of defunct Mahila Mandals in Pedne Taluka.  The attention of all sections of the community has been focused on local health problems. Attitudes towards Government Schemes to some extent have been changed, with emphasis placed on local needs and self- reliance, as opposed to acceptance of handouts and inappropriate inputs. Women from all over Goa attended a conference held in Margao on Social Inequality with over 90 women sponsored by Peaceful Society. Over the past 10 years dozens of camps   have been held to look at local problems and resources available from the Government as well as local community to solve the problems.

The fact that women have been consistently mobilised in all our programmes have been crucial to the successes, for instance in Cotigaon, the women ensured attendance at conference against the eviction of the tribals. Though most of men had been persuaded not to attend by local politicians, the women turned up as planned with food, thereby forcing the men to eventually appear.

We have become a refuge as well as a source for advice and support to many local women who have domestic and financial difficulties and will continue to offer such support for women to achieve their self – reliance.

Survey of Panchayats

A survey of Bandora Panchayat was made in the year 1985 and various programmes were launched to boost cottage industry. This move helped the needy and poor women of this area to become economically self-reliant.

Women’s Employment

A year- long assistance for needy women: The women with various skilled who received assistance from Peaceful Society had job only in the fair season and were left jobless in the monsoon. So, Peaceful Society took a novel initiative by opening other job avenues for such women. Here, these women were provided job of preparing food items having demand also in monsoon season. For over four years we have developed training and marketing scheme in processed foods with a range of products such as Jackfruit wafers, Shankderpalli and Papad at Bandora. Year round employment to a core group of 9 women, with additional labour inputs of 25 women at peak periods were generated with turn over rising from Rs.20,000/- to Rs. 1,35, 000/- annum. Due to rapid and unexpected inflation of the raw material prices (e.g. edible oils rose from Rs. 250/- to Rs. 600/- per tin in less than a year) and a number of inputs it became impossible to obtain these from the open market and the programme was suspended. A wealth of experience in running a successful village development has been gained, which is shared with other groups who are embarking on similar enterprises. We are now confident that we have the experiences   to encourage and support women in establishing a business, with accounting, marketing and all the other associated business skills. On the request of Mahila Mandals of Parce, Agarwada, Paigini, Savaiverem and Madkai, Society, has imparted training in making the eatable items such as spices (Masala)

 Tailoring & Embroidery Training

In spite of few local problems, tailoring and Embroidery training courses have received good responses so far. After the experience of 1st free training course of six months duration we introduced course free nominally to make trainee responsible and serious about the training.

First training course began in Bandora in 1987, since then we have so far conducted 18 courses of six months duration in Bandora (7), Agarwada (1), Parcem(3), Korgaon ( 3), Mopa (1), Malpe (1), Tuye ( 2), Pedne (1), Paiginim ( 1) and Madkai ( 1)  and have trained 613 girls and workers. The six months quality training being course as well as Rs. 50/- to Rs,75/- as course  contribution. By offering quality training without stipend, it is those women who wish to learn that are attracted. Many do not become professionally employed in tailoring, though they all are self reliant for their own family needs. The course offers an opportunity for the women and girls to meet on a regular basis and discuss a range of other issues. Demand for the course in Bandora diminished when 7 other sewing courses were promoted in the area (originally they were none).

Craft Promotion and Exhibition Sales has drawn in 50 local women who would otherwise remain isolated within their homes. They produce a range of traditional embroidery and craft items, which Peaceful Society arranges to, exhibit and sell. Annually 3-4 such exhibitions are arranged generating a turnover of over Rs.20, 000/-, while in Paiginim women have been operating such exhibitions independently.

A number of other ventures have been investigated in the past and found to be inappropriate – e.g. Polyester Khadi and leaf plate production.

The deposits given by the Peaceful Society to the Banks have been used to generate loans for marginal and poor people in the area to assist them in the formation of small industries and income generating schemes. Till today 418 people have received more than 30 lakh rupees.

Training For Cultivation Of Mushrooms

A special training camp was held in association with I.C.A.R. Old Goa about production of mushrooms at home in the year 1995. This camp was designed to encourage the women at home to artificially produce mushrooms and thereby seek self-reliance.

Training For Kitchen Garden

A kitchen garden training camp was organized twice to teach women the method of cultivating vegetables right in the home garden by using the biodegradable waste materials as manure. This training camp was held in the year 1995 and proved very useful for the women.

Management Training For DWACRA Leader

A three days state level orientation camp was organised at Society’s campus for RDA (Rural Development Agency, Govt. Of Goa). supported DWACRA groups.  Twenty-four women group leaders took part in the camp. They shared their day-to-day problems in managing the team, procuring raw materials, marketing outlet for their product etc. Officer Incharge, Women Development Dept.  of RDA – Goa was the co-ordinator of the camp and she requested the society to extend support even in future for the benefit  of women groups.

Education And Health Awareness

We have initiated Balwaris in 3 areas, which have been unique in that: – (1) People have contributed to the up keep as well as provided the place. (ii) The extent to which child development (irrespective of caste and creed) has been emphasised, (iii) they have been locally managed and controlled. Two Balwaris have now been taken over by local Government schemes. A two-day camp of Taluka level women working in Balwaris was organised at Madkai Centre to discuss local issues.

Health Camps

Peaceful Society took an important initiative to care for the health of the people of adjoining areas by organizing Health Camps and Health Talk. The first monthly health camp was organized in the year 1987 for women and children. This monthly health camp is continuing uninterruptedly till date. The forty plus aged women are specially checked here for the age-related diseases and are also advised about precautionary measures.

Inspite of better per capita income compared to rest of the country and better literacy rate, the health status of rural poor children is still very bad. To improve the health of rural poor children, the society has so far organised 28 health camps in Bandora, continuous in Madkai village since 1990, 4 in Cotigao and 7 in Pedne area. Besides children’s health problem, disease like T.B. were also detected and patients were referred to Governmental health agency.

Those found to be having T.B. are received medication and supplementary nutrition. The health status, advices and treatment given to each chilled were carefully recorded by the doctors and every camp has   given emphasis on follow up as well education to the mother to how best they can maintain the health of children within their resources. In the health camps, family health  within limited resources has been  promoted. The health programme is heavily reliant of the services of Dr. Poornima Santosh Usgaonkar who has given her time and resources freely and Physicians like Dr. Audhoot Borkar, and others. Preventive Health Care is also stressed and efforts have already been made to clean up and protect from contamination drinking water wells in both Pedne and Madkai. In Cotigao we succeeded in creating safe drinking water supply to 3 hamlets, and now thanks to the Government there is an excess of drinking water available in all the villages. It was however the pressure from the villagers themselves that has brought about this change.

While parenting a child, health is an important factor and such contests help parents understand it in a better way.

Solar Cooker Training

In Goa, at least for a duration of eight months, solar cookers can be used for cooking purposes. It is one of the cheapest and eco-friendly energy available for man to cook food. In order to educate women community about this novel energy available free of cost, a solar cooker training camp was organized in the year 1995.

65 smokeless chulha were installed in Yedda, Badde, and Avalim Wada of Cotigao Gram Panchayat with the help of state  Rural Development Agency . (Government of Goa). This will not only reduce firewood consumption, but is also intended to improve health of the women.

Terrace Gardening Camp

In the year1995, a terrace gardening camp was held in the Peaceful Society campus to teach the ways to cultivate vegetables used for daily consumption in a family by using minimum space available. A practical demonstration was done here to illustrate how biodegradable waste in the house can be effectively harnessed as manure for such gardening.

Preservation Of Medicinal Herbs

A special initiative was taken by Society to plant and preserve rare and valuable species of medicinal herbs in its campus from the year 1997. In this respect, Peaceful Society took assistance from the faculties of Botanical Department, Goa University.

NSS Camps

In the Peaceful Society campus, many Higher Secondary Schools and Colleges are conducting their annual NSS camps. From the year 1990 to 2001, a total of 28 such camps have been successfully conducted in the Peaceful Society campus. Besides these camps, a national camp was held for 80 girls from various states of India.

Dowry Victims

An initiative was taken by Peaceful Society to detect the culprit behind the death of Chitra Navelkar, a dowry victim, at Marcel in the year 1992.

Atrocities On Women

Peaceful Society helped a girl who was brutally raped by  resorting to all lawful means. She was also helped to get medical check-up to ascertain the brutality.

Anti-Alcoholism Camps

Peaceful Society is holding camps at various places for awareness against the rising alcoholism and smoking and chewing tobacco habits among the mass community.

Education And Motivation Programmes

Numerous workshops and camps have been organised at various places in Goa. Particularly, Peacefully Society played a pioneering role in launching Anti-Superstition Campaign in the year 1994. A well-known social activist Shri Sham Manav was invited to Goa for delivering lectures and also for conducting workshops. Thus Peaceful Society conducted campaigns and workshops in its campus to voice against superstitions and blind beliefs.

Village Women Front

In order to seek the all round development of women, a village women front was established in the year 1998. Due to this effort, women got information about various welfare schemes made available by Government for needy and poor women.

Sai Mahila Mandal

A women’s organization called as Sai Mahila Mandal was established on 9th April 1999 with the help of Peaceful Society to assist the women of that region.

Swaraj Overview

SWARAJ Forum was initiated in November 1996 by Peaceful Society and like-minded groups and individuals to work towards a Society based on Gandhian principles. The manifestation of globalisation and fundamentalisation led to emergence of such formation.

FORMATION PHASE

The formation phase of SWARAJ is from December 1996 to June 1997. A three-day consultation on growing fundamentalism and the adverse impact of globalisation was organised by Peaceful Society and INSAF (a social action group based in Mumbai) in November 1996. The aim was to bring solidarity and provide a common platform for like- minded individuals, voluntary organisations, social action groups and people’s movements who have deep convictions in Gandhian philosophy. 22 Gandhian groups from the states of Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat took part in the consultation. The consultation finally culminated in the birth of a new process of bringing Gandhian forces together in the name of Swaraj with the sole aim to explore and evolve new alternatives to the challenges faced by the country.

The word Swaraj is a sacred word, a vedic word, meaning self-restraint and self-rule and freedom from all restraints.

The national consultation urged the holding of similar processes in Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, and Tamil Nadu. During the 2-½ year period (from November 1996 to mid-1999) seven state chapters of Swaraj were formed. After a process of dialogue, discussions and orientation, 223 voluntary organisations, people’s movements and social action groups became associates of Swaraj in seven states, which included in them NGOs, social action groups, voluntary organisations and peoples’ movements. Peaceful Society conceived this process as its national programme.

Following issues surfaced from the various consultations, which were organised during the formation phase;

SOCIAL

1.       Caste conflicts

2.       Child Labour

3.       Communalism.

4.       Deterioration of moral values.

5.       Exploitation in tribal belt

6.       Fundamentalism (religious)

7.       Grabbing of land belonging to tribal.

8.       People’s rights over Land, Water & forest resources

9.       Problems of Nomad tribes and their rehabilitation and legal rights,

10.   Problems related to fisher folk

11.   Prostitution

12.   Protection and rehabilitation of sex workers.

13.   Shelter

14.   Social justice and human rights

15.   Social relations are completely at halt in the Sone region.

16.   Socio-economic and health problems of migrated men labourers

17.   Violence

18.   Widespread violence and dehumanisation.

GENDER & WOMEN

19.   Communal riots affected children and widows.

20.   Divorced women (mostly in Muslim community)

21.   Gender inequalities

22.   Killing of girl child

23.   Lack of sanitation especially for women

24.   Socio-economic problems of women

ECONOMICAL

25.   Destruction of cottage industries

26.   Destruction of traditional agricultural practices

27.   Deteriorating condition of weavers (most of them are Muslim)

28.   Heavy debt of the banks on marginal farmers,

29.   Lack of adequate wages

30.   Mass poverty and starvation

31.   Migration of labour plight to urban

32.   Poverty.

33.   Unemployment

AGRICULTURAL

34.   Indigenous seeds

35.   Lack of irrigation

36.   Poor farming and problem of livelihood.

EDUCATIONAL

37.   Illiteracy especially among the women

38.   Lack of educational facility

HEALTH

39.   Alcoholism and addictions

40.   Collapse of public health care system

41.   Health problems

42.   Infanticides

43.   Infertility

44.   Mal- nutrition

45.   New diseases such as black fever

CULTURAL

46.   Cultural and resource crisis because of promotion of tourism.

47.   Loss of traditional practices and livelihood.

LOCAL SELF GOVERNANCE

48.   Non-implementation of Land Reform Act

49.   Non-implementation of the Panchayat Raj Act.

50.   Panchayat Raj

51.   Political instability.

52.   Tribal Self Government

ANTI – PEOPLE DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAMME

53.   Big dams and its impact on environment

54.   Damning of rivers.

55.   Destruction of Gir forest for tourism.

56.   Displacement

57.   Floods

58.   Rise in river’s bed,

59.   Rise of desert areas

ENVIRONMENTAL

60.   Deforestation

61.   Deforestation due to increase in the consumption of forest product

62.   Depletion of biodiversity and lives stock

63.   Destruction of common land – grazing land.

64.   Destruction of horticulture

65.   Destruction of natural forest.

66.   Destruction of vegetation

67.   Destruction water management

68.   Drought

69.   Drought prone area increasing

70.   Drying up of water resources.

71.   In discriminatory mining even in so-called protected areas such as wild life sanctuary.

72.   Increase in poisonous grass

73.   Landslides and soil erosion.

74.   Mining

75.   Non-timber forest produce

76.   Polluted and contaminated drinking water

77.   Pollution,

78.   Population of Mahadeo tribes is decreasing at alarming rate.

79.   River pollution

80.   Rivers pollution due to industrialization and rampant development.

81.   Starvation

82.   Widespread pollution due to industrialization

GLOBAL & ECONOMIC FORCES

83.   Conversion of agricultural land to cater the demands of urbanisation and industrialization.

84.      Destroyed hills due to urbanisation and new developmental projects such as Konkan Rly etc.,

85.   Grabbing land by big companies, especially of common lands.

86.   Grabbing Land specially belonging to tribal and poor communities by the private companies, multinationals, NRIs.

87.   Market economy affecting life style and rural economy.

88.   World Bank and its policy

89.   Globalisation and its impacts in rural economy

90.   Multinational Companies and their trade network

91.   Promotion of tourism under new economic policy.

92.   Salt issue – banning sale of traditional salt and imposition of iodised salt.

93.   Village & Cottage industries are affected due to Globalisation

STRATEGIC FOCUS

The training on PSP process and the actual implementation of PSP at the village/ community level took more than two years. It is an ongoing process. The structure Swaraj and the vision, mission, role, strategy and programme (VMRSP) were evolved based on the outcome of the PSP. The states and the consortiums developed their VMRSP after compiling and consolidating the PSP outcomes from their regions. The data on PSP from various state units were collected and copiled. The national Strategic plan (NSP) was evolved out of the state and campaigns. Thus the entire process has been a truly participatory and bottom up approach.  Four main strategic thrust areas common to all the regions emerged during the first national workshop (July 1999). Programmes and activities are planned by the states keeping the local context in view.

–        Work towards establishing self- rule (gram swaraj) to re-establish the rights of adivasisdalits, women and other marginalized sections of the community on common property resources; sustainable development through gram sabha.

–        Bring in social transformation by striving for gender equality, restoring cultural heritage and working against fundamentalism, alcoholism.

–         Support and strengthen people’s movements (sangthan) to face the challenges of new economic policy, World Bank, IMF, WTO, TNCs etc.

–        Capacity building of fellows, facilitators and associates of Swaraj.

Within a short period of 30 – 32 months, Swaraj has been able to carve an identity and create impacts. The present internal evaluation focuses on the achievements, concerns and future strategies.

DEVELOPMENT CONTEXT

Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP)

BACKGROUND

Soon after its inception, Swaraj was in need of an alternative process, which could help in an effective realisation of peoples’ aspirations through self-rule. It was also felt that grassroots organisations and the communities should become aware of the linkages between the policies laws etc. formulated at the international, national, state level and their impact on the lives of the community at the local level (macro and micro contexts). Swaraj forum was in need of a process that would be inclusive and ensure collective, co-operative and participatory efforts in decision-making processes, in planning, monitoring and formulation of the action programmes to achieve the objectives.

In the wake of the above situation, Dr. Badal Sen Gupta a noted social scientist and South Asia consultant to EED gave an introduction to Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP) that had characteristics which could ensure peoples’ participation and their empowerment too.

PSP is a capacity building process, both at the organisational level and the community level for peoples’ empowerment. Swaraj decided to adopt PSP both at organisational level and peoples’ level. PSP has now become a part and parcel of Swaraj’s endeavour. A series of programmes on PSP between August 1997 to July 1999 at the national level, the state levels, organisational levels and the actual implementation of PSP at village/community levels has enabled Swaraj to evolve common vision and mission and chalk out a strategic plan for Swaraj.

A total of 1624 villages were covered under the concept of Swaraj and Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP). The documentation of PSP process was also completed and approved in the state conventions of Swaraj in five states. This process has identified some strategic thrusts and programmes to be undertaken with specific strategies and methodology emerging from the process. It has been successful in setting-up networks onPanchayati Raj (village self-governance) and strengthening of people’s movement in river valleys/basins, through the establishment of Indian Rivers Network.

These were compiled at the national level by the state coordinators and other important activists. The following are the thrust areas in order of priority based on the PSP.

Ø      Advocacy – human rights, environment protection

Ø      Capacitation

Ø      Gender equality and empowerment

Ø      Solving unemployment (in the context of Globalisation)

Ø      Literacy

HIGHLIGHTS AND IMPACT

It is quite evident that PSP has been an enabling process at all levels and has had a major impact on the work culture of Swaraj. All of them were appreciative and spoke highly about the process. Within the Swaraj team, many have had exposure to other participatory processes such as PRA but they felt that PSP was a unique process that has relevance both at the personal and organisational level. The following are some of the remarks/ statements made by fellows and associates based on their experience with the process.

–        PSP has brought in lot of clarity and has helped in planning and addressing issues in any field be it relief or development work.

–        It enables all concerned in in-depth and critical analysis of issues. Helps in identifying the root cause of any issue or problem.

–        It helps in determining and redefining values.

–        ‘We have used the PSP process to rework on our vision and mission. It is now more oriented to the present development context and people- centric’ remarked a state coordinator referring to his own organisation.

–        It has helped in building a strong bond between the community and Swaraj.

–        It is an ongoing and continuous process.  It is easily adaptable to the local/ rural situation. ‘We use the popular local media such as songs, plays, theatre to explain the process’. Most of us have also translated and prepared PSP document in our own language.

–        It is an empowering tool. People in the villages have been able to identify issues, prioritise them, and plan interventions and strategies.

–        ‘It is a very flexible approach and has enabled us to identify emerging issues/ challenges and include them in our planning process. In Jharkhand for instance ethnic conflict (among various adivasi sects) was unheard of till recently. However, this has emerged as a serious issue in recent times. We have incorporated this as one of our thrust areas’.

–        It is an inclusive process and is particularly suited for the voices of the most oppressed to emerge; be it dalitsadivasis or women.

–        In this process, women have readily come forward and participated. It provides space for women.

–        It gives power to the people in planning, monitoring and decision-making.

–        It is an ideal tool for self-analysis.

–        It is a holistic approach, helps in reflecting on the past, understand the present and plan for future.

–        Helps in reducing ‘gaps’ and provides scope for the community and organisation to work together.

–        Provides clarity on individual’s role.

–        ‘PSP is the backbone of Swaraj’.

–        PSP fits in perfectly with the value based Gandhian ideology of Swaraj.

ISSUES

There were a few who felt that at times some of the complicated jargon was difficult to translate and adapt to local situation and dialect. They felt that some of these need to be simplified. While a large number of women and men from the community have been trained as facilitators in the process, due to paucity of funds refresher courses have not taken place as expected. The implementation of actual PSP in many villages and follow up is yet to happen. These are areas of concern that need immediate attention.

People Empowerment & Sustainable Development (PE & SD) Phase:

The 23 months long and rigorous PS phase provided common documents to work unitedly. The mandate of the document was for 10 years. The PSP created a beginning for the formation of a forum and ‘workology’ (working relation in between organisational structure, vision and people) from bottom to top and vice versa. An inspiring emergence was witnessed at district level consultations, consortiums and state level conferences and also at national conference organised at Gram Vikas, Berhampur. A sun of change was seen rising. The fragrance of hope for better / humane society was smelled there. The culture of participation and partnership was at rise. The PSP phase build the basis for possible and desirable change in the society and therefore defined the role of the change actors.

The PE & SD phase-I, which is also known as post PSP phase I begin with enthusiasm at one side and suffocation about role and partnership at the other side. It seems that neither the executor of PSP process or its introducer were clear about overall emergence and their role thereafter. This resulted into suffocation about better role to reap the better yield. The insufficient funds for post PSP phase and lack of ability to forecast about such insufficiency had adverse effect on post PSP performance. The Forum’s dependence   on one organisation and one person resulted in squeezing the possibility of post PSP harvesting. Nevertheless, the leadership from top to bottom did not bow down before sudden severe insufficiency of funds and faced the post PSP scenario with right spirit. They showed tremendous courage to carry the mandate of Berhampur conference.

The first phase of PE & SD project from November 1999 to October 2003 not only succeeded in maintaining its existence in 7 states, but also developed visible roots in 340 villages through fellowship programme. Ms. Hemalata Subramanyam who was entrusted by the EED / EZE and Peaceful Society to evaluate, found following progress;

q       EED has been supporting the Swaraj initiative since its inception. Besides extending financial support, the most noteworthy contribution of EED has been the introduction of Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP) through its former Head of Consultancy Desk, Dr. Badal Sen Gupta.

q       A short-term project proposal was submitted to EED (EZE), Bonn in December 1996 to strengthen the newly born Swaraj initiative. During the second phase July 1997- October 1999, the PSP process was introduced at various levels. Phase III proposal was submitted as ‘People’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development’ (PE&SD) project to EED, based on the outcome of the PSP processes. The proposal began from 1st Nov. 1999 for 3 years.

q        The training on PSP process and the actual implementation of PSP at the village/ community level took more than two years. It is an ongoing process. The structure of Swaraj and the vision, mission, role, strategy and programme (VMRSP) were evolved based on the outcome of the PSP. The states and the consortiums developed their VMRSP after compiling and consolidating the PSP outcomes from their regions. The national Strategic plan (NSP) was evolved out of the state and campaigns. The entire process has been a truly participatory and bottom up approach.

q       The constituency of Swaraj includes eight states (Goa in a small way) and eight campaigns including the Western India Forum for Panchayat Raj (WIFPR) and the various consortiums under the Indian River Network (IRN). The work is spread over 17 districts and covers a population of about 10 million.

q       All the members who work in Swaraj are referred to as Fellows or Karyakartas.   A total of 72 fellows are associated with Swaraj programmes at the national, states and various campaigns.

q       Although Swaraj has as yet no stated policy on gender, the gender profile of the fellows reveals the presence of a large number of women. At present there are 32 women fellows (44%). At the community level, Swaraj has already ensured 50% representation of women in various committees and at the level of volunteers in most places. However, the recruitment and retention of women is a challenge.

q       Women’s involvement and participation is quite high in the programmes. The members of the SHG groups that have been promoted in almost all the Swaraj villages are articulate and are proactive in addressing village issues. Many SHGs are actively campaigning against alcoholism, taking action against teachers who are irregular, motivating parents to send their children to school etc. In many places they are also active members of forest protection committees. Many of them are also taking part in PRIs and some of them have even become panchayat members. Women have become more mobile and visit banks, district government offices on their own. At many places, besides savings, small income generation programmes have been initiated.

q       In the river basins, the community has developed a sense of ownership on the rivers, natural resources etc. The need to conserve and protect natural resources- be it water, forests has motivated them to come together and form people’s movements.

q       The contribution from the community in the form of time, labour, food, money etc. in all Swaraj activities and programmes is a strong indicator of the trust and faith in the concept of Swaraj. The contribution from the community averages at around 60% and in many village level programmes 100%.

q       A unique feature of Swaraj is the thrust given to promote volunteers at the community level. Besides on male and one female volunteer at the village level, the various committee members are also volunteers.

q       Swaraj has established an identity in the community and partners within this short period. The networking strategy has helped in bringing together a large number of NGOs, social action groups, and people’s movements on a common platform to address issues.

q       Swaraj has promoted a culture that is humane, non-hierarchical and equitous. It has provided opportunities for women as well as for people from all religions, castes and communities to be part of the process. This is reflected both within the organisation and in the villages.

q       The constituency of Swaraj is quite large and requires substantial resources (both human and financial). Swaraj is working under tremendous resource crunch. The number of fellows is grossly inadequate to meet the programme needs. This has major implications for the future.

THE PE & SD PHASE II:

PE & SD Phase II was an extension of first phase. The EED did exhibit participatory culture while processing and finalising the proposal for this II phase. They not only agreed about the insufficiency of funds allotted for earlier phase I, but enhanced the funds for phase II and showed readiness to develop a consortium of supporting organisations in Europe so that needed resources could be channelised. Besides the enhancement of funds, the head of South & Middle Asia Desk and its head of monitoring dept. spent 3 days with the main team of SWARAJ and executive committee of Peaceful Society.

The phase II started on Nov. 1st, 2002 as continuation of earlier phase for 3 years. It began with selection of fellows, their 10 days training and training of state and consortium level coordinators. Old and new fellow continued their work in respective 5 villages and strengthening various structures of SWARAJ in their area. The capacity building programme (CBP), which was neither part of formal project of, phase-I or II was also taken up again with the sole view to enhance the ideological and analytical base of its constituents. However, continuation of CBP becomes a financial suffocation due to which it was not multiplied at various level.

Damodar Consortium

DAMODAR CONSORTIUM

Damodar is one of the major rivers in the State of Jharkhand. The Damodar Valley Corporation is one of the largest and oldest thermal power stations in the country had lead to large-scale displacement of the local population affecting their livelihoods. A number of coal mining units, thermal power plants, cement and tin factories located on the riverside release the effluents into the river thereby causing massive pollution and contaminating the water bodies. This has had an adverse effect on the drinking water sources and the health of the communities living in the vicinity of the river basin.

The problems faced by the local communities of the Damodar river basin were undertaken as part of the PSP process of Swaraj. After due analysis of the problems, certain core issues were identified and accordingly activities were framed. Damodar Bachao Abhiyan (Save Damodar Campaign) was launched to create awareness and plan interventions. The objective of the programme is to save Damodar river from industrial pollution and to prevent destitution of local people owing to deforestation, mining and industrial expansion and displacement caused by dam.

The operational area of the consortium covers 15 villages in the districts of Bokaro and Kodarma. Three fellows are associated with the consortium (2 working on Damodar and 1 as part of IRN- Jharkhand). The core issues identified are

SJ-Jharkhand activists and local people taking an oath to save the Damodar River from pollution during Damodar Mela held in Jharkhand. 

Ø      Displacement

Ø      Pollution

Ø      Non availability of safe drinking water

Ø      Deforestation

Ø      Health issues

Ø      Alcoholism

Ø      Migration

Ø      Illiteracy and child labour

Ø      Women’s issues

STRATEGIC THRUST

1.       Establishment of Self-Rule for control over natural resources like Jal, Jungle, Jamin for sustainable development;

2.       Campaign for economic literacy and alternative education model;

3.       Understanding Human Rights;

4.       Encourage Gender Equality;

5.       Campaign against Addiction;

6.       Struggle against communalism and

7.       Struggle against Casteism.

AREA OF OPERATION

DISTRICTS

FELLOWS

GRAM PANCHAYAT

VILLAGES UNDER FIVE-VILLAGE CONCEPT

CONTACT VILLAGE

TOTAL

VILLAGES

2

2

7

10

15

25

 

INTERVENTIONS IMPACT AND ISSUES

–        Increased awareness and interest among the local community with regard to Save Damodar campaign.

–        Mounting pressure on the state government to address the issue of pollution affecting the area.

–        The first thermal power unit of Damodar valley corporation forced to shut down due to alarming increase in pollution levels.

–        Increased awareness among the community about government programmes/ schemes and taking initiatives to visit block and district offices to seek information.

–        Increase in women’s participation; initiatives to acquire leadership qualities.

–        8 women SHGs and 2 men SHGs are formed.

–        Forest protection committees constituted in 6 villages.

–        People more conscious of protecting trees and forests; decrease in felling of trees.

–        Community based education committees in 5 villages.

–        Village committees formed in 8 villages; equal participation of women and men in the committees.

–        There is a gradual increase in the enrolment and attendance of children in schools; teachers attending schools more regularly.

–        Construction of a high school in Bagda village.

–        Renovation of a middle school premises with community support.

–        Increased awareness and participation of women, dalits and other backward communities in the panchayat elections.

–        Increased opportunities for like-minded organisations to come together on a common platform and address issues.

–        Alcoholism is a growing concern in the region.

–        Influence of local party politics disrupts the process.

–        Caste and ethnic conflicts on the rise.

Koshi Consortium

KOSHI CONSORTIUM

Save Koshi Padyatra: The Activists and people of Koshi starting 126 KM long Padayatra.

The Koshi River, a tributary of the Ganga, emerges from the Central Himalayas, and after a turbulent fall from the heights of the mighty mountain ranges through Nepal, continues its turbulence before meeting the Ganga in the Terai and plains.

Many a gigantic projects on the Koshi in the last century have failed to control the river, which changes its course often depending on the shift of the natural drainages. In their wake these projects have failed to control floods. Nor have they provided better irrigation facilities and produced more energy for the people the valleys of this and other tributaries of the Ganga. Additionally the bunds erected on either sides of the river have done anything but distribute the floodwaters in more and more areas. These have only managed to enhance the wetlands and destroy crops of the poor peasantry living in its valley and within the bund area.

The situation seemed to be worsening and in 1993, a total of 192 NGOs, POs and individuals got together and formed the Koshi Consortium. In 1996, the seeds of Swaraj Forum were sown here and the Consortium was among the first to join the Forum when it was formally formed in 1997.

The Consortium then took up the Participatory Strategic Planning process in the villages that its activists worked in collaboration with 50 like-minded organisations, in 226 villages. This was undertaken between November 1999 and October 2002 in these villages, which fell in eight districts  – Saharsa, Supoul, Madhepura, Araria, Purnia, Katihar, Madhubani and Naugachhiya (Bhagalpur).

The PSP approach has helped both the consortium members and the village communities to analyse the issues facing the region and take collective action to find solutions. The Koshi consortium convener feels that ‘PSP has not only brought more clarity on the issues due to in-depth analysis but more importantly it has helped women to be actively associated with the struggle. One can also find a gradual change in men’s attitude towards women’. A total of 226 villages were part of the PSP process. About 697 people have been trained in the PSP methodology in the region. While intensive work of the consortium is in 8 districts there has been a lot of awareness and interest in the remaining three districts also. There are six fellows (3 men and 3 women) in the consortium working intensively in 30 villages. Besides these 30 villages, another 37 villages in the neighbourhood are also motivated and take active part in the programme.

 

Five Fellows took up the responsibility and finished the work, which enabled the Koshi Consortium to carry out its post PSP activities.

 

STRATEGIC THRUST

1.   Restoration of Basic and primary education;

2.   Right to work and equal wages;

3.   People’s Empowerment and self reliance;

4.   Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources for environmental balance;

5.   Protection of Cultural Heritage and

6.   Gender equality with focus on women’s participation in decision making at every level.

 

AREA OF OPERATION

 

DISTRICTS

FELLOWS

VILLAGES

TOTAL

INTENSIVE WORK

CONTACTS

INTENSIVE WORK

CONTACT

6

2

3

30

37

67

 

Interventions, Impact and Issues

–        Gram samiti in 67 villages, zilla samitis are formed in all the 8 districts and there is a kendriya samiti.

–        Equal opportunity and space given to women and men in all the programmes and samitis.

–        As part of IRN, there is a broad based people’s movement being built against construction of large dams.

–        Coordinated efforts and support at all levels among the three consortiums in the State i.e. Koshi, Gandak and Ganga.

–        People in the 67 villages are organised and grassroots advocacy work is well established in the region.

–        Anti liquor campaign being taken up actively by women.

–        50 women SHGs formed.

–        Wall writing, padyatras, rallies organised regularly to highlight issues.

–        Nursery raising and tree plantation taken up extensively to check soil erosion. So far 1500 trees have been planted.

–        The village communities in three villages run three schools and one basic education school.

–        100 meters road laid by villagers of Babuan through shramdan.

–        Periodical publication of posters, pamphlets etc. highlighting the issues of the region.

–        Regular contribution to the SJ- Bihar newsletter Swaraj patra.

–        Participation in government programmes like pulse polio.

–        Periodical training programmes organised for fellows, volunteers and various samiti members on PSP and other relevant topics.

–        Panchayats and gram sabhas are the focal areas for development. Awareness building on the rights and responsibilities of the gram sabha, educating the people on electing the right candidates in panchayat elections, motivating women to contest elections etc.

–        Self- analysis is taken up annually with the active involvement and participation of all stakeholders- villagers, fellows, representatives of organisations etc.

–        There is a need to identify, establish contact and network with similar groups in Nepal.

Ganga Consortium

GANGA CONSORTIUM

Swaraj National Convenor Mr. Kumar Kalanand Mani deliberating his views in 4th annual convention of Ganga Consortium in Bihar.

Ganga Consortium working for environmental balance and retention of natural resources in hands of the village community through the gram sabha is active in Bhagalpur and Banka Districts of Bihar on the banks of the river. Till the end of the II-phase, the issues in the Ganga region were being addressed through programmes within the framework of Swaraj Bihar. But taking into consideration the nature of the work and the activeness of the colleagues there, it was decided to give it an independent status. Therefore, in the III-phase the Ganga region was recognised as a separate programme area. Provisions were made for additional fellows to work in this area. The Ganga Consortium was formally constituted in January 2000.

The PSP process was carried out in the Ganga region as part of the Bihar state unit. It was undertaken in 160 villages located in 17 clusters. 11 organisations, institutions and fellows assisted in the PSP process. However, many of the organisations and individuals actively involved with the issues in the region since its inception left the consortium for various reasons.  Therefore the entire process in the region had to be reactivated. Village and cluster committees had to be strengthened and reconstituted in some places. It was decided to hold regular meetings and workshops at the cluster and village level and evolve working plans based on the VMRSP.

At present 6 fellows are working in the consortium. The work is confined to 7 clusters. Out of the total 60 villages being covered in the region, intensive work is carried out in 30 villages of the fellows and the remaining 30 are contact villages. Besides the problems faced by the community in the region due to floods, displacement, and environmental degradation other relevant issues such as lack of education, poor health and sickness, rights and provisions under the new panchayat rule, gender equality and women’s empowerment are being taken up.

From the PSP processes, the following Strategic Thrusts were derived: –

STRATEGIC THRUSTS

1.   Campaign to oppose the New Economic Policy and the pressures in this regard by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Multi-National Agencies;

2.   Empowering the people for Self-Rule;

3.   Strengthening the capabilities of women, adivasis, dalits and minorities to enable to grasp and implement self-processes;

4.   Empowering women to attain gender equality;

5.   Communal harmony and

6.   Re-establishing rich cultural traditions

 

AREA OF OPERATION

DISTRICTS CLUSTERS FELLOWS VILLAGES CONTACT VILLAGES TOTAL
2 5 5 25 35 60

 

INTERVENTIONS, IMPACT AND ISSUES

–    60 SHGs formed.

–    Gram samiti constituted in 60 villages.

–    Vriksha Mitra Samitis formed to protect the existing trees and plant new ones. More than 4000 fruit bearing and fuel wood trees have been planted.

–    Nursery raising taken up in collaboration with the forest department.

–    The fellows with the active participation of youth groups, SHG members, village panchayats and school students have taken up a campaign to eliminate mosquitoes and flies – machchhar makkhi maro abhiyan. This has increased awareness levels and improved the general hygiene in the villages.

–    Periodical training and workshops organised for women on various issues such as the aim and purpose of forming SHGs, accounts keeping, rights of women, government schemes/ programmes for women etc.

–    Capacitation programme for fellows, cluster level and village committee members etc.

–    300 tussar producing farmers are trained in silk production and organised.

–    Awareness on PRIs increased due to regular meetings and workshops.

–    Due to organised efforts by the local community the local NTPC unit now treats effluents before releasing them in to the river. This has reduced water pollution to an extent.

Gandak Consortium

GANDAK CONSORTIUM

Shramdan

Gandak is one of the major rivers of North Bihar, which originates in Nepal and traverses through parts of North Bihar and Uttar Pradesh before merging into the Ganges. Another river called Budhi Gandak also flows in this region and floods about 8.21 hectares of land annually. Floods are common during monsoons every year and the Gandak and Budhi Gandak cause extensive damage in more than 8 districts in the region. In terms of disaster and damage caused due to floods, Gandak ranks third after Ganga and Koshi.

The Gandak consortium was constituted in the year 1997. A group of activists, institutions, people’s organisations and individuals who were inspired by the efforts of the Koshi consortium and Swaraj came together and decided to address the issues in the Gandak region. The work of the consortium extends to six districts in the region.  The formation of the consortium bringing together various stakeholders and organising of workshops, meetings and discussions brought forth a number of issues. But the group was still struggling to find a structure and framework in which to take the process and movement forward.

The PSP process gave a sense of direction and enabled the consortium to strategise issues and evolve the vision and mission. After intensive training of the fellows and representatives from various organisations, the process was taken to 142 villages. These villages were selected based on the number of dalit and other backward communities, lack of any development programs or schemes and the population (between 500-1000). Village committees were constituted and two volunteers (one male and one female) were selected from each village. The village volunteers and fellows together conducted the PSP in which 427 people from 6 districts participated.  During this process the issues relating to social, political, cultural, environment and financial aspects were discussed. After an in depth analysis, strategic issues and thrust areas were identified.  The VMRSP was also formulated during this process. The Gandak consortium structure form the village, district to the central level with the formation of committees at various levels was finalised.

There are 8 fellows associated with the consortium and they work in 40 villages intensively spread across 6 districts. Another 102 villages are also in contact with the consortium and the process.

STRATEGIC THRUST

1.   Restoration of basic and primary education,

2.   Right to work and equal wages,

3.   People’s empowerment and self reliance,

4.   Protection and Conservation of natural resources for environmental balance,

5.   Protection of cultural heritage and

6.   Gender Equality with focus on women’s participation in decision making at every level

 

AREA OF OPERATION

DISTRICT

FELLOWS

CONTEXT VILLAGES

CONTACT VILLAGES

TOTAL

4

4

20

122

142

 

INTERVENTIONS, IMPACT AND ISSUES

–        40 women SHGs have been formed.

–        The villagers raise nurseries and sapling of various species locally. Over 2000 trees have been planted so far.

–        Consortium structure well established and functioning at Gram, Zilla and Kendriya levels.   Gram samitis are constituted in all the 142 villages (40 + 102 contact villages).

–        Women representation 50% in all the samitis.

–        In all the 142 villages, efforts are in progress to form Gram Koshs to inculcate habit of small savings among villagers. Grain banks are also being revived in most places.

–        5 Swaraj Adhyayan Kendra (study centres) set up.

–        Significant local contribution in all programmes.

–        Gram sabhas are being revived. 5 already reconstituted.

–        Wages of women has increased in one village due to concerted efforts by the villagers.

–        School buildings are being renovated through shramdan and contributions from the community. So far, 5 school buildings have been renovated.

–        The attendance of teachers and students has increased in most schools.

–        Organic and bio farming practices introduced among farmers through workshops and meetings.

–        PRIs are strengthened through regular meetings, discussions and providing information.

–        Training programmes organised for newly elected panchayat members.

–        Women and dalits are encouraged to take an active role in PRIs.

–        Creating and strengthening grassroots advocacy and pressure groups to address issues and force the state administration to take positive action.

–        Networking with other like-minded institutions, organisations and individuals for wider impact.

–        Pockets of the operational area are naxalite infested. This creates problems as the naxalites are averse to mobilising and organising by other agencies as it is perceived as a threat to their influence and hold.

–        Subtle and indirect efforts by vested interest in the community to fragment the people’s movement.

–        Limited resources (financial and human) hinder expansion and creating impact on a large scale.

Bihar Consortium

Bihar is the worst flood affected state in the entire country. According to a state government report, 37% of the total geographical area of the state is flood prone. North Bihar is especially vulnerable to floods with as much as 76% of the region coming under the influence of floods. This phenomenon has aggravated largely due to building of large dams, barrages, canals etc. on the rivers without giving due consideration to the natural flow of the river and ecology. The lopsided development policies and poor planning has contributed to large scale destruction and damage to the lives of the people living in the vicinity of these rivers adversely affecting their livelihoods and surroundings.  The three major rivers Ganga, Koshi and Gandak together are the major source of devastation and destruction caused due to floods every year.  Swaraj has initiated three consortiums in the state (Ganga Koshi and Gandak) to organise and strengthen people’s movements and create pressure on the government to address issues in the region.

 

Gender and Womens Development

GENDER AND WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT

Swaraj since its inception has strived towards equal participation and representation of women at all levels. However, it became evident that in practice this was more difficult and women did not come forward and participate as much as expected. Women face many constraints due to tradition and culture. Like most parts of the country, many areas where Swaraj is active, are highly conservative and male dominated societies. Women’s domain has been largely restricted to the domestic sphere.

The Nar Nari Samata Samiti – a Gender Sensitisation Cell came into existence after the first National Convention of the Swaraj Forum held at Mauda in Behrampur District of Orissa in 1999.

The decision to set up the Samiti followed the adoption of the philosophy by Swaraj Forum that women should have equal opportunities in the Swaraj Fellowship and as a first step and equal representation to women in Swaraj Committees and Activities.

The kind of work that Swaraj is engaged in (movement based work), it is even more difficult for women to participate actively. The attitude and mindsets of women as much as men needs to be changed so that they can play an active role in the entire process. This is a time-consuming process requiring a great deal of effort to evoke interest and build confidence of the women. To a certain extent the PSP process has provided opportunities for women to share and express their ideas on various issues affecting them, their families and the community. Separate PSP programmes for women have also been organised so that they can contribute to the process.

STRATEGIC THRUST

To enhance and strengthen the women leadership through Fellowship programme and to give equal representation to women in Swaraj Committees and Activities.

 

 

OPERATIONAL AREA

STATE

CAMPAIGN

NATIONAL

CO-ORDINATOR

FELLOWS

7

5

4

1

1

 

 

STATE                 : Kerala, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Goa.

CAMPAIGN        : Koshi, Gandak, Ganga, Damodar and Periyar.

PROGRAMME   : Panchayati Raj, IRN & National Promotion and NNSS.

 

NAR NARI SAMATA SAMITI – A forum for equality of men and women

The Nar Nari Samata Samiti (NNSS) was constituted as a national forum with the aim to bring in more number of women at all levels- villages to the national level. It was also felt that the capacities and skills of these women should be strengthened so that they can play an active role. The first meeting of the samiti was held in December 1999. Although the samiti was supposed to cover all the state units of Swaraj, due to practical constraints such as language, coordination, geographical spread etc. it is now more active as a regional forum covering the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa. NNSS had a setback when one of the fellows from Bihar who was very active in the forum had to leave because of family pressure.

Interestingly, to start with it was an all women’s forum (women fellows). However, it was decided to include men and by September 2001 the committee was reconstituted. At present the committee has 10 members- 2 women fellows each from the state of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, state coordinators of the three states and the regional coordinator. NNSS has a small budget and although the states have the freedom to make available funds for programmes of NNSS, in practice this has not been easy as the state budgets are meagre and is barely sufficient to carry out existing programmes. The following are the programmes taken up by the NNSS so far.

INITIATIVES

–        A three-day gender workshop in the three regions (East, west and south) covering all the 7 states was taken up. However, only women fellows and committee members participated in the programme.

–        A one-day national convention as a follow up to the three regional workshops was organised at the end of January, 2001in Kerala.

–        A four days gender workshop for women and men (fellows) from the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa organised this year.

–        A similar programme was taken up for the fellows of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

–        Although there is no stated gender policy in Swaraj, there has been a conscious decision to involve and provide equal opportunities for women from the beginning.

–        It is important to change men’s attitude. Men should share household chores so that women have the time to participate in other outside activities.

–        To empower women, ‘men have to be less men. Instead of equality, it should be a more practical and flexible approach. There has to be a pro-women attitude’.

–        Men have to be included in gender training programmes.

A women participants presenting group work during NNSS workshop.

–        Women’s groups are necessary to nurture and build solidarity among women.

–        The structure of most organisations is male oriented. The structure has to be more feminine to make it a more humane organisation that provides space for both women and men. This applies to Swaraj too.

–        The long and irregular working hours and travel are some of the issues that come in the way of women’s induction.

–        Many competent women fellows have left after marriage.

–        We have not interacted with the families of the women fellows while recruiting them. Interacting and discussing the programme with them may encourage more women to come forward.

–        The attitude of some of the male colleagues in Swaraj has also been one of the reasons for the women leaving. We have not done enough to see that women do not leave.

–        Many women are also not too keen to leave their homes and participate in the public sphere.

–        There is more expectation from women colleagues and they are often overburdened with responsibilities.

–        Many women had come forward during the PSP process. But when it came to selection of fellows, women were marginalized.

–        Women are vulnerable and there is a feeling of insecurity both among women and men when women are around.

–        In a state like Kerala that boasts of high women literacy levels and employment, we have no women representatives at the state and national level.

–        Although in most of the state, district and village committees in the state units and consortiums women’s representation is 50%, they face many constraints both at the personal and organisational level. This is quite understandable because of the backgrounds these women come from and it is a long drawn process and involves changing the mindsets and attitudes of women and men. Even so, within this short period there are many encouraging signs and small beginnings made. Ms Tara Kranti, one of the district committee members from the state of Jharkhand shared her experience. ‘I come from a small village and a traditional background. It was during the PSP process that I first came out of the house. I enjoyed the process but I was not very confident. Initially my husband used to accompany me to the meetings. Many people made fun of us but the coordinator Mr. Ghanshyam was very understanding and he never opposed my husband’s presence. He gave me time and space to grow and learn. Today, I am confident, my husband does not accompany me anymore. I attend and participate actively in all the meetings; I am also very active in my own village-helping other women to gain confidence. I have visited Kerala, Goa and Bihar. My family has been supportive, both my husband and mother-in-law support me completely; the fellows in Swaraj have helped me to realise my potential’.

–        At the community level, achieving gender equality requires more time because of the cultural and traditional practices prevalent in the society. Strategies and interventions have to be carefully planned.

–        In the 5 cluster villages of Swaraj, women and men have to be identified and trained on gender. They in turn can take the process forward in the community.

–        Binni while recounting her own experience says ‘after joining Swaraj I am able to express my views without fear or hesitation. I have had opportunities to learn and grow and my colleagues (both men and women) support and encourage me. I am able to plan, manage and take decisions on my own. Till last year, I was sharing responsibility of coordinating the state unit along with a male colleague of mine. I have become more confident now.’

–        NNSS has provided a window of opportunity for both women and men to understand gender issues. The initial workshop has provided a certain amount of conceptual clarity on gender to fellows in Swaraj. However, more gender training programmes have to be designed and organised at various levels.

–        It is important for Nar Nari Samata Samiti to cover all the states. There has been request from Kerala and Maharashtra to take up gender trainings.

–        The resource persons on gender within Swaraj should undergo further training on gender to gain deeper insights on concept, techniques etc.

Swaraj Vision

Swaraj is a forum of like-minded institutions and people who have deep convictions in the Gandhian ideology and approach. It is a people’s organisation with an aim to empower the local communities. The culture within Swaraj is in many ways humane, equitous and non-hierarchical.

As stated earlier, the structure and the vision, mission of Swaraj has been evolved with the participation and inputs from the communities. The following is the vision and mission of Swaraj.

OVERALL OBJECTIVE

}     To organise people for self-rule. So that they can take authentic decisions on socio-economic issues effecting their life and existence,

}     To re-establish community’s right on natural resources, particularly, on land, water and forest,

}     To ensure people’s access to means of productions for secure livelihood on sustainable basis and

}     To activate Gram Sabha (Village Assembly) for taking decisions on all matter related to community development.

 

VISION

In the given situation of growing fundamentalism, economic imperialism and increasing trend of cultural and environmental degradation we wish to intervene and stop to further detonation and the other hand, we aspire for a society, which will be based on Gandhian ideology and certain humanitarian values. For the restoration of peace and communal harmony, and harmony with the nature.

Economically, people will be self reliant on the basic needs and amenities for a happy and comfortable living.

People will be free from the clutches of debt, exploitation and alcoholism.

Politically, people will be self-ruled. There will be decentralisation of power and resources. And, there will be democratic system, structure and policies. There will be real participation in decision-making process by both men and women.

The people will feel proud of and take care of their unique cultural heritage and healthy traditions. But, the superstitions and blind belief must go away. There will be unity amidst diversity.

THE MISSION

“SWARAJ”, a forum for Gandhian Societal Perspective and Action Programme comprising National “SWARAJ” and seven state units which also consists of various VOs, NGOs, People’s Movements, action Groups and like minded individuals.

Working among and with marginalised sections of the Community, particularly among Adivasis, women and other vulnerable groups in eight states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Goa.

We want to ensure self-rule of the Community to re-establish its rights and access on natural resources and other means of production for sound and sustainable development.

We want to realise transformation in all spheres of life namely, Social, Political, Economic, Cultural and Environmental with special emphasis to promote gender equality, societal peace and free from alcoholism and prevent cultural deterioration in the next 20 years.

We also strive to be liberated from the influence of internal and external exploitative forces operating in the society through NEP, WB, WTO and MNCs.

VALUES

Truth – Truth will be guiding principle in every aspect of life and work of partners of “SWARAJ”.

Participation/Co-operation– Participation of people, particularly, that of the poor, marginalised, women will be ensured in decision-making processes and in all phases of societal analysis, planning, monitoring and evaluation of their own development processes.

Self-reliance- emphasis will be given to attain self-reliance in fulfilling the basic needs. There would be inter-dependency among neighbouring villages.

Faith in People’s Wisdom– We have faith in people’s wisdom and go prepared to the community to learn from them and work with them, based upon their knowledge and skill.

Love for life– Love should be the cementing factor with caring and sharing, and nurturing all forms of life and the eco-system.

Democracy– Democracy is a life-style and no just elections. It goes with other values such as Justice (Social, Political and Economic) and Equality (equal opportunity to all, with priorities and incentives to the socio-politically and economically marginalised)

Fraternity- Brotherhood/Sisterhood among all sections of women and men will be reflected.

Transparency- all concerned and partners will be made aware of all aspects plan, activities, resource mobilisation and its proper utilisation.

All these must thought over and practise in all cases. The Vision, Mission, Role, Strategy and Programme will be value-congruent.

THE STRATEGIC THRUSTS

1.       Work for self rule to establish the right of adivasis, dalit, women, and other marginalized and vulnerable section of the community on the natural resources and other means of production for sound and sustainable development through decision making process through gram sabha

2.       Social transformation towards gender equality and restoration of cultural heritage and work against fundamentalism and alcoholism,

3.       Raising voice against onslaught of NEP and dominant like WB, IMF, WTO, TNCs, and struggle against anti people policy.

4.       Capacitation of associates of “SWARAJ”

THE ROLE

1.                   Animator

2.                   Lobby And Advocacy

3.                   Facilitator And Capacitator

4.                   Organiser/ Co-Ordinator/ Net-worker

5.                   Documenter, Evaluator and

6.                   Implementer

STRATEGY-

Capacity Building Strategy- This is for activating and capacitating the People’s Organisations;

Participatory Approach- This is for ensuring peoples participation in decision-making process and co-operation for transformation;

Strategy towards Self-governance, Self determination- This is to struggle for self-rule, power to Gram Sabha, Rights on Common Property Resources;

Strategy towards Gender Equality- Focusing gender equality in all levels of community, in the structure of organisations and in the culture and practice of the associates, Fellows of SWARAJ.  

All these general strategies should be kept in mind and these must be reflected in all thrust, programmes and activities

 

PROGRAMMES:

Following are the focus area / programmes as per the Strategic Thrusts in the present context: –

Local Self-Governance;

National Resource Management including River Linking;

Societal Peace;

Gender Equality/Women’s Empowerment.

 

The main programmes / initiatives taken during PE & SD-II phase as per the strategic thrust in the state units and consortiums are shown in the following table (* For more information browse particular state and consortiums.) –

STRATEGIC THRUST

PROGRAMMES / INITIATIVES

BIHAR
1.       Strengthening peoples movement against man-made floods, big dam, displacement Publication on Swaraj Patra
2.       Struggle for self rule a.       Formation and strengthening of Gram Samiti + District committee

–                               Panchayati Raj – awareness about voting,

–                               To elect right candidate,

–                               To encourage women to take right part in Panchayat election,

–                               Empowering PR representative about role and right, 73 amendments.

–                               Publication- folder on PR- right, role, status etc. Seminar, Gosthi,

3.       Restoring moral and basic education –                               Revival of “Bunyadi Talim” – Buniyadi school,

–                               Establishment of Swaraj Adhyan

4.       Restoring eco-system Nadhi Bachao Bihar Banao Yatra & State level conference on River at Muzaffarpur.
5.       Empowerment of women, adivasi and dalit To encourage women to take right part in Panchayat election,
  a.       Capacitation of SJ – Fellows, volunteers at state level, (world ideology, Core value of Swaraj etc.),

b.       Convention

c.        Time to time consultation on current affairs, evaluation.

Women’s day, Environment day, Gandhi Jayanti, Independence Day etc
GUJARAT
1.       Motivating and capacitating the youth to work as catalyst for social change a.       Training programme for youths in rural development.

–                               Distribution of various educational and scientific kits to school children/youths for better understanding about basic education and to develop genuine scientific views.

–                               Developed issue based exhibition material distributed to VOs, NGO.

–                               Bal Sakhi

b.       Capacity building programmes – workshop for teachers of tomorrow capacitation workshop – revolutionary ideology, workshop on aspired society.

2.       Working for alternative sustainable development Technical consultation towards water management to the Govt. policy and with other like-minded organisation, rain water-harvesting programme and ground water recharging.
3.       Struggle against the system of exploitation, corruption, inequality and injustice.

a.       Kinara Bhachao Andolan- with NGOs against Maroli (Umbergaon) mega project.

b.       Earthquake – voluntary support, air rehabilitation work, consultation for designing low expensive houses for the victims, relief study etc

c.        Peace campaign (Maitri Abhiayan) after communal riot.

JHARKHAND
1.       Realisation of people’s right a.       Awareness either community on the right of the people,

b.       Govt. scheme privileged,

c.        Dharana against police atrocities and other local issues.

d.       Community level workshop on concept of Gram Swaraj

2.       Self rule for the right over land, water and forest for sustainable development. a.       Strengthening Gram Sabha

b.       Network and rapport development on adivasis issues, self-governance in Jharkhand.

c.        Community level capacity building efforts and generate awareness about Jharkhand PR Act 2001 and National PR Act.

d.       Women’s workshop on PR

e.       Dharana against police atrocities and other local issues.

f.         Strengthening Save Damodar campaign

3.       Struggle against fundamentalism

4.       Action against alcoholism

5.       Campaign for economic literacy and alternative education. a.       Women SHG formed 20 (women) + 10 (male)

–                               Teenager girls personality development – to generate leadership quality in girl,

–                               Opportunity for potential development, women post PSP workshop

–                               Study – 4 school runs,

–                               2 study centre established, road building,

–                               Swaraj study centre – Hazaribagh and Dhanbad,

–                               PIL regarding Govt School, school for adivasis children

b.       Health awareness

c.        Agitation against globalisation, NEP, dams, relief activities, linkage with like-minded organisation

  –                               Thematic consultation

–                               Post PSP workshop

–                               State level Conferences

–                               Evaluation – meeting with fellows and committees

–                               Celebration of – women day Labours day, Gandhi Jayanti, Birsa Jayanti, etc

KERALA
1.                                           Socio, political and economic empowerment of the people ensuring gender equality and decentralisation of power and resources, involvement of people in panchayati raj institution, reduction of inequality in castes, work, wages and reduction in political violence, self reliance in food grain production of eco-friendly production and consumption pattern. a.       Awareness campaign on Panchayati Raj

–                               PSP workshop on Panchayati Raj and Globalisation

–                               Meeting at every level.

–                               Seminar on women employment, world women’s day celebration etc.

–                               Raised Women’s participation

–                               Committee formation at ward, Panchayat, and block level.

–                               Swaraj Mitram campaign

–                               Celebration of important days and events

–                               Entrepreneurship development programme for SHGs

 

b.       Strengthening PRIs,

–                               Leadership training

–                               Networking with Gandhian Group

2.                                           Action against alcoholism Alcoholism – (Idukki) awareness programme, rally, protest etc.
3.                                           Realisation of sustainable use of natural resources Natural resources – (medicinal plants and its uses)

–                               Herbal medicinal production training committee for herbal cultivation

–                               Debate and seminars on environmental protection.

–                               Supporting Periyar Programme

–                               Awareness about plastic free zone, digging rain pits

4.                                           Struggle against corruption, exploitation and the overriding influences of monopolies of MNCs. MNCs – Swadeshi Andolan, coconut water propaganda against coke, social marketing network,

–                               SHG formation

  Capacitation programme

–                               Worldview ideology

–                               State Convention

–                               Workshop on Western Ghats development projects

–                               Development of various formats to evaluate fellow’s work and committee’s work.

MAHARASHTRA
1.       To struggle for self rule to re-establish the right of adivasis and other rural communities on natural resources, which are common property belonging to the community
2.       To struggle for the a.m. resources for productive purpose in a sound and sustainable development through the decision making process of the gram sabha Strengthening gram sabha, Panchayati Raj awareness programme by organising workshops, encouraging dalit and women to take part in PR election.
3.       It will strive for social transformation towards gender equality and struggle for restoration of culture, heritage and work against fundamentalist and casteism. a.       SHG formation of women members and skill development training, legal assistance centre for divorcee women, awareness building on women and law. Restoration of harmonious relation between various communities,

b.       Women voice / agitation against illicit liquor sale.

4.       It will raise it voice against the onslaught of the NEP and the external forces like the WB, IMF, WTO, TNCs imposing the policy. a.       Farmer’s committee to get proper govt. facilities towards removal of agro purpose loan, availability of market / society.

–                               Promotion of organic farming

–                               Indigenous seed protection

b.       Making effort for employment guarantee for labours under various government schemes.

  a.       Farmer’s committee to get proper govt. facilities towards removal of agro purpose loan, availability of market / society.

–                               Promotion of organic farming

–                               Indigenous seed protection

ORISSA
1.       Struggle for right over land, water and forest and self rule, a.       Participation in PRI process (26 candidate were elected in last election).

–                               Training on gender sensitisation on PRI, TLP. Etc.-Palli Sabha – Gram Sabha.

b.       Land right movement (Patta: Land-ownership document) for the better implementation of land distribution to the landless by the govt.

–                               Forest protection committee – 23 villages

2.       Empowerment of women, adivasis and poor people, b.       SHG formed (91), skilled development for group savings and agricultural help from bank-

c.        SHG involved in tailoring, embroidery, making of leaf plate, eatable items cane work etc.

d.       Prevent school dropouts and absence of teachers by putting pressure by SHG.

e.       Awareness campaign against alcoholism –by women’s and youths (40 villages)

3.       Strengthening people’s organisation by legal literacy, literacy on NEP and sharing information. a.       Co-operative farming efforts

b.       Legal counselling for victim (women)

4.       Revival of indigenous craft and occupation. f.         Krishi Samiti in 27 villages (males and females)

g.       Farmers meeting, seed distribution, co-operating farming efforts

h.       Post cyclone relief and rehabilitation work in collaboration of Govt agencies

  Celebration of National events and days

TAMILNADU
1.       Struggle against alcoholism
2.       Working for literacy a.       Educational awareness programme for dalit leaders

b.       Schooling for librated child labourers

3.       Empowerment of women SHG formation specially within tribal people; Skill Trg. to the 45 SHG leaders.
4.       Struggle against Casteism and communalism a.       Reducing anti-Gandhian views / attitudes in dalit youths (certain groups)

b.       Awareness programme for eradication of untouchability

5.       Working for human right on land, water, health and basic facilities.  
  a.       Struggle for right and equal wages to the cashew labours – (Organiser, motivator and negotiator).

b.       Organising PSP workshop for more conceptual clarity; state level CBP, State convention,

NATIONAL
1.       Work for self rule to establish the right of adivasis, dalit, women, and other marginalized and vulnerable section of the community on the natural resources and other means of production for sound and sustainable development through decision making process through gram sabha a.       Facilitated the processes of the formation of committees from district National level as per the organisational structure adopted by Berhampur national conf. for the realisation of the Strategic Thrust,

b.       Strengthening Panchayati Raj program through workshop, policy intervention, voter education, networking activities,

c.        Publication of booklets and news letter on the issue of Panchayati raj – Self Rule,

d.       Working towards a model Act.

 

2.       Social transformation towards gender equality and restoration of cultural heritage and work against fundamentalism and alcoholism, a.       Strengthening Nar-Nari Samata Samiti (NNSS) to ensure qualitative and equal participation of women and positive cooperation from men colleagues at every level from village lever to national,

b.       Regional and state level workshop on Gender sensitisation,

c.        Workshop on the issues of fundamentalism,

d.       Peace Intervention in riot affected area of Gujarat and organised a national symposium,

e.       Formation of “ Forum for Secular and Peaceful India”.

 

f.         Raising voice against onslaught of NEP and dominant like WB, IMF, WTO, TNCs, and struggle against anti people policy. a.       Organised two national conferences on the theme of “ Population-poverty- and globalisation” and “ Towards Non-violent Total Revolution”,

b.       Monitor the work of 6 river consortiums,

c.        Workshop on Interlinking Rivers and its impact,

d.       Documentation on Interlinking Rivers,

e.       Organised “ Nadi Yatra” to highlight people’s right and possible privatisation of rivers and other water courses,

f.         Capacitation of fellows, facilitators and associates of “SWARAJ” –          Two days review consultation on the outcome of Berhampur conf. held at Juna Koba-Gujarat,

–          Participatory selection processes for fellowship,

–          15 days training camp for fellowship at national level in Nov.99,

–          State level series of consultations, workshops for fellows and coordinators in between Nov.99 to June 01,

–          Workshop on Gender  (Jointly with Gujarat & Maharashtra held at Juna Koba in Jan 01, and for Northern states at Madhupur,

–          National TOT at Goa in Mar 01,

–          5 days national workshop to design the Capacity Building Program (CBP) held at Tata Nagar in July 01,

–          I National CBP on  “Revolution and Ideology, Concept, Methodology” held at Juna Koba in Nov. 01,

–          II National CBP on “ Gandhian worldview” held at PIPAR, Orissa in Feb.02,

–          Regional Workshop on Gender Discrimination and Way forward held at Abhayapur, Orissa in April 02,

–          III National CBP held on “ Core Values of SWARAJ” held at Ranchi in May 02,

–          National Consultation of Fellows organised at Ranchi in May 02,

–          8 days national training for fellows organised in Nov. 02

–          CBP re-planning meeting held at Kolkata

–          IV National CBP on “ Local Self-Governance” held in April 03,

–          Consultation on River Linking at Munnar (Kerala) May 2003

–          Training for Co-ordination at Munnar May 2003

–          CBP: Review & Perspective building of Swaraj 25-27 July 2003 In Orissa.

–          Fellowship 3rd National Taring camp, Goa 11 Nov. – 2 Dec.2003

 

CAMPAIGN / CONSORTIUM

The programmes as per the Strategic Trust in consortium are as follows-

 

KOSHI CONSORTIUM

STRATEGIC THRUST

PROGRAMMES / INITIATIVES

1.       Re-establishment of Moral and basic education –         Managing schooling for children in Madhepura district;

–         Managing PSP schools (Basmatia of Aarariya district), people managed three school and one basic school,

–         Parivartan Shikshan Kendra (PSK) fro sex worker’s children

2.       Work for all 50 women SHGs
3.       Pro-people politics and establishment of self-rule. a)    Village committee’s in 67 villages

b)    Awareness building on electing right candidate,

c)    Participation in voting, Motivating women to contest election

d)    Koshi Mitra Abhiyan.

4.       Eco balancing and development a.)   Frequent visit of flood affected area,

–     Padyatra for field study to create a conductive environment

–     Gandak Koshi Samwad Yatra.

–     Conference of flood affected people

–     Tree plantation

–     Media advocacy by news channels and newspaper, issues based general meeting covering whole Koshi area.

–     Natural farming training (June Saharsa)

5.       Promotion of indigenous culture Anti dowry and liquor agitation (Supaul, Katihar and Simri Bakhtiyarpur)
6.       Equal participation of women in the decision making process Organisational structure from village level to regional level with 50% presence of women.
 

a)    Capacity building of volunteers, fellows and Samitis by various training;

b)    Regional workshop – workshop on values, worldview and ideology; community level workshop

c)    Hundred m. road laid; Basmatia  – drainage + road.

d)    Digging of drainage, road (Basmatia); and 100 meters road laid by ‘shramdan’ (Karnpur)

GANDAK CONSORTIUM

1.       Restoration of basic and primary education,

Swaraj Adhyayan Kendra – 5 basic school, renovation (5 building renovated)

2.       Right to work and equal wages,

 

3.       People’s empowerment and self reliance,

a)    Concerned with Tharu and their rights and effect of tiger projects on their life equal wages for man and women agitation.

b)    Formation of Gram Kosh (W. Champaran)

c)    SHG formation

d)    Men and women employment workshop.

e)    PR- voters awareness, folders, pamphlets; workshop on self rule; Gram Sabha organisation; encouragement of women and dalits to take part in PRIs; workshop on PR rights and role.

4.       Protection and Conservation of natural resources for environmental balance,

–     Plantation – 3000 plantation

–     Organic and bio farming workshop and indigenous seed museum,

–     Padayatra (Gandak – Koshi Samwad Yatra), Cycle Yatra

–     Environmental day celebration,

–     Workshop on conservation of environment

5.       Protection of cultural heritage

6.       Gender Equality with focus on women’s participation in decision making at every level

GANGA CONSORTIUM  
1.       Raising voice against onslaught of NEP and dominant like WB, IMF, WTO, TNCs, MNCs and struggle against anti people policy. Awareness campaign- stake of globalisations and MNCs at community level
2.       Empowerment of women, dalit and minority through the self rule a)    Formation of Gram Samiti in 60 villages, Yuva Mandal,

b)    Voters awareness (PRI)

c)    Formation of 60 SHG,

d)    Workshops regarding govt. schemes,

e)    Training farmers for silk production, Meeting organised by 25 VOs self reliance with DRDA

3.       Social transformation towards gender equality

4.       Work for restoring communal harmony in the society

5.       Revival of the cultural and heritage.

  a)    Tree plantation – 4000,

b)    Machar – Makhi Maro Abhiyan,

c)    Agitation against water pollution made by NTPC by committees support, Village cleanliness, Agitation against water logging,

d)    Rehabilitation assistance to the flood victims.

e)    Conventions – Symposium,

DAMODAR CONSORTIUM  
1.       Realisation of people’s right a)    Awareness programmes like agriculture, marketing, chemical, fertilisation, privatisation of water etc.

b)    Highlighting pollution of Damodar river through various program.

2.       Self rule for the right over land, water and forest for sustainable development. a)    Equal participation (M/F) at every level

b)    Voter Education during Panchayat elections,

c)    Damodar Mela, seminar on Damodar movement,

d)    Cleaning programme especially water resources like plant, will etc. tree plantation, (indigenous varieties) in context villages, seed protection.

3.          Empowerment of women Women’s SHG formed
4.          Struggle against casteism and communalism Events for communal harmony
 

* Click Here for Main Features & Outcomes

 

THE ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

Swaraj- as a forum having a highly democratic organisational structure at community, State and National Level.

 

Context Village:

 

PO:

 

PDO:

 

Fellows:

 

Facilitator:

 

State Facilitator:

 

Consortium Advisory Committee:

 

Campaign Advisory Committee:

 

State Advisory Committee:

 

National Forum (NF):

 

National Team (NT):

 

National Executive Committee (NEU):

 

National Convenor (NC):

 

 

For diagrammatic detail click here

 
THE OPERATION AREA
STATE UNIT

ASSOCIATE UNIT

TOTAL DISTRICT

TOTAL FELLOWS

&

FACILITATOR

INTENSIVE WORK AREA

FOCUS AREAS

Kerala  

Periyar & Cheliyar Prog.

 

3

2

4 Fellows

3 Fellows

1 Facilitator

35 villages

&

River Basin area of Periyar and Cheliyar River

1.       Local Self-Governance,

2.       Peoples’ right over natural resources

3.       Gender Equality,

4.       Strengthening POs, PDOs, and self reliance of the village,

5.       Societal Peace

Tamil Nadu  

3

5 Fellows

1 Facilitator

20 villages

do

Orissa  

6

6 Fellows,

1 Facilitator,

35 Villages

do

Jharkhand  

Save Damodar Campaign

4

3

5 Fellows,

5 Fellows,

1 Facilitator,

25 Villages

25 Villages

do

Bihar Koshi Consortium

Gandak   ,,

Ganga     ,,

4

3

4

4 Fellows

5 Fellows,

5 Fellows

1 Facilitator

20 Villages & River

25 Villages & River

25 Villages & River

do

Maharashtra  

2

2 Fellows 10 Villages

do

Goa  

2

1 Facilitator   1, 2, 3 and 5
National Campaign  

     
Panchayati Raj Western India Forum for Panchayati Raj

    Strengthening Local Self-Governance,
NNSS  

1 Facilitator   Ensuring processes towards gender equality in Forum and Community
IRN  

1 Facilitator   Networking with Consortiums & States on People’s right of Natural Resources
Capacitation  

1 Facilitator   Capacity building of fellows, facilitators, national team and capacity team,
National Promotion  

1 NEU Coordinator

1 Documenter

  Thematic Interventions,

Publication,

Conference & Symposium

Program Linkages

 

THE SUCCESS PARAMETERS:

The mission of the phase-II of PE SD project envisaged following outcomes at the end of the project period and reference to the success of it;

>        Enhanced capabilities of the fellows and leaders of the POs, PDOs and the key actors of the SWARAJ Forum,

>        Formation and active existence of at least 300 plus People’s Organisations,

>        Formation and active existence of at least 50 plus People’s Development Organisations,

>        Visible initiatives towards self-reliance of the village community especially poor,

>        Growth of understanding on and about core strategic issues mentioned in the proposal and strong initiatives to resolves it.

>        A hopeful and capable community of workers and people ready to work a better society of their own.