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Swaraj Tamil Nadu

The society in today’s Tamil Nadu has a prestigious place in Indian History and the nation’s Freedom Struggle. Chakravarti Rajagopalachri, Kamraj Nadar, M. G. Ramachandra and “Periyar” are among many of the leaders down the history has played vital roles in Nation Building.

Tamil Nadu was part of the erstwhile Madras Presidency, which during the colonial period included large areas of today’s Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. However, after the re-organisation of States on linguistic lines by law in 1956, it shed some areas and merged some areas within it. The latter included Kanyakumari, which had earlier been part of the erstwhile State of Travancore-Cochin.

In the beginning, the work of contacting activists and associates was undertaken in eleven districts of southern Tamil Nadu. Similar activity was also undertaken in Pondicherry, as the latter desired to work with the set up in Tamil Nadu. However, work could not start as sensitive general election campaign had begun in the state. After the elections were over, NGOs working for establishment of SJ-Tamil Nadu found the situation in two districts – Ramanad and Tuticorin – to be sensitive. Communal and caste tensions prevailed there.

Ms. Jayanti took the responsibility took the responsibility of Co-ordination of SJ-Tamil Nadu. The chapter decided to concentrate in three districts – Ramanad, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari. Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula. Here water of three seas – the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean meet. Here also is the Vivekanand Rock and the Memorial. However, in this area of southern Tamil Nadu, there were also communal and caste tensions. The activity of SJ-Tamil Nadu was to bring communal tension.

An activity will prove the point. As the activity proceeded villagers gathered around to end the discord and bring in harmony. The efforts began to gather fruit when women rallied around. One woman from Landai Village (four persons had died in the village due to communal conflicts) led the change over as she stepped out boldly to assist families dislocated by the tension. Activists of the Sucheta Kripalani Rural Development Centre particularly moved to give succour to the affected.

Besides this, SJ-Tamil Nadu was also concerned with the visible change in the cropping and rural employment pattern. The area under cash crop like cashew and rubber has been increasing with a decrease in the area under foodgrains such as paddy. Similarly, traditional non-agricultural productive activities such as manufacture if palm sugar and handicrafts have been declining. These are being replaced by modern agro-processing industry.

One associate of SJ-Tamil Nadu has been making interventions in this regard. It had studies the impact of such decline on women and on the question of child labour in these processing industrial units.

Cashew was brought to the Malabar Coast by the Portuguese and from there it spread to other parts of Southern India. It is called “Parangi” in the region, meaning “foreign nut” (akin to Firangi = foreign in Hindustani?). The cashew nut is rich in protein, carbohydrate and fat. It is nutritive and tasty. The Indian production is cheaper than the South American production (from where it has originated and brought to India by the Portuguese) and therefore is easily exportable. It is in great demand in Europe, Gulf Countries and Central Asia. This export is undertaken at the behest of exploitation of labour in India, particularly in South India, particularly of women and the female child.

The nature of Cashew nut processing industry is hazardous. In the first processing activity, that is, ROASTING, a bad smell is emitted from the boiler. The hapless women tolerate it. Then comes SHELLING. Women are exclusively given this work.  Shelling brings out a poisonous liquid. The shells have to be broken. All these result in formation of black areas on the skin. Added to this is the fact that in most cashew processing factories, the women have to squat on the floor from 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. with a very short break for lunch.

As per a case study, 95 per cent of the work force engaged in cashew nut processing are poor women. The female child also works in these processing factories. Many of them are below the age of 14 years but they are made to wear saris to show that they are adults, if an official visits the workplace. Men normally prefer to marry a working woman, which meant more income to the home. However, of late, it has been noticed that men do not want to marry a woman working in cashew nut processing factory. Most of the women suffer from Asthma, T. B. and some diseases of the uterus and back problems. There is no health care and the women just continue to work without any rights and facilities.

PSP Process in Tamilnadu

Swaraj Tamil Nadu: State Convention at Tirunelveli

The veteran Gandhian from the State, Mr. K. Viswanathan, inaugurated “SWARAJ” activities, ON May one 1999.

On 8th May 1999, a two-day Workshop on PSP was organised at the Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari for training 35 activists from three districts – Kanyakumari, Thirunelveli and Ramnad. These persons were capacitated to work as facilitators in their area of operation. An Action Plan was prepared to launch PSP in 100 villages. However due to paucity of time and some unexpected problems, the process could be undertaken in 57 villages. In these villages documentation was undertaken and the outcome was available. There is a demand for starting the PSP process in the remaining villages.

CRITICAL ISSUES: STRATEGIC ISSUES
1.       Unemployment

2.       Loss of Traditional Industry

3.       Exploitation of female labour in Cashew Nut Processing Industry

4.       Child Labour

5.       Landlessness

6.       Illiteracy

7.       Dowry

8.       Atrocities against Women

9.       Alcoholism

10.   Gender Inequality

11.   Health Problems

12.   Caste Discrimination

13.   Communal Tensions

1.       Caste Discrimination

2.       Communal Tension

3.       Exploitation of women and Child Labour

4.       Illiteracy

5.       Alcoholism

6.       Health Problems

7.       Atrocities against Women

 

 

STRATEGIC THRUST

1.       Struggle against alcoholism

2.       Working for literacy

3.       Empowerment of Women

4.       Struggle against Casteism and Communalism

5.       Working for Human Rights on Land, Work, Health and Basic Facilities

The programme in the state is in the districts of Tuticorin and Tirunelveli.  The PSP process could not be carried out in all the villages planned due to various problems. The programme has been revived since October last year. There are 7 fellows associated with Swaraj covering 35 villages. Two fellows have left and in their place 4 women fellows are recruited. While the village and district committees need to be strengthened in many places, they are yet to be formed in some places.  The state also does not have a coordinator- the Kerala state coordinator is also in charge Tamil Nadu.

AREA OF OPERATION

DISTRICTS FELLOWS VILLAGES CONTACT VILLAGES TOTAL
2 4 20 37 57

(Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Kanyakumari, Virudhunagar)

 

INTERVENTIONS, ISSUES AND IMPACT

–        Educational awareness programme for dalit leaders

–        Schooling for librated child labourers

–        SHG formation specially within tribal people; Skill Trg. to the 45 SHG leaders.

–        Reducing anti-Gandhian views / attitudes in dalit youths (certain groups)

–        Awareness programme for eradication of untouchability

–        Struggle for right and equal wages to the cashew labours – (Organiser, motivator and negotiator).

–        Organising PSP workshop for more conceptual clarity; state level CBP, State convention,

–        40 women SHGs formed.

–        3 youth groups formed.

–        30 children who have been working as child labourers are enrolled in schools.

–        Local caste conflicts hindering the process.

–        Mainstream NGOs are another concern.

Swaraj Kerala

SWARAJ – KERALA

 Keram means coconut in Malaya. Kerala is, of course, the land of coconut palms. A land full of coconut palms and deep green cover has many inland waterways called the backwaters. Thus, some call it the Venice of the East. Kerala is known for the highest literacy rate in India. Besides, the male/female ratio shows that it has best ratio too.

However, despite the best ratio between the male/female population and the highest rate of female literacy, the plight of the woman in Kerala has not changed. It is on the same level as the rest of the country. Women continue to be exploited, tortured, oppressed and deserted in Kerala. Reported cases of bride killing have been on the rise. In 1997 it was 37, in 1998 it was 53 and in 1999 it was 67.

There is propaganda of Panchayat Raj and People’s Planning in Kerala. Fascinating slogans like “Empowering the People”, “Gandhian Dream Come True”, “Gram Swaraj Established” etc. appear prominently. However, ground level reality if different. The common people know little or nothing about the Panchayat Raj Structures and of the Gram Sabha. In Kerala, the Gram Sabha, the core of the Panchayat Raj Institutions, could be about 1000 families of an average village, which has a population of about 5000.

For all practical purposes this is too large a body where participatory democracy is not possible. Besides, the members are not aware of their functions, rights and duties. Local community development is difficult. Further, political party leaders and bureaucrats generally dominate the Gram Sabha; thereby the opinion of the people is suppressed. Currently, Gram Sabhas generally function as “Rubber Stamps” of policies and programmes of Political Party Leaders and Bureaucrats. The common people ask for small for small benefits here and there at the meetings of the Gram Sabhas and these too are not adequately fulfilled.

Unemployment is the most critical issue in Kerala; particularly serious is the unemployment of the vast number of educated youth. The question of unemployment has become acute because of conversion of land cultivated for foodgrains – rice – into cash crop cultivation – spices, horticulture and rubber.

And then, agricultural land is being converted into non-agricultural – for industrial use. Besides, the present educational system is inadequate, as it does not promote dignity of labour. Large numbers of educated unemployed was hankering after white-collar jobs, which were not available in such large numbers. These educated unemployed persons did not want to be employed either in the booming construction industry in the state or work in the agricultural sector from where they came. In these sectors the work was usually carried out with labour from Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh.

The Kerala Swaraj started in 1997 during the first phase of the programme.  During this period, 3 regional meetings and one state level workshop were organised on – ‘Issues in the state and addressing these through Gandhian ideology’. The outcomes are published in the form of a book. During this period, youth camps were also organised in 10 districts. During the second phase, training on PSP was taken up at state, district, panchayat and community levels. 345 villages in 10 districts were covered under this process. During the current phase, the activities are focused in 8 districts. There are 7 fellows working in the state including the state coordinator and an accountant. However, only 4 districts have fellows. Although the fellows work under the 5-village concept, in most places they are covering entire panchayat, which has more than 5 villages. Save Idukki Campaign (SIC) is part of the IRN network and coordinated at the state level.

PSP Process in SJ-Kerala-

The PSP process started in Kerala with the State Level Introductory Workshop held at the Kumli Holiday Home in Iddukki District from 13th and 17th February 1998. Later, a workshop was conducted exclusively for women to get co-operation from women and to inculcate the concept of “SWARAJ” and PSP among the people. Forty-one women activists from different Mahila Samajams participated in the workshop. Seven selected persons from these workshops participated in the National Level Training for Facilitators held from 15th to 25th May 1998 and the National Level Workshop held from 27th to 30th May 1998. Four persons participated in the National PSP Refresher Course held in Goa from 25th July to 2nd August 1998. Thereafter, the State PSP Team was formed and Training Programmes were organised at district and regional levels to capacitate organisational level activists. The PSP Co-ordination Team prepared a State Action Plan. A total of 345 villages were covered. In this implementation process 44 organisations contributed substantially.

Issues Identified by SJ-Kerala-

 

CRITICAL ISSUES STRATEGIC ISSUES
1.      Alcoholism

2.      Atrocities against women

3.      Caste Discrimination.

4.      Decline in foodgrains crops

5.      Drugs

6.      Excessive use of Plastics

7.      Food Scarcity

8.      Gender Inequality

9.      Lack of Drinking Water

10.   Pollution

11.   Population Growth

12.   Tourism

13.   Unemployment

–    Alcoholism

–    Atrocities against Women

–    Community Health Problems

–    Corruption

–    Environmental Pollution

–    Lack of Awareness about Gram Sabhas

–    Unemployment

 

STRATEGIC THRUST

  1. Strengthening People’s Organisation to control over the Natural resources (Land, Water, and Forest) and to work continuously towards the sustainable development through gram sabha,
  2. Empowerment of Women to enhance their role in organisational processes enabling them to fight against all violence, inequality, injustice, exploitation and marginalisation due to LPG and Communal Fascism.
  3. Education and organisation of children and youth for Social Justice, Secularism and Sustainable Development and Societal Peace.
  4. Promotion of eco-friendly products through market networking of village products.
  5. Support People’s movement to face the challenges of NEP and domain forces like WB, IMF, WTO, and TNCs.
  6. Enabling Capacitation of fellows, facilitators and associates of SWARAJ Kerala at different levels.
  7. Study, Research and documentation to understand implications and innovative experiments in various sectors.

PROGRAMMES

–        Campaign Against Alcoholism

–        Campaign Against Corruption and Exploitation

–        Campaign Against Corruption and Exploitation

–        Campaign Against Dowry

–        Campaign Against Monopolies of MNCs and the Influence of Media

–        Capacitation and Skill Training Programme

–        Conscientisation of the People for Participation in Gram Sabhas

–        Conservation and Provision of Drinking Water

–        Literacy Programmes on the current economic policies and legal literacy and

–        Marketing Network for Rural Products

–        Promotion of Labour Intensive and Eco-friendly Production units in villages

–        Promotion of self-help groups

–        Protection of the Environment

–        Publication of News Bulletin

–        Study, Research, Documentation

 

AREA OF OPERATION

DISTRICT

FELLOWS

INTENSIVE WORK

CONTACT VILLAGES

TOTAL

6

6

30 villages in 12 Panchayats

315

345

 

INTERVENTIONS, ISSUES AND IMPACT

–         The Swaraj structure from the village to the state level is well established and functioning.

–         Women SHGs are formed at village level and they have been federated at panchayat level. 3 such federations are in place. Social marketing of essential goods taken up by these federations.

–         Entrepreneurship development programme organised for SHG members.

–         A strong network established at the state level with NGOs, Gandhian groups and others.

–         Support and participation in programmes of other issue-based groups (adivasis, human rights groups, dalits, bamboo workers etc.)

–         Introduction of alternate and holistic health practices in the community.

–         Environmental issues addressed through tree plantation, digging rain pits, encouraging plastic free zone etc.

–         Education and awareness building among children through basic education, personality development, camps etc.

–         Swaraj Mitram campaign to raise funds locally has been launched in August last year. The target was to raise at least Rs. 10,000 in a year; so far Rs. 2000 has been collected.

–         Quarterly news bulletin on issues and innovations/ experiments in the state published in the local language.

–         PSP text published in Malayalam.

–         Women are not there in the state and regional committees.

–         Workloads of fellows are high and the remuneration is very meager.

–         Report writing and documentation poor due to language. The report to the national office has to be sent in English.

–         Party politics is a growing threat.

Swaraj Maharashtra

SWARAJ- MAHARASHTRA

Maharashtra has long traditions of social reform movements and its literature abounds with support for such movements. The tradition goes back to the middle of the 20th Century, when saints like Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram brought religion to the common people, at a time when it was the bound within the exclusiveness of the upper caste Brahmins.

In the 19th Century, at a time when worldwide, the aggression of imperialism was reaching its zenith and India was subjugated to British Imperial Rule, other leaders then set in motion the reform movement which had a lasting affect and was one of the pillars of the Indian Freedom Movement. Leading lights in these regards, included Mahatma Phule, Chatrapati Sahu Maharaj, Justice Ranade and Babasaheb Ambedkar. Mahatma Gandhi was the National Leader of the Indian Freedom Movement but he did lead the Movement to a vast extent from this part of the country.

After Independence, the Marathi speaking state of Maharashtra was carved out of the bilingual Bombay State in 1960. The formation of the state did not mean that “All’s well!” The process of exploitation of the Bahujan (The Majority) comprising, Dalits, Adivasis, Women, Other Backward Classes, Nomadic Tribes and Minorities did not subside. As the years of Independence passed and the euphoria was over, exploitation and oppression again raised its head.

The Sugar Lobby comprising Cooperative Sugar Factories, an overwhelming majority of them in drought-prone talukas, had its stranglehold on the State’s economy, whichever the political party or grouping was in power. There was water for sugarcane; a crop that requires plenty of it the year round but it is in short supply for humans and animals. Nothing is worse, than in Central Maharashtra and Marathwada, which are in the Godavari Valley, from where it flows beyond into Andhra Pradesh till it empties into the Bay of Bengal.

The issues in the Valley are representative of the issues of State has. A factor to remember here is that the Godavari Valley has been treated as the backyard of the development processes in India.

The participants in a PSP workshop.

There are currently 18 voluntary organisations working in 200 villages in the region with whom SJ-Maharashtra is in constant touch. These organisations which its associates, have been in the field for the last more than five years. A few of them have been working for more than a decade.

Maharashtra joined the Swaraj process late and although many NGOs, people’s organisations, social action groups etc. working with dalits, women and other weaker sections showed interest and took part actively in the PSP process, the programmes did not take off. The process was revived in 2000 and the activities are centred in a few villages in Loha taluka of Nanded district. The focus is largely on dalits and women. There was only one fellow working in the region and since June this year one more fellow has joined.

PSP Process in SJ-Maharashtra

In these deteriorating socio-economic and political conditions, some activists in Maharashtra decided to involve themselves with the PSP Process early in 1999.

There was a PSP workshop at Fardapur near Aurangabad in Marathwada. Twenty representatives from various organisations took part in the Workshop. Another workshop was organised between 8th and 12th June 1999 at Malegaon in Nashik District. The third workshop was held at Biloli in Nanded District, just before the National Consolidation Workshop, that is, between 4th and 8th July 1999.

Following critical issues and Strategic Issues came out through PSP process based on the status of Dalits, Adivasis, Backward Classes, Women, Landless Labour, Minorities and those Below the Poverty Line, in the State.

CRITICAL ISSUES

STRATEGIC ISSUES

1.       Casteism.

2.       Communalism.

3.       Corruption.

4.       Poverty.

5.       Diminishing Cottage Industries.

6.       Drought.

7.       Pollution of water and environment.

8.       Reduction of Soil Fertility and excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

9.       Atrocities against Women.

10.    Deserted Women.

11.    Dowry.

12.    Oppression of Dalits and Minorities.

13.    Indebtedness, especially in the Rural Areas.

14.    Migration.

15.    Child Labour.

16.    Bonded Labour.

17.    Unemployment.

18.    Landlessness.

19.    Lack of Irrigation for Foodgrains Crops but Irrigation Facility for Sugarcane.

20.    Marketisation.

21.    Invasion of Western Culture.

22.    Lack of Common Property Resources.

23.    Rapid Degradation of Forests.

24.    Degradation of Adivasi Culture.

1.       Casteism

2.       Fundamentalism

3.       Communalism

4.       Corruption

5.       Poverty

6.       Diminishing Cottage and Handicraft Industries

7.       Water Pollution

8.       Drought

9.       Oppression of Women

10.    Child Labour

11.    Alcoholism

12.    Unemployment

13.    Illiteracy

14.    Migration,

15.    Caste Conflicts

16.    Degradation of the Environment

17.    Drinking Water Shortage

18.    Displacement

19.    Rehabilitation

20.    Globalisation

21.    Bonded Labour

22.    Marketisation

23.    Invasion of Western. Liberalisation

24.    Population

25.    Common Property Resources

26.    Forests

27.    Degradation of Adivasi Culture.

 

STRATEGIC THRUST

From the Strategic Issues, “SWARAJ” Maharashtra has decided to adopt the following Strategic Thrust in its future activities:

1.    To struggle for self-rule to re-establish the rights of adivasis and other rural communities on natural resources, which are Common Property Resources, belonging to the community;

2.    To struggle for the utilisation of these resources for productive purpose in a sound and sustainable development through the decision-making processes of Gram Sabhas;

3.    It will strive for social transformation towards Gender Equality and struggle for restoration of culture, heritage and work against fundamentalism and casteism;

4.    It will raise its voice against the onslaught of the New Economic Police and external forces like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation and Trans-National Corporations, imposing the policy.

AREA OF OPERATION

DISTRICTS FELLOWS INTENSIVE WORK VILLAGES CONTACT VILLAGES TOTAL
2 2 10 35 40

INTERVENTIONS ISSUES AND IMPACT

–        Strengthening gram sabha, Panchayati Raj awareness programme by organising workshops, encouraging dalit and women to take part in PR election.

–        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,

–        Women voice / agitation against illicit liquor sale.

–        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

–        Making effort for employment guarantee for labours under various government schemes.

–        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

–        8 women SHGs are formed.

–        5 youth groups formed.

–        200 rural labourers working under the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) from 15 villages have been organised for securing their rights and better wages.

–        Counselling and legal aid centre set up for destitute and deserted women. 53 cases have been solved so far.

–        Regular interaction and support for dalit members elected to the panchayats.

–        State committee is inactive at present.

Swaraj Orissa

ORISSA

Orissa as the English has named it, is properly named in India’s National Anthem as Utkal. It means advanced in art, crafts and sculptures. There are great number of such historical monuments having finest pieces of arts and architecture. It is evident that Utkal was once prosperous. The ancient export communities called “Saadhaba” were trading with spices and fine qualities of clothes, sarees in the erstwhile Java, Borneo, Sumatra, and Sri Lanka.

With the domination of British rule over India Utkala also lost its trade prosperity, traditional land use pattern and even its past name and fame.

Now it said to be one of the poorest provinces, although there is bountiful natural resources and huge stock of minerals and large number of working forces. This is the state of poverty amidst plenty. What could be the reasons of such reverse condition? One of the main reason, of course, could be lack of proper planning, lack of peoples participation in their own sustainable development and due to unscrupulous exploitation of both the nature and the people such a sorry state of affairs come into existence.

A Case of Unsustainable Agriculture & Landlessness

Based upon a study, through participatory process, in ten villages of coastal belt of Orissa. It is observed that 85% of villagers depend on agriculture. But 70 % of them have no land of their own. Those who have land, do cash crops like sugar. The exploitative agents of sugar mills also trap the sugar cane cultivators. In general, the farmers are not getting minimum reasonable prices for their crops. They have become indebted to Sahukars (Moneylenders) and commercial banks by getting loan to purchase fertilisers, pesticides and even seeds at higher rate. On the other hand the land requires heavier doses of such inorganic substances. Large number of work force goes to cities as contract labour called Dadan Shramik, most of who are exploited and tortured.

Issues

The people of southwestern Orissa including Kalahandi and Phulbani depend more on forest then agriculture. It has been observed that due to degradation of forest and depletion of minor forest produce the forest dwellers are starving. The anti-people forest policies are addicting to their suffering. Recent Supreme Court order to evacuate the people from the areas, which are declared has sanctuary, compels the inhabitants to be displaced from their own land. The Sagoda gram panchayat of Kalahandi is one of such example.

Though, there is vast area of forest and hills in northwestern Orissa, it not thought to have sanctuary there as there is plan to exploit the minerals. As per a study by social activists, 70 mining operations are undertaken in one tribal belt of Sundargarh district. Iron ore, Manganese and Bauxite are extracted from the depth up to 500 feet from earth. After the act of blasting and digging the iron ore, it is crushed in to small pieces. Most of these processes were done by daily wage labour employed by the mineworkers and contractors.

After completing some chemical processes the small pieces are transported to the still plants of Rourkela (Orissa), Jamshedpur (Bihar), Champa (MP), Nagpur (Maharashtra) etc. during these process a large amount of dust arsenic particle, chemicals are dumped into near by pounds, ditches, streams and even on private land. These left over waste materials externally harmful to all living being. It pollutes water, land, and air. It causes tuberculosis, asthma and skin disease.

More and more lands are leased out to the private exploiters of mineral without considering the environment and traditional agriculture. The profit – hankering mines owners and the conscienceless – contractors with nexus of the never satisfied bureaucrats’ unscrupulously are allowing the reckless cutting of forest. There is rule to do plantation on double the area of clearing of the forest for mining operation. But no body takes any step to comply with the rules and for forestation.

Due to extensive deforestation, particularly due to more destruction of Sal trees, the piping affect of the big Sal trees has been seized and consequently the ground water level has gone down and down. On the other hand, the surface water sources of ponds, steams are growing dry earlier before summer. Due to mining operation land, water, and forest are ruined which has adversely affected the traditional tribal life. Automation and mechanisation the wage labour more particularly the local women are loosing the jobs. Firstly, their traditional life and agriculture was ruined. Then they are kicked out of wage works. Now the local inhabitants have to face the violent actions done by the outsider labour, contractors, and exploiters.

Thus one can visualised that the people’s life both in coastal belt and that of tribal belt are adversely affected by present process of development.

 

SWARAJ-ORISSA

 

 

Meeting of Swaraj – Orissa fellows and co-ordinator with regional co-ordinator.

SWARAJ-Orissa formed on 2nd March 1997 in the state. Currently, Swaraj operates in seven districts covering 160 villages. The IRN- Orissa is also part of the state unit. (Details in IRN chapter). There are 7 partner organisations associated with the programme. The fund for the state programme is routed through Lok Bikash, a local NGO and one of the partner organisations of Swaraj. There are 7 fellows (3 women and 4 men) associated with the state programme including the coordinator. All the fellows have between 5-15 years of experience in development sector. All of them are also part of social action groups/ people’s movements etc.

PSP Process in SJ-Orissa-

At first five persons participated in Durgapur w/s. A state level w/s was held in Dhenkanal to introduce SWARAJ and PSP and to discuss about the New Economic Policy. Introductory PSP w/s was held at Mundigarh, in Kandhamal and 17 persons was selected who participated in National training of facilitators, and National w/s held at Goa in May 1998. Again fur persons from the state participated in National PSP refresher Course in July-August 1998. A five days National w/s on documentation was held at Sijuput where six persons from Orissa participated. Some systematic guideline were with formats were developed soon after the this National w/s a state level planning meeting was organised, where an action plan was chalked out to carry on intensive and extensive capacitation programme in eight districts. Two teams of eight PSP Facilitators distributed their task to cover all these districts and to conduct PSP w/s for 64 activists of 16 organisations. These 64 facilitators from 16 organisation capacitated the village / community level facilitators.

After the initial training of fellows in the PSP process, the same was carried to the villages. A large number of villagers were trained as community level facilitators. The PSP process was adapted in the villages using local media such as street plays, folk songs, games, pictures etc.

CRITICAL ISSUES STRATEGIC ISSUES
1.       Degradation of agriculture failed

2.       Lack of irrigation

3.       Drought

4.       Lack of cottage Industries

5.       Unemployment

6.       Degradation of forest

7.       Big dam

8.       Sanctuary and displacement

9.       Pollution of land, water, air due to mines

10.    Detonation of traditional culture

11.    Dowry

12.    Atrocities amongst women

13.    Child labour

14.    Malaria

15.    High Infant Mortality Rate, Mother Mortality rate and health problems

16.    Shortage of drinking Water

 

1.      Degradation of Agricultural field

2.      Lack of cottage industries

3.      Unemployment

4.      Displacement due to project like dams, mines, sanctuaries etc.

5.      Health problems

6.      Gender disparity

 

STRATEGIC TRUST

1.  Struggle for right over land, water, forest and self-rule,

2.  Empowerment of women, adivasis and poor people,

3.  Strengthening people’s organisation by legal literacy, literacy on NEP and sharing information.

4.  Revival of indigenous craft and occupation.

AREA OF OPERATION

Currently, the number of villages covered by the 7 fellows is 35 but the spread effect and contact is in a total of 160 villages in the State. Besides, under Indian River Network activities have been undertaken in 10 villages. With constant supervision and guidance from the National Support Team, particularly the National Coordinator, a number of initiatives have been taken up in different fields.

DISTRICT FELLOWS INTENSIVE WORK VILLAGE CONTACT TOTAL

6

6

30

130

160

 

INTERVENTIONS, ISSUES AND IMPACT

 

According to the state coordinator during the past two and a half years, there has been a visible impact in the social, political and cultural spheres of the community. However in the economic aspects there has only been a very marginal improvement, as the focus of Swaraj is not on this.

–        Local contribution from the community (cash and kind) for programmes and activities of Swaraj is around 60%.

–        Cadre building at the community level and enhancing their capacities is an ongoing process.

–        Total number of SHGs formed 91. Some SHGs have been linked with banks for agricultural activities. Training on group savings, skill up gradation and IGP to SHG members.

–        SHG members engaged in various IGP such as tailoring, embroidery, rice processing, leaf plate making, badi and papad, bamboo and cane work, etc.

–        27 youth groups have been organised.

–        Forest protection committees are initiated in 23 villages. Women’s involvement is high in these committees.

–        Gram Kosh initiated in 42 villages.

–        26 (including women and men) people from the operational villages have been elected to the PRI during the last elections.

–        Campaign against alcoholism is taken up in 40 villages with the active participation of women and youth.

–        Krishi Samitis having both women and men as members have been formed in 27 villages.

–        Participation in government programmes namely pulse polio, leprosy eradication, blindness control, immunisation, total literacy campaign, watershed development, etc.

–        Awareness and information provided to the community on natural hazards like sunstroke, cyclone, floods, etc. during meetings, workshops etc.

–        Addressing the issue of school dropouts and the importance of education by motivating parents to send their children to school.

–        Ensuring regular attendance of teachers in schools through creating pressure groups by SHGs and youth groups.

–        Survey on child labour undertaken.

–        Land right movement (get patta for landless) – Though the Government has taken various initiatives to distribute land to the landless it is not successfully implemented. Campaigns organised by the partners to get patta.

–        Movement to get right wages for mine workers – mine workers have never got their due wages. Partners have organised them and protested in demand of actual wage for them.

–        Awareness camps on social issues- health, environment, legal counselling, socio-political rights and movement against exploitation.

–        Active participation in relief and rehabilitation in collaboration with government agencies, donors and other local NGOs after the October 1999 super cyclone.

–        There have been instances when the volunteers from the community leave and the process of identifying and training new volunteers takes a long time.

–        The community has been contributing in all Swaraj programmes and activities. The village level programmes are usually organised with 100% contribution from the community. Besides giving their time and presence, the villagers arrange for food, accommodation and at times even money. However, in recent times there is a slight reluctance on the part of the community to contribute. As most of them come from very poor backgrounds, it is unfair to expect so much from them.

–        There are no funds available from Swaraj to organise capacity and skill building programmes at the community level. This is one of the core areas of Swaraj but lack of resources has proved to be a problem.

–        The presence of NGOs with substantial resources operating in the neighbourhood creates expectations among the community. At times it becomes very difficult to convince the community that Swaraj’s approach is a long-term, sustainable and empowering process. It is a serious challenge.

Swaraj Jharkhand

SWARAJ- JHARKHAND

Jharkhand became a full-fledged state in November 2000. There has been a long and sustained struggle for statehood for many years in the region. There are many activists, people’s organisations and social action groups in most of the districts in the state. Many of these organisations, activists, social action groups and individuals came together and formed Swaraj in 1998.

Judav is the partner organisation through which funds are routed to the state. There are 6 fellows working in the state unit and 3 in the Damodar consortium (located in the state). All the fellows have been actively associated with mass movements and the Jharkhand struggle for statehood. The JP movement has also inspired many of them.

PSP Processes in Jharkhand

Activists and Jharkhand have been organising themselves and struggling for Self-Rule and their rights over water, forests and land. It appeared that the Jharkhand Struggle and PSP are based on similar values of humanity and rights of the poor. In fact, PSP is enhancing the capacity of the people and is helping leadership for the struggle for self-rule and that of women to emerge. Hence SJ-Jharkhand adopted PSP.

Eleven organisations working in seven districts participated in the PSP process. In two training programmes 17 facilitators of these organisations capacitated 114 village level facilitators. Eighteen of them were women. The PSP process was undertaken in 48 villages comprising 2,500 families. The following issues were identified by the PS process-

CRITICAL ISSUES STRATEGIC ISSUES

1.       Alcoholism

2.       Child Labour

3.       Deforestation

4.       Displacement

5.       Drought

6.       Lack of Cottage Industries

7.       Lack of Drinking Water

8.       Lack of Herbal Medicine

9.       Lack of self-rule

10.   Migration

11.   New Economic Policy

12.   Poverty

13.   River Pollution

14.   Shortage of Traditional Seeds

15.   Witchcraft

16.   Alcoholism

17.   Cultural Deterioration

18.   Deforestation

19.   Displacement

20.   Fundamentalism

21.   Gender Issues

22.   Lack of Cottage Industry

23.   Lack of self-rule

24.   New Economic Policy

25.   Poverty

26.   River Pollution

STRATEGIC THRUST

1.       Realisation of People’s Rights

2.       Self-Rule for the rights over land, water and forests for sustainable development.

3.       Promotion of Gender Equality.

4.       Struggles Against Fundamentalism.

5.       Action against Alcoholism.

6.       Campaign for Economic Literacy and alternative Education.

 

AREA OF OPERATION

DISTRICTS

FELLOWS

GRAM PANCHAYAT

INTENSIVE WORK VILLAGE

CONTACT VILLAGES

TOTAL

4

6

4

20

28

48

 

The villages are as follows: –

Deoghar District: –     Jaria Tand, Bakulia, Dalaha, Singho and Naiyadih. –

Gram Panchayat – Patwabad

Giridih District: –        Bijalibathan, Khutabandh, Barasoli, Dogbapahadi and Hadwadiha. –

Gram Panchayat – Karnapura

Dhanbad District: –     Rangadih, Sirsagadh, Sisakari, Khapdakulhi and Jiling Tand. –

Gram Panchayat – Matari

Hazaribagh District: – Basobar Bhatwigaha, Baksidih, Sultani and Darudih. –

Gram Panchayat – Daroo

 

There are strong district and regional networks working on various issues and the fellows take active part in them.

The activities and programmes were formulated to address these issues.  The programme covers 18 districts in the state. While the intensive work is confined to 30 villages of the fellows, the larger issues are highlighted by the state, regional and district level networks through various campaigns.

 

INTERVENTIONS, ISSUES AND IMPACT

–        20 women and 10 men SHGs formed.

–        Village education committees constituted in 5 villages.

–        2 study centres established.

–        4 schools run with the support of the community.

–        3 forest protection committees formed.

–        Equal minimum wages for women and men in government programmes.

–        Leadership qualities developed among women and youth.

–        Road building and temple construction through government schemes.

–        Through the community’s efforts, houses sanctioned for 8 families under Indira Awas Yojna.

–        People’s organisations and movements emerging even in contact villages.

–        Increased awareness in the community on the rights of the people.

–        Network of NGOs, movements, activists and people’s organisations established at the district and state level.

–        A good rapport and network established with other issue based groups at district and state level.

–        District and state level committee of Swaraj constituted.

–        Jharkhand has a strong feudal mentality and this comes in the way of striving for social justice as well as gender justice.

–        Ultra leftist forces emerging in certain pockets.

–        Ethnic conflict has become a major challenge.

–        The funding by multi lateral and bilateral agencies has lead to mushrooming of NGOs and bringing in large development projects.

–        The state has had a history of revolt struggle and strong movements since pre-independence times. The common people in Jharkhand have developed faith in movement-based struggle after witnessing the success of attaining statehood. There is a sense of ‘identity’ among the people.

Swaraj Gujarat

SWARAJ- GUJARAT

Gujarat is another state where Swaraj has not really made any major impact. Although the PSP process like in other states were conducted at the village level in 1999, one fails to see significant outcomes. There could be many reasons for this; firstly the state has been witnessing major tragedies in recent years – the major earthquake that devastated many areas and more recently the growing communal violence and tension in the state. Secondly, Gujarat being a highly industrialised state perhaps needs strategies and interventions that are different from what is followed in other states.

During brief interaction with the state team, it seemed that the focus of the state unit has been more on developing resource and information material rather than on actual grassroots work. There are about 10 organisations associated with Swaraj and 2 fellows associated with the programme.

INTERVENTIONS, ISSUES AND IMPACT

–        One of the major outcomes is the development of posters, pamphlets and booklets on various issues. These are widely circulated among NGOs, activists and the community and also displayed on various occasions.

–        Training and workshop organised for about 800 youth on ‘Role of youth in rural development’ in collaboration with other NGOs.

–        Played an active role in the earthquake relief, rescue and rehabilitation programme.

–        10 mobile libraries in ten PSP villages.

–        Initiated state wide ‘Friendship Campaign’ to restore peace and communal harmony after the recent violence in the state.

–        Educational material and kits distributed to schools in 24 villages as part of school support programme.

–        No visible processes seen at the grassroots level.

–        Some of the committee members of the state team are very busy and cannot devote time for Swaraj work.

–        The growing cult of violence and hatred in the name of religion is a serious threat to the entire process.

–        Increasing marginalisation of vulnerable groups due the rapid industrialisation and development process.

Swaraj Bihar

Bihar has evolved from the word ‘Vihar’. This word itself has originated from the words “Boudh Vihar”. Bihar has had a glorious history as could be ascertained from ancient Indian Literature and Archeological Findings. It is the place where Gautam Buddha attained true spiritual knowledge. It also the birthplace of Mahavir, the propagator of Jainism and Seeta, Karna, Vishwamitra, among others, are the great names associated with its Golden history.

Bihar has been the initiator of change. The credit for establishment of Political and Democratic institutions goes to Bihar. The Lichchavis of Vaishali established the “Vajji Sangh”. This was the first republican concept to be implemented. The region was once ruled by Chandragupta Maurya, the first Emperor of India and was the area where the early economist and political scientist Chanakya lived and taught kings and emperors. The Capital of Magadh Kingdom, Pataliputra, is situated in Bihar. Bihar has been the land of social change and has shown the direction in which that social change should take place, since the times of the Guptas, Mughals and British Imperialist days.

In recent times, the people of Bihar have seen and participated in the Champaran Satyagraha that Mahatma Gandhi led of the Indigo Cultivators in the late 30’s, the “Quit India” Movement of 1942, The “JP Movement” and the “Bihar Movement” of the ‘70’s. These and other struggles and movements have brightened the image of Social Change and Sacrifice of the people of Bihar.

Bihar, which has had unique relations with Indian Cultural Heritage, has two geographical distinct features – north and south Bihar. North Bihar is agriculturally advanced, while South Bihar, known as Jharkhand, has minerals and forests.

The vision of the political leadership at the beginning of Independence was the establishment of “Temples of Modern India”. The first examples of these included the Damodar Valley Project in Jharkhand and the “Koshi Barrage” on the Indo-Nepal Border. In fact, there were more such were ‘Temples’ established in Jharkhand, in the shape of Koel-Karo, Mayurakshi and other such projects. At the same time extraction of minerals from the region was undertaken at break-neck speed. As result of these so-called development projects, the adivasis of Jharkhand who formed the majority of the populace were being shunted into minority positions. They are today struggling for their self-hood and defending their culture.

In North Bihar, the network of rivers Ganga, Koshi, Gandak, Bagmati and others are causing chronic floods and each subsequent flood is widening the area being waterlogged. This has been the result of efforts of the dominant development lobby, which has in reality attacked the natural resources and their flow. This lobby has ignored society and its culture and nature, while thrusting towards creation of “Temples of Modern India”. Every year more and more area, more and more people and more and more animals are adversely by floods for an average of six months a year. Crores of rupees worth of crops, animals, land and other property are destroyed every year. Lakhs of people get permanently displaced and migrate to far off places in the search of work and a living. Those who remain behind, survive in inhuman conditions.

As a result of the adverse impact of the current development model, lack of political will, intrusion of globalisation in all spheres of life resulting in increasing consumerism, the people of Bihar are at the mercy of the dominant classes/castes in society. The farmers of Bihar, who have contributed so much for agricultural production, have now become migrant labour searching for work elsewhere in India. Bihar, which had such great universities as Nalanda and Vikramshila, is now an illiterate state. A state that had seen the apostles of peace such as Gautam Buddha and Mahavir is now reeling under murders and violence.

Big projects in the region have destroyed traditional farming practices. Pastoral and fishing communities have been impoverished. Increasing consumerism is destroying cottage industry and the folk culture.

Official development statistics have been proved to be false. Hundreds of voluntary organisations and people’s organisations are trying to bring succour to the common people in a decentralised manner. However, the problems created by floods, water logging, salination, unsafe drinking water, inhuman living conditions, illiteracy, migration in search of work, taking resort to sex working, inequality, crime, child labour and the like, make it impossible for them to surmount the difficulties.

It was in these circumstances that Kumar Kalanand Mani attempted to bring together under one platform, the voluntary organisations and people’s organisations in the Koshi and Gandak Valleys/Basins. In 1993, he gathered together organisations in the Koshi region under the banner of Koshi Consortium and in 1997 he gathered together organisations in the Gandak region under the banner of Gandak Consortium.

The ideology behind the formation of these consortiums was to make an organised democratic effort to find an alternative development model for regional development. Similar efforts were made in Son and Ganga Valleys. All issues in these valleys/basins were sought to be resolved on the basis of Gandhian thought and ideals.

On 27th and 28th November 1996, “SWARAJ” Forum was established after discussions at a Seminar in Mumbai. Activists from Bihar along with seven other states joined the Forum. The consortiums were the first members of SJ-Bihar.

“SWARAJ” Forum later decided to apply the PSP Process to achieve the goals of Gandhian thought and ideals. SJ-Bihar undertook the implementation of the process in 617 villages. The first activities under the process were over and on 3rd and 4th June 1999. The document in this regard was adopted at the State Convention. Grassroots level activists participated in the Convention in large numbers. They indicated the direction of the work to be undertaken in Bihar as a whole, while participating in the discussions at the Convention.

The enthusiasm, the co-operation and the alertness of the participants was an experience, which showed that the people of Bihar are moving towards social change.

PSP Process in Bihar

PSP process in Bihar was carried out in four river basins of Koshi, Gandak, Son and Ganga. Eleven activists from these river basins participated in the Durgapur Workshop. Thereafter, Introductory PSP Workshops were organised at the state level to introduce PSP among the grass-root organisation and to select the competent activists for National Level Training (NLT). Thus twenty-two selected activists from the state, participated in the National ‘Training of Facilitators’ and National Workshop on PSP held at Goa in the month of May 1998. Then a State Level Team of Facilitators was formed, which trained a total of 130 Facilitators at Consortium and District Levels. These 130 Facilitators in their turn trained the Village/Community Level Facilitators.

Then the PSP Processes were taken to 617 Villages/Communities of 24 districts, through 126 organisations. The total population of villages was 5,20,162 including, 2,76,964 males and 2,43,198 females. Of these, 1,31,672 persons belonged to Schedule Castes (SCs), 2,73,273 belonged to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 31,693 belonged to Minority Communities and 8,371 belonged to Scheduled Tribes (SCs). From the total population, 94,907 males and 50,447 female were literate. Of the total population 18,521 participated in the PSP process.

Community and Organisation Level Documents were compiled and presented in the conferences organised by Koshi Consortium (KC) and Gandak Consortium (GC). The documents of the river basin were put together and SJ-Bihar came up with a State PSP Document, which was presented and adopted at the State Convention held at Bhagalpur on 3rd & 4th June 1999.

During the PSP Process there were many instances of joy and pain. In the beginning, people said that this process was nothing but another way of talking of development as propagated by Politicians, Government Officials and Development workers of NGOs also. However, in a number of villages, efforts were made to take up the local burning issues for analysis and immediate interventions.

For instance, in Mokahana village of Bhagalpur District, participants of PSP tried to restore communal harmony. At Chanapatia in West Champaran District, the villagers during the PSP Process renovated the basic education schools, which had been conducted in line with ‘Gandhian Nayee Talim’. They are now organised and are demanding their right and funds from the State for continuation of these centres. Many such result-oriented processes brought hope and happiness among the participants.

Following are the measure Critical Issues came before SJ-Bihar-

1.     Alcoholism

2.     Atrocities against Women

3.     Big Dams

4.     Casteism

5.     Child Labour

6.     Communalism

7.     Consumerism

8.     Criminalisation of Politics

9.     De-culturisation

10. Deforestation

11. Displacement

12. Dowry

13. Exploitation of Adivasis

14. Gender Inequality

15. Health Hazards

16. Lack of Drinking Water

17. Lack of Moral & Basic Education

18. Lack of Village & Cottage Industries

19. Man-made Floods

20. Migration

21. No election to Panchayat Raj Institution

22. Poverty

23. Unemployment

24. Water Logging

 

 

The Strategic Issue were selected from the with help of some criteria such as – interrelationship among the issues, related to peoples aspiration and ability of the organisation to take the issues; the synergetic impact of certain issue on many other issues;

STRATEGIC ISSUES

1.       Man-made floods (including big Dams, Water Logging, Displacement, Migration

2.       Lack of moral and basic education

3.       Poverty, Unemployment, (lack of Cottage Industries)

4.       Political Instability (including Criminalisation of Politics)

5.       No election to Panchayati Raj Institutions

6.       De-culturisation (including invasion of western culture, consumerism)

7.       Deforestation (including Exploitation of Adivasis)

8.       Gender Inequality (including Dowry, Atrocities against women)

 

STRATEGIC THRUST-

By following criteria such as- people’s and organisational capacities, synergetic effect, relevance to Gandhian values, the following Strategic Thrust were selected:

  1. Strengthening peoples movement against man-made floods, big dam, displacement,
  2. Struggle for self rule,
  3. Restoring moral and basic education,
  4. Restoring eco-system and
  5. Empowerment of women, adivasi and dalit.

 

AREA OF OPERATION

NAME OF CAMPAIGN

DISTRICT

BLOCK

VILLAGES

ACTIVE

CONTACT

ACTIVE

CONTACT

ACTIVE

CONTACT

GANDAK

03

03

08

21

35

107

KOSHI

05

06

       05

N.A.

25

201

GANGA

02

NIL

05

N.A.

25

135

Total

10

13

18

21

85

443

 

ORGANISATION STATUS

NAME OF CAMPAIGN

NO OF FELLOWS

NO. OF VILLAGE COMMITTEE

NO. OF DISTRICT COMMITTEE

Gandak

04

35

03

Koshi

03

25

05

Ganga

05

25

02

Total

12

85

10

 

THE MAIN INITIATIVES / ACHIEVEMENTS

The main achievements as per the planned activities based on their strategic thrust are as follows-

§     Awareness about man made floods, big dams and displacement.

§     Awareness about 73rd amendment act about Panchayati Raj. People’s participation in Panchayati Raj election to elect good representative. Regular meeting of gram Sabha. Development of understanding about ideology of Gandhi and Jayaprakash about self-rule.

§     Awareness about    basic education based upon ‘Nai- Talim’ people’s participation in proper funcining of basic schools. People’s participation in reconstructing of old building of basic schools. People voice for betterment of basic schools by government increasment in enrolment of children in school.

§     Awareness about protection   of land, water and forest. People efforts to protect rivers from pollution. People participation in social forestry.

§     Awareness among women adivasis and dalit about their rights. Formation of self – help groups.  Awareness among women adivasis and dalit representative in Panchayati Raj system.

Panchayati Raj Swaraj

The 73rd Constitution Amendments came into being in April 1993. It is an enabling provision, re-empowering Gram Panchayats and rural masses. Gram Panchayat, with all its limitations, remains the best possible local body created by the Constitution to elicit people’s participation in development process. Impacting and empowering the PRIs would lead to more sustainable development process. The 73rd Constitution Amendment is an opportunity to create political and economic empowerment at grassroots.

STRATEGIC TRUST

§         To strengthen the Village Panchayat in the light of 73rd constructional Amendment,

§         To capacitate the elected members of the Panchayat and organisations working in favour of Panchayats,

§         To undertake publication and advocacy related activities for the realisation of real Village Panchayat as grassroots self-governance,

OPERATIONAL AREA

STATE

CO-ORDINATOR FELLOWS

GOA, GUJARAT & MAHARASHTRA

1

1

 

 

WIFPR(Western India Forum For Panchayat Raj)

The processes of involving like-minded groups working for Panchayati Raj were started in 1995. PS in the name of Western India Forum formed a forum for Panchayati Raj. Some of the details are given under the Organisational Branch.

The WIFPR became integral part of the SWARAJ Forum since its inception.

WIFPR was launched as an effort to provide a platform for sharing of experiences and promoting feeling of solidarity among organisations and individuals active in empowering panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in the Western region of India. For the past three years, WIFPR has been trying to build up a network in the three western states of India viz. Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa.

Detailed background and rationale are presented in the perspective paper of WIFPR. It is in the context of the Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Constitution Amendments and the respective State Acts that WIFPR assumes a special significance. it also is significant to note that WIFPR – as a forum – encourages empowering of women and dalits in the PRIs. A need was also felt to bring closer those who struggle for empowerment of these two marginalized sections of Indians Society as a supportive legal framework alone was not to be expected to change the scenario; opposition was massive and mainstreamed, well-established and powerful; it presented itself in the various -and sometimes combined -‘avatars’ of fundamentalists, orthodox practitioners, bureaucrats, and the those whose interest was served by keeping the masses disempowered. Under these circumstances, WIFPR has been trying to rekindle the spirits of those committed to empowering women and dalits.

FOCUS AREAS

Based on the above mentioned observations, feedback of partner organisations and as suggested by committee members of WIFPR, there is need to focus on the following areas in the coming six months:

–    STRENGHTHENING NETWORK in Maharashtra and Goa as also further increasing partner  -interaction among Gujarat partners.

–    Improving performance on DOCUMENTATION AND RESEARCH.

–    PUBLISHING series of booklets etc.

–    Popularising innovative TRAINING PROGRAMMES for Gram Panchayats in different environments (e.g. GPs in industrial areas)

STRENGTH AND WEAKNESSES

Details of WIFPR’s work uptill now has been presented in two progress reports presented earlier. It suffices to mention here some highlights of its work and some limitations so that the future planning can pick up threads from these strengthens and weaknesses:

–    WIFPR has been fairly active in persuing advocacy agenda, particularly in Gujarat; serious advocacy issues like Panchayat finances have been fairly effectively persued by WIFPR.

–    WIFPR again in Gujarat, has been regularly publishing its newsletter – ‘Sarpanch’- in Gujarati which voices issues concerning Panchayati Raj and highlighting success stories of Panchayats, its members, Gramsabhas and NGO interventions.

–    WIFPR has been quite acceptable in its networking efforts in Gujarat and has persistently encouraged women and dalit participation in Gram Panchayats.

–    WIFPR has endeavoured to mainstream practices of Gramsabhas, micro- planning at village level and rights of Gram Panchayats on CPRs.

–    WIFPR’s training has always reflected grassroot level experience of its members and this has been strengthened by sound knowledge of acts, procedures and other legalities.

–    Despite these achievements, there are some limitations also; WIFPR has not been able to build up its network in Maharashtra and Goa as much as desired.

–    Accessibility of women to the ‘Panchayati Raj Margdarshan Kendra’ (PRMK) should increase

–    In Gujarat also there is need to further strengthen the network with better incentives / support to the grassroot level groups and to selected Panchayats.

–    Documentation efforts need to be improved to cover interesting case studies enhancing learning from field realities.

–    Field based studies should be promoted in partnership with action-oriented organisations.

–    Publication of Marathi newsletter ‘Chavdi’ should be revived to boost networking efforts in Maharashtra.

INTERVENTIONS

Following interventions were made under the projects

a)  Publication of “Sarpanch” a bulletin in Gujarati for Gujarat chapter,

b)  Publication of “ Chawadi” a bulletin in Marathi for Maharashtra chapter,

c)  Publication of Info Calendar on Panchayati Raj

Releasing booklet on panchayati raj during a consultation on evaluation and shortcomings of 73rd amendment at Pune.

d)  Numbers of workshops, camps, consultations were organised in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa on the issue like role of women in PRI, Finance Commission and Recommendation, enhancing the role of OBCs, Role of NGOs in PRI, Voter Education etc.

e)      The Goa programme published following booklets which was widely acknowledged,

–      Gram Sabha,

–      Panchayat Functions & Responsibilities,

–      Powers & Duties of the Sarpanch-Secretary,

–      Construction Rules & Regulation,

–      Planning, Accounts, Budget & Audit,

f)   The Goa chapter had also launched a website in the name of www.goapanchayat.org in the hand of Mr. F. D’souza, Hon. Minsiter of Technology & Information.

g)  Panchayati Raj Margadarshan Kendra (PRMK) the guidance cell for panchayats in Gujarat is accessible to all panchayats in the State. PRMK is a guidance cell to which anyone especially Panchayat members can write to seek information and guidance on problems faced by Panchayats.

FUTURE DIRECTION

Ø      Take up common issues such as rights of Gram SabhaPanchayat finances etc.

Ø      Creation of website for wider reach and sharing of information and ideas.

Ø      Federate panchayats to provide a common platform for solidarity and addressing issues.

Ø      Networking of gram sabhas within one year.

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.

Save the Western Ghats Movement

The Save the Western Ghats Movement (SWGM) was a landmark event in environmental activism in India. It was one of the first of its kind in the country and became the model for numerous campaigns all over India.

In October 1986, PS organised a national consultation on environment, during which it was decided to organize a march along the entire length of the Western Ghats, to focus attention on the urgent need to halt the process of degradation that was threatening to create irremediable damage to the entire area. The goal was to create an integrated Ecological perspective providing for both environmental protection as well as the rights of the rural communities. Later, Peaceful Society was appointed the Coordinating Agency of the entire event as Central Coordinator.

Organizational Structure

The march had two Joint Coordinating Agencies, one for the Northern Districts, in Gujarat and most of the Western Maharashtra and another for the Southern states of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

A National Advisory Committee was formed, with the renowned anthropologist, Prof. K.C. Malhotra as the Chairperson and with eminent persons in various related fields as members to provide support and advice.

The actual March planning and management was the responsibility of the Central Organising Committee with Kumar Kalanand Mani of Peaceful Society as Central Coordinator.

In the field there were the parallel regional structures for the Northern and the Southern stretches of the Ghats. There were two broad divisions, one the March Committee to look after the logistics of and during the march itself, the other the Field Committee which had overall charge of preparations and planning and of monitoring the activities of the various Regional and State Committees. Each of the States in turn had their own sub-committees to look after the different activities like environmental studies, mobilising communities, publicity etc.

All the committees were very active and shared responsibility with greater effectiveness. The scale of preparations was immense with compilation of data on various issues, surveys of ‘hot spots’, which were specially vulnerable or critical, articles and statements in the press, liaison with local organizations and institutions for active participation and support of various kinds.

 

Southern Marchers entering into Goa

Peaceful society played a leading role in this process of planning and mobilizing and was actively involved in

  • Ensuring government cooperation and support. (The Department of Environment, Govt. of India provided a grant for organizational expenses.)
  • Mobilizing action groups and NGOs for a broad based participation
  • Getting the support of Universities, academics and intellectuals and influential persons in the literary field.
  • Forming of the various committees as different levels.
  • Publicity and PR
  • Getting the support of Universities, academics and intellectuals and influential persons in the literary field.
  • Forming of the various committees as different levels.
  • Publicity and PR
  • Monitoring preparations for the March from Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu.
  • Monitoring the actual march logistics and trouble shooting during the March
  • Hosting the final meet at the end of the march.

The March: November 1987 – February 1987

The March was a 100 days event, which included 95 days of actual travel along the entire length of the Ghats plus 5 days of Conference and meetings in Goa. The march was in two teams, one starting from Navapur in the North and the other from Kanyakumari in the south. Representatives from over 160 Organizations and thousands of individuals participated in the march, the number sometimes swelling to several hundred at any one time for shorter stretches. There were over 600 meetings conducted during the course of the route

The marching teams and the associated meetings generated tremendous enthusiasm among all sections of people all along the route and the entire nation as well. The enthusiasm of youth and their eagerness to be involved was especially heartening. There was extensive media coverage not only in the local press but also on the national and even international level.

The enthusiasm in Goa itself, where the March was planned and finally culminated was even greater. Here there were 4 teams starting from each of the corners of the State and as they marched to the final meeting place, the Ramnathi in Bandora where Peaceful Society’s main office was located, there was a great sense of excitement and enthusiasm in the entire area.

All the teams converged on Bandora where there were three days of sharing of the participants followed by a 2-day conference on “ save the western Ghats”. The entire group of over 700 marchers then marched to Panjim for a final rally, where thousands more joined them.

The total expenses for the March was estimated at over Rs. 3 Crores but almost all of this was raised by the local committees and groups. The actual budget of the Central Organising Committee was of about Rs 4.8 lakhs, out of which Rs. 3.8 lakhs was a grant from the Department of the Environment of the Government of India. At the end of the march Rs 28,000 was returned as unspent!

A Lost Opportunity?

The SWGM was a landmark event in the environmental sector, on par with other key movements like the Chipko Movement and later on the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Even today it is hailed as a truly historic event and has been the inspiration and the model for many other similar movements and marches all over the country.

The immediate effects of the March were tremendous, with immense support generated all along the route march and elsewhere. The enthusiasm of the youth from all classes of society for the goals of the march was remarkable. Unfortunately, the movement was not able to effectively capitalize on this enthusiasm and translate it into a force for a more sustainable and comprehensive alternative development process rooted in the local environment and based on the active participation of the people. There was no effective follow-up because the participating agencies and individuals were not able to reach a consensus on an action plan.

With hindsight, PS feels that it could (and should) have played a more proactive role in the post march period. It did in fact propose a plan but was not able to swing the others behind it and in the interest of solidarity backed away from imposing its view, as might well have been possible. Even if the group as such was not willing to go along, it feels that it would have been able to implement the plan in some of the States at least.

The PS plan was to go back to the communities all along the march route with a three stage program for environmental change for the better while simultaneously building strong and effective people’s organizations to sustain the achievements of the march and post march development.

The first stage would be a massive afforestation program. This was a non-controversial agenda which would therefore be broadly acceptable to all, including the government and Forest Department Officials, and which would have great impact on the environment as well. At the same time, local groups would be empowered and trained to manage the plantations and also build capacity for micro planning to use the products for local needs.

At the end of two years, this would be presented to the government as an alternative model where local communities could manage (and fund) their own development process at the village or area level. And in three years this could become the basis for a local Self-governance Structure.

While these ideals could not be given reality after the SWGM, they nevertheless remained alive in PS activity through the next few years and finally found another ‘avatar’ in the Swaraj Movement. A key learning was the need to ensure that movement leadership was not with the “elite”, no matter how committed personally, but remained with the people at the ground level.

Impact of SWGM on PS

For a variety of reasons, if there was one event, which could be said to be the determining factor in PS’s history, it is undoubtedly the Save the Western Ghats March. The impact was both internally, on the future shape and direction of PS’s work as well as externally, in the opportunities for involvement and cooperation with other groups and organizations.

  • Awareness of Opportunity in people’s enthusiasm and readiness for sacrifice especially on the part of the youth. Though PS felt that it had lost a great opportunity in channelising the enthusiasm generated through the march, it made sure that this would not happen again and the effect of this is seen in the present major involvement of the Swaraj Movement.
  • Linkages with likeminded organizations in and out of Goa. PS had worked closely with local communities and numerous institutions all over the state and the relationships developed during the time of preparation and the march resulted in many fruitful joint ventures in the subsequent years. This was especially so with regard to environmental issues and the March generated both awareness of and enthusiasm to tackle related problems in Goa.
  • Realization of PS capability for organization,
  • Mobilizing people and linking with other organizations. PS had played a leading role in the march preparation and the actual march organization and this developed both confidence and skills which has stood it in good stead in alter years
  • Awareness of efficacy of joint programs. Networks with other like-minded organization s now became one the key characteristics of PS’s work.

The Goa Afforestation Program: Though PS was not able to implement its plan for a comprehensive afforestation program all along the Western Ghats; it did implement it on a small scale in Ponda, Canacona and Pedne Taluka Goa as a follow-up program. The program was for schools & colleges and was a great success over three years.

Organic Natural Farming

Modern farming promotes the growth of crops in isolation, with the use of hybrid seeds & excessive chemical fertilizers, giving rise to monoculture. This has resulted in soil erosion & decreased soil fertility.

The dangers of Conventional fertilizers as human health hazards & their pollution of the environment has encouraged the search & application of alternative methods to increase soil fertility. The answer to these problems is Natural Farming (NF) – a suitable alternative to modern farming.

NF an age old process was replaced by chemical monoculture process which resulted in depletion of indigenous varieties of crops, fruits, vegetables, flowers & other parts, depletion of underground water-table & excessive use of hazardous chemicals at the risk of normal life.

Reapplication of the age-old system of NF is an old alternative to this new problem, which has risen due to the so-called scientific chemical farming.

On a NF fruit trees, vegetables, grains & other crops are planted & grow in an organic & mutually favourable arrangement as a harmonious whole. Crop rotation is employed to make use of land while maintaining soil fertility.

Goa has vast natural resources but their overuse could lead to ecological imbalance & environmental problems causing irreparable damage. The aim of the PS is to work towards creating more balanced ecology by undertaking various socio economic measures in agriculture, thereby presenting the Gandhian model of ideal life & environment for the people.

In order to be in time with nature & create a stable environment, NF was undertaken by the society. NF denotes a return to nature. It essentially means the natural cultivation of crops without chemical fertilizers in a soil & environment under totally natural conditions.

Status of the farm in the year 1990

The farm area of around 2 hectares was purchased in Jan.1989, at Madkai, a small scenic interior village, 15km from Ponda town & 25 km from Panjim. It was at that time highly eroded. The soil was composed of compact laterite.

It was decided not to resort to modern farming which needs a lot of investment & care besides use of pesticides & fertilizers. Results of such farming depend on investment of manpower, money, water etc. Mr. Mani, the Executive Secretary of Peaceful Society was aware of experiment in NF in Japan & Madhya Pradesh. PS being one of the active environmental NGO in Goa & India, the prime need was to adopt some of the best processes that tradition had to offer.

The land had mango, cashew & coconut trees but most of them yielded little or no fruit.

When Mr. + Mrs. Mani took charge they had no previous experience of farming or horticulture. Confused due to their lack of knowledge & propaganda of chemical fertilizers, they decided to experiment with NF.

In this chaotic state, Mr. Mike Feingold – a British expert organised training in NF in Dec.1990 & PS began work to improve the overall condition of the farm in June 1991.

Mike Feingold demonstrating about organic Farming

NF was therefore undertaken for the following reasons: –

o     To economize & reduce minimum input costs and save labour

o     To enhance land fertility by promoting use of organic fertilizers as opposed to chemical on the overall.

o     To increase vegetation cover, density and plant – biomass.

o     To improve and maintain campus biodiversity.

o     To increase yield of harvested fruits & improve plant productivity.

o     To replenish & recharge ground water table.

o     To become self sufficient in soil, crop and irrigation management and organically grown food production.

PROCESSES ADOPTED IN NF

Promotion Of Ecological Farming By Use Of Organic Manure

Developing topsoil: a mix experiment with shrubs, paper and coconut husk

 

The first priority was to increase the fertility of soil & thereby the overall performance of the farm.

The first two years were spent in trying to control the unprecedented growth of unwanted weeds especially Mimosa Pudica (Lajula – “Touch – me – not”)

During the first two years, the traditional method of putting fire to burn the weeds was employed in the months of February & March. This solved the problem for a few months but destroyed the quality of soil & did not help in improving the performance of the farm.

Mr. Mani then realised that the soil also has its biotic life, especially the soil micro organisms, the insects, worms & when the fire destroyed them; it gave rise to numerous unwanted weeds. Hence from the third year onwards no fire was applied.

The First experiment to use weeds as organic manure was made in a small area. A lot of dry mango & coconut leaves were put on top of the weeds to create a mulch of 15.20 cms.

In a short span of 3 to 4 months, the area became a breeding ground for earthworms, the growth of weeds was controlled & they were converted into mulch.

In the second phase, the entire farm was converted into compost of organic manure. The weeds were allowed to grow till September up to a height of more than one meter. Then they were cut & left on the surface as a green mulch. This was covered by a thick layer of coconut coir obtained from the rope industry from Kundaim – an industrial area nearby. Thus shortly the entire farm was converted into fertile land. The weeds, which posed a problem before, were now a great asset.

Digging of land was also avoided. That work is done either by the earthworms or soil – borrowing fauna during the monsoons.

Promotions Of The Growth Of Local Population Of Earthworms

 

Taking care of Indigenous Earthworms

As the earthworms help in the conversion of organic waste into manure, their local

population was increased by providing the right environmental conditions for their growth – for e.g. the mulch.

Dr. Nandakumar Kamat, a Mycologist of Goa University & Mr Kenneth Rodrigues – a postgraduate student in Biotechnology, conducted a study of the local population of earthworms. It showed that earthworm biomass is sizeable within the campus where cashew litter is not spread.

Water Conservation

Well & rainwater is used for irrigation. All attempts are made to conserve rainwater, which increase the ground water table. The mulch reduced the evaporation of and therefore its consumption. Hence plants need to be watered from February till onset of monsoons.

Improve Of Existing Plants, Trees And New Additions

New plantations are less because the aim was to improve the existing plant yield. This was achieved mainly by improving the soil fertility. Vegetable & flowering plants are planted season wise.

Eco-Restoration By Conversion Of Coir – Pith Into Fertilizer Using Mushroom Culture Pleurets Ostreatus

Mushroom in the campus

The mother spawn of the mushrooms was prepared under the guidance of Dr. Nandkumar Kamat & was used to inoculate coir – pith beds of appx 100 kgs. The fertilizer was then used for the trees. Mushroom mycelia threads degrade the coir fibres and increase the Nitrogen Content. The fermented coir – pith is also a good soil- conditioner, as it retains 6 times its weight of water.

Results of NF

Within a short span of 6 year the farm has become a model of NF in Goa with the following achievements.

In the first two years there was a problem of pest attack. But weeds were allowed to grow & vegetables were cultivated with mixed crop system & indegenous & exotic flowering plants were grown, it resulted in depletion of the pest attack. It was realised that the burning process employed had killed the ants, bugs & flies, which in turn fed on the pests.

From the third year onwards no fire was employed, there was increase in weeds & shrubs, many more flowering plants were allowed to grow, more bugs & ants were noticed.

The weeds were used as mulch. This acted as a protective covering of the soil surface. Mulch moderates the soil temperature & protects soil from the damaging effects of wind, rain & sun thus preventing soil erosion.

It further acts as weed barried.

The weeds also increase the water infilteration by trapping the water on the surface & holding it, till it has time to be absorbed. Thus it has helped to increase the water table. Till the year 1993, the tank & well would overflow after 1 month of rains. But now after the first 1 – 2 rain showers, the tank gets filled up.

A survey conducted by Dr. Nandkumar Kamat showed that there is a tremendous increase in the diversity of fungi and mushrooms. Upto the year 1991-92 mushrooms were seen only after July-August. Now they grow soon after the first rainfall in June. This is a clear indication of the increased soil fertility in terms of rich organic matter.

The survey of earthworms showed that an open space with direct sunlight in which only dry grass composed the humus layer did not support the growth of the worms. Shaded area with mainly Mimosa Pudica plants & grass & where the humus layer composed of dry little supported earthworm growth in the upper 10 cm of soil.

The best earthworm rich habitat was a site with partial shade in which the original vegetation was cleaned & mulch in the form of dry grass was spread over the soil. Large earthworms of 5-10 cms length were found just below the humus layer of dry grass, twigs & dry leaves.

Hence the mulching process did help in enriching the soil.

Table No. I – indicates the increase in the yield of fruit bearing trees.

Some of the coconut trees were mal-nourished & did not yield any nuts. When an officer of the Agriculture department was contacted, he advised to cut the existing trees & plant new ones for both yield, but instead of cutting the trees the farm people utilized the method of organic fertilizers. In three years time the trunk of the coconut trees not only showed increase in growth but also showed an increase in yield. Trees which didn’t bear fruit earlier also started giving f r u i t of the apex 116 coconut

Trees, around 70-75 give a good yield. The rest have started fruiting. Earlier only half a day was enough to harvest the coconuts, now around seven days are required.

The first crop of cashews yielded 45 kg. (appx) In 1200, it has increased to around 300 kg.

The different mango varieties grown on the farm are mankurad, Masurad, Fernand, Kulaso, Alfanso, Maldesh, Saccharina, etc.

Economic Viability

One of the major objectives of N.F is self-reliance with minimum expenses. The disadvantages of chemical farming is recognised the world over because it is capital incentive & the return is not very satisfactory.

India is spending more than 12,000 crores per annum from the central budget on subsidy of food & fertilizers.

N.F. is more labour insentive than capital insentive. The expense of maintaining the farm was appx Rs.45, 000 in 1993. In 1995-96 it was reduced to around Rs.12, 000. Most of the fruits are sold; vegetables are used for consumption in the campus. The Mango trees are leased out for harvesting every year when the fruits attain appx half the size, with the condition that no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used. The total income of the mango trees was Rs.15, 000 in 1993. In 1996, it went upto Rs. 23000/- and Rs 62000/= in 2003.

Ecological Importance

NF is an environmentally friendly process. The raw materials used for organic manure are free & cheap. It is pollution free, which is otherwise caused by the use of chemical fertilizers. It preserves genetic diversity & maintains life-sustaining processes like clean air & water.

The farm has provided an enriched atmosphere for birds, insects etc. The birds help transfer seeds which help support neighbouring biology. New birds are seen every year. Water Conserved at the farm could be recharging the other wells & tanks in the surrounding area. Whatever soil nutrients are generated is transformed to neighbouring area, thus increasing the overall fertility of the soil. Biodiversity on the campus is well maintained and includes shrubs, herbs, epiphytes, macro fungi, beneficial insects, earthworms’ etc. which form a local area food – chain.

Problems encountered during NF experiment

One of the major problems faced was that of manpower. Earlier people depended on agriculture, but with the expansion of industrial estates in nearby areas, the labour has been diverted. Local labourers go to places like Chandor, Chodan, Neura & Dongri, where they get higher wages. In average the farm employes 3 labourers, but even their attendance is not regular. Thus, although there were plans of an integrated approach of having a dairy, poultry, sheep rearing biogas and 3 layers of mixed cropping system, it could not be practiced.

The labourers were eager to burn the weeds, they also felt that the farm was not kept clean & was not managed properly.

Monkeys (Common Indian Languor) are common in the entire region. They could cause destruction of the fruits & trees but a strategy has been adopted at the farm in which the monkeys are restricted to the fence area. Still, they are the biggest hurdles in developing the farm. They have lost their habitat in the hand of fathers of industrial development and our farm has become their new habitat and source of survival.

At present there is no local outlet for the farm products. Moreover the local people depend on a staple diet of fish & eat vegetables only during the “ Shravan” month. People hesitate to buy a little expensive but eco-friendly products.

Right now the vegetables are used on the farm itself or sold to interested visitors. Many find the difference in taste but find the farm too far away to be regular buyers, so they are encouraged to practice the use of organic fertilizers & follow same methods.

Future

According to Mr. Mani, the farm should be inspiring for everyone in whichever integrated approach is practiced. He admits that personally he has no experience of farming & although some of his colleagues expressed doubts about NF, he was not discouraged. Based on experiences he read in books & documents he knew that NF stimulates basic improvement of soil fertility & biotransformation. The campus today is living example of growth in yield and diversities of the trees and various plants. In a short span he realised that NF is much more profitable interms of money invested, manpower involved & other bio-support than the so-called modern farming.

Due to manpower constraints his dream of an integrated farm has remained a dream. He is saddened that he cannot devote his entire time to the development of the farm.

Mr. Mani has some reservations regarding vermiculture. He says it is not the job of the urban elite to decide what farmers require. The earthworms are an integral part of the soil. They are destroyed only when the integrity of the soil is destroyed. So instead of thinking of vermiculture one must concentrate on maintaining the ecology of the soil.

Earlier the village people were sceptical of the natural methods used. They have this set idea that chemical farming is the most useful due to government propaganda. They use manure in addition to chemical fertilizers so they don’t really know if the yield is due to organic or chemical fertilizers. They have a mental constraint to completely give up chemical fertilizer. But seeing the viability of the farm, they have realised that NF is one of the best system of farming.

In Mr. Mani’s own words – “ I feel a sort of intimate relation with every plant and get a deep satisfaction while working with plants. Frustrated or depressed. I move around the farm and get a great sense of relief and peace. Farming is not only a commercial activity but also a life supporting activity. Those who want a better life should think of sustainability of their life and farm. Whatever money you may have be lost, but if you have a small farm it is a shelter in your worst moment. Destruction of this activity is the destruction of the very principle of life”

Biodiversity of Goa

(Organised Jointly By Peaceful Society, Econet-Pune , In Collaboration With Institute Of Safety, Occupation Health And Environment, Govt. Of Goa. Nov. 1, 1996. Isohe Complex Altinho, Panaji – Goa.)

Objectives Of The Workshop

The local organisers had aimed at exposing influential participants to several areas of biodiversity in local language and to focus priority areas of biodiversity conservation, protection and utilisation.

The workshop was held on November 1, 1996 from 9.30 a.m. to 6.15 p.m. at the ISOHE conference hall, Altinho, Panjim – Goa. It was inaugurated by the Chief Secretary of Govt. of Goa, Dr. G. C. Srivastava who also holds the environment secretary’s office. He had earlier served with ICR-New Delhi.

Dr. Srivastava acknowledged the threats to ecosystems in Goa and agreed with the need to conserve local biodiversity. He appealed the participants to offer ideas to the Govt. for undertaking suitable policy measures and schemes for conservation and protection of biodiversity against the pressures of development. Dr. Paranjape presented a set of Econet publications to him with a request to make liberal use of this documentation in discussing biodiversity issues at Govt. level.

Dr. Vijay Paranjape in his introductory remarks highlighted the awareness brought about by the Rio convention on biodiversity and attempts in India to motivate the people and the Govt. to take suitable initiatives for protection of the rich biodiversity. He expressed the need to work closely with the Govt. bodies by offering them ideas and through consistent advocacy.

Salient Aspects Of The Workshop

·        this was the first such workshop in history of Goa on biodiversity in the local official language-KONKANI

·        the workshop was organised in collaboration with ISOHE, a state govt. institution thus bringing together the NGOs, members of the public and the govt. agency.

·        the participants were selected on basis of their social / cultural track record, ability to transmit new ideas to grass roots level and influence the public opinion.

·        the resource persons included folklorists, scientists, ecologists providing ideal interdisciplinary input for meaningful discussion and interaction.

Workshop Organization And Co-Ordination:-

The groundwork for successful organization was done by Dr. Nandkumar Kamat, Niraj Naik, Bharati Bandodkar, Kumar Kalanand Mani of Peaceful Society and Kishor Dhume, Shri. C. V. Dhume, head of ISOHE and his staff gave full cooperation.

Participants Profile

Participants included Konkani writers, activists, science teachers, farmers, panchayat members, freedom fighters, headmasters, social workers and students of ecology and environment.

Workshop Topics

Dr. Nandkumar Kamat, scientist and ecologist from Goa University reviewed the status of Goa’s biodiversity with figures and facts. This session was presided over by Shri. Jagdish Wagh, Hon. Secretary of WWF Goa. Shri Pandurang Phaldessai of Kala Academy – Goa engaged in PhD. Work on history then presented a detailed paper on biodiversity of Goa as reflected in traditional folklore. Dr. Nandkumar Kamat chaired this session. Another folklore researcher from Goa Konkani Academy Miss Jayanti Naik spoke on Ecofeminism and biodiversity relationship as seen in Goa’s folklore. Sahitya Academy literary award winner in Konkani Shri. Dilip Borkar chaired this session. Dr. Bernadette Gomes, lecturer in sociology at Govt. college-Quepem spoke about her research work on Kunbi community of baradi Betul in South Goa. Dr. J. B. Sardesai, retd, chaired this session. UNESCO entomologist Dr. Vijaya Kerkar from Botany Dept. of Goa University then presented a scientific paper on Goa’s algae, seaweeds and ferns. Dr. Ajit Shirodkar, a progessive horticulturist and retd. Pharmaceutical executive chaired this session. Dr. Vijay Paranjape then offered his critical comments on all the papers and guided the participants.

Certificates:

Dr. Vijaya Paranjape of Econet, Pune, gave all the participants certificates of participation.

Summary of issues which emerged from the workshop:-

·        People are generally ignorant about the extent of biodiversity and its economic and ecological significance

·        Biodiversity knowledge, especially ecosystem, habitat, plant and animal biodiversity is well recorded in Goa’s traditional and non formal indigenous knowledge systems such as folklore

·        There is no inventory/checklist of Goa’s biodiversity. A statistical data sheet was produced by Dr. Kamat, which shows about 4500 species.

·        OBCs of Goa and women are important guardians of natural resources and biodiversity. Their role is not fully acknowledged at govt. or academic level.

·        Pressures of development, especially construction activity, mining, quarrying, tourism, urbanisation, industrialisation are eroding biodiversity

·        Coastal Goa is facing biodiversity erosion due to pollution in estuaries, damage to beach ecology and mangrove ecosystem and destruction of coconut groves and khazan (saline) paddy fields.

·        There is no emphasis on biodiversity in education.

·        Existing environmental acts are not enforced in Goa.

·        There is no literature on biodiversity in local languages.

·        There is marginal interaction between the NGOs and the Govt. and NGOs and the Village Panchayats for taking up biodiversity issues.

·        It is important to catalogue the wealth of medicinal plants of Goa and document their issues.

·        Wild germless needs to be conserved in local seed/gene banks.

Recommendations Of The Workshop:

·        Goa needs an all tax a biodiversity inventory.

·        Sacred groves of Goa need to be surveyed and conserved.

·        State Govt. should pass an appropriate law to protect indigenous knowledge systems and biodiversity.

·        Hot spots of biodiversity erosion within the state of Goa need to be identified for remedial action.

·        The coastal and Western Ghats areas are especially vulnerable to developmental pressures. Biodiversity-rich zones from these areas need to be protected.

·        Every village panchayat should be encouraged to prepare a local natural resource list and community biodiversity conservation scheme

·        Women and OBC’s form important components of biodiversity conservation movement. They should be consulted and involved at all stages of biodiversity conservation schemes.

·        Biodiversity education should form a major component of environmental education from school to university level.

·        Bio economic Assessment of biological wealth of Goa should be done through experts.

·        Bio diversity impact Assessment should be made compulsory for all developmental projects.

Proposed Follow Up Action:

·        preparation of approach paper on biodiversity conservation for the State Govt. to be included in the 9th five year plan proposals

·        Publication of workshop papers after revision and editing

·        Organisation of taluka level mini-workshops/meetings

·        Publication of a scientific checklist of all know local species

·        Setting up a central biodiversity documentation centre for west-coast / western ghats

Actions initiated by the state govt. after the workshop:

·        encouragement to biodiversity research projects, establishment of nurseries

·        passing of a legislation on control of non-biodegradable waste

·        Ordinance banning wetland filling and indiscriminate hill cutting to be promulgated

Response From Media:

The workshop was well received by the local media both vernacular and English. Two papers presented in the workshop were published in modified form in the 1996 DIVALI issue of KONKANI, the official literary magazine of KONKANI BHASHA MANDAL.

Conclusion: The workshop was widely appreciated for its theme and substance and succeeded in creating tremendous awareness among the opinion leaders about the threats to Goa’s biodiversity and the need to take timely action.

Medicinal Plants

Among the aims and objects of Peaceful Society is preservation of bio-diversity, Medicinal Plants are an important species, which help preserve bio-diversity. Besides, they form the foundation of traditional medicine, which is the answer to monopoly of multi-national companies, which is being strengthened in today’s economic policy of globalisation and Marketisation.

Botany students of Goa University colleges have found 40 species of medicinal plants in the campus. These include:-

1.       Adulsa                   : Its leaves, roots and flowers are used against bronchitis, leprosy, asthma, rheumatism, jaundice, diarrhoea and dysentery.

2.       Korpad                  : Its leaves are a powerful purgative. It is also to treat enlargement of the liver and spleen, jaundice and rheumatism.

3.       Oil Kiryata            : Useful against fever, dysentery among others.

4.       Nimba                    : Useful against fevers especially Malaria.

5.       Rui                        : Useful against skin diseases. Also used against elephantiasis and postnatal care.

6.       Brahmi                  : Brain tonic and is also used against TB.

7.       Halad                     : Useful against leucoderma, scabies,urinary discharges, inflammation, snake bites, small pox, jaundice, ringworm and gonorrhoea among others.

8.       Bhirand                 : Useful against dysentery, diarrhoea, among others.

9.       Chuvra                  : Heals wounds, cures throat complaints among others.

10.   Kapura Kachari    : Useful against asthma, bronchitis, liver complaints, diarrhoea among others.

11.   Anantmoola           : Used in treatment of leucorroea, syphilis, rheumatism, scorpion sting and snake bites among others.

12.   Jaasvanda             : Flowers are used for bronchia treatment.

13.   Kudaa                    : Used against diarrhoea, constipation, anaemia and jaundice among others.

14.   Pendgul                 : Used against bronchitis, ulcers, and dysentery among others

15.   Mendi                   : Used against jaundice, enlargement of the spleen, typhoid among others.

16.   Karkani                 : Used against diarrhoea, dysentery and vertigo among others.

17.   Thumbo                 : Used for skin eruptions, chronic rheumatism, gonorrhoea among others.

18.   Sonchampha          : Used against chronic rheumatism among others.

19.   Lajalu                    :Used against urinary complaints, sinus, piles and scorpion sting amongst others.

20.   Bakul                    : Used against snakebites, chronic dysentery among others

21.   Karle                     : Used haemorrhoids, piles, jaundice, contraception and high blood sugar among others

22.   Shevgachya Shenga :Used against paralytic conditions, rheumatism, and diseases of the river and spleen among others.

23.   Kuchili                  : Used against cholera, dropsy and elephantiasis among others.

24.   Kadu Limba          : Used against skin eruptions, dysentery among others

25.   Bananas                : Used against epilepsy, hysteria dysentery and diarrhoea

26.   Kanner                  : Cardiac tonic. Used against dysentery, asthma and bronchitis among others.

27.   Kuhsursali            : It is an expectorant. Used in treatment of cancer, ulcers, dysentery and bites of wild animals

28.   Tulasa                   : It is an expectorant. Used against Malarial fever, dropsy etc.

29.   Bhuivali                 : It is anti-septic . Used against colic, diarrhoea and dysentery among others.

30.   Kali Miri               : Used against sore throat and scorpion sting among others

31.   Khair Champha     : Used against gonorrhea and diarrhoea among others

32.   Sarpagandha          : Used against chronic mental illness, high blood pressure among others.

33.   Erandel                 It is a purgative

34.   Karo                      : Used to improve blood pressure

35.   Jambhul                : Used to control diabetes. Used against asthma, bronchitis among others,

36.   Chinch                   : It is a laxative

37.   Gulvel                   : It is a tonic. It used against diarrhoea and dysentery

38.   Sadaphuli               : It is used to control diabetes. It may be useful in leukaemia

39.   Nigund                  : Promotes growth of hair, useful diseases of the eye, asthma, luccoderma

40.  Bora                      : It is a tonic and a laxative among other things

Environment and Ecology

Peaceful Society’s concern with the environment was manifest very early in its existence. In 1984 itself, it hosted a meeting of Environmentalist from the South of India to examine the process of environmental degradation and the need for social protection of forests in particular and the environment in general, through mobilizing and involving local communities.

In 1985 it was the organizer of an Environmental Awareness Campaign in Goa. This was a weeklong program covering almost all the major centres in Goa. The presence of Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna of the Chipko movement helped to focus attention of the issue and create an awareness of the need for concerted and comprehensive action to protect the environment. As mentioned earlier, PS’s experience of the Vanvasi Sanghatan in Cotigaon had determined its own environmental objectives and approach and provided a strong motivation for an effective action programme. This took concrete shape in the Save The Western Ghats Movement in which PS played a key role

SWGM

The Save the Western Ghats Movement (SWGM) was a landmark event in environmental activism in India. It was one of the first of its kind in the country and became the model for numerous campaigns all over India.

In October 1986, PS organised a national consultation on environment, during which it was decided to organize a march along the entire length of the Western Ghats, to focus attention on the urgent need to halt the process of degradation that was threatening to create irremediable damage to the entire area. The goal was to create an integrated Ecological perspective providing for both environmental protection as well as the rights of the rural communities. Later, Peaceful Society was appointed the Coordinating Agency of the entire event as Central Coordinator.

Organizational Structure

The march had two Joint Coordinating Agencies, one for the Northern Districts, in Gujarat and most of the Western Maharashtra and another for the Southern states of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

A National Advisory Committee was formed, with the renowned anthropologist, Prof. K.C. Malhotra as the Chairperson and with eminent persons in various related fields as members to provide support and advice.

The actual March planning and management was the responsibility of the Central Organising Committee with Kumar Kalanand Mani of Peaceful Society as Central Coordinator.

In the field there were the parallel regional structures for the Northern and the Southern stretches of the Ghats. There were two broad divisions, one the March Committee to look after the logistics of and during the march itself, the other the Field Committee which had overall charge of preparations and planning and of monitoring the activities of the various Regional and State Committees. Each of the States in turn had their own sub-committees to look after the different activities like environmental studies, mobilising communities, publicity etc.

All the committees were very active and shared responsibility with greater effectiveness. The scale of preparations was immense with compilation of data on various issues, surveys of ‘hot spots’, which were specially vulnerable or critical, articles and statements in the press, liaison with local organizations and institutions for active participation and support of various kinds.

Southern Marchers entering into Goa

Peaceful society played a leading role in this process of planning and mobilizing and was actively involved in

·         Ensuring government cooperation and support. (The Department of Environment, Govt. of India provided a grant for organizational expenses.)

·         Mobilizing action groups and NGOs for a broad based participation

·         Getting the support of Universities, academics and intellectuals and influential persons in the literary field.

·         Forming of the various committees as different levels.

·         Publicity and PR

·         Getting the support of Universities, academics and intellectuals and influential persons in the literary field.

·         Forming of the various committees as different levels.

·         Publicity and PR

·         Monitoring preparations for the March from Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu.

·         Monitoring the actual march logistics and trouble shooting during the March

·         Hosting the final meet at the end of the march.

The March: November 1987 – February 1987

The March was a 100 days event, which included 95 days of actual travel along the entire length of the Ghats plus 5 days of Conference and meetings in Goa. The march was in two teams, one starting from Navapur in the North and the other from Kanyakumari in the south. Representatives from over 160 Organizations and thousands of individuals participated in the march, the number sometimes swelling to several hundred at any one time for shorter stretches. There were over 600 meetings conducted during the course of the route

The marching teams and the associated meetings generated tremendous enthusiasm among all sections of people all along the route and the entire nation as well. The enthusiasm of youth and their eagerness to be involved was especially heartening. There was extensive media coverage not only in the local press but also on the national and even international level.

The enthusiasm in Goa itself, where the March was planned and finally culminated was even greater. Here there were 4 teams starting from each of the corners of the State and as they marched to the final meeting place, the Ramnathi in Bandora where Peaceful Society’s main office was located, there was a great sense of excitement and enthusiasm in the entire area.

All the teams converged on Bandora where there were three days of sharing of the participants followed by a 2-day conference on “ save the western Ghats”. The entire group of over 700 marchers then marched to Panjim for a final rally, where thousands more joined them.

The total expenses for the March was estimated at over Rs. 3 Crores but almost all of this was raised by the local committees and groups. The actual budget of the Central Organising Committee was of about Rs 4.8 lakhs, out of which Rs. 3.8 lakhs was a grant from the Department of the Environment of the Government of India. At the end of the march Rs 28,000 was returned as unspent!

A Lost Opportunity?

The SWGM was a landmark event in the environmental sector, on par with other key movements like the Chipko Movement and later on the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Even today it is hailed as a truly historic event and has been the inspiration and the model for many other similar movements and marches all over the country.

The immediate effects of the March were tremendous, with immense support generated all along the route march and elsewhere. The enthusiasm of the youth from all classes of society for the goals of the march was remarkable. Unfortunately, the movement was not able to effectively capitalize on this enthusiasm and translate it into a force for a more sustainable and comprehensive alternative development process rooted in the local environment and based on the active participation of the people. There was no effective follow-up because the participating agencies and individuals were not able to reach a consensus on an action plan.

With hindsight, PS feels that it could (and should) have played a more proactive role in the post march period. It did in fact propose a plan but was not able to swing the others behind it and in the interest of solidarity backed away from imposing its view, as might well have been possible. Even if the group as such was not willing to go along, it feels that it would have been able to implement the plan in some of the States at least.

The PS plan was to go back to the communities all along the march route with a three stage program for environmental change for the better while simultaneously building strong and effective people’s organizations to sustain the achievements of the march and post march development.

The first stage would be a massive afforestation program. This was a non-controversial agenda which would therefore be broadly acceptable to all, including the government and Forest Department Officials, and which would have great impact on the environment as well. At the same time, local groups would be empowered and trained to manage the plantations and also build capacity for micro planning to use the products for local needs.

At the end of two years, this would be presented to the government as an alternative model where local communities could manage (and fund) their own development process at the village or area level. And in three years this could become the basis for a local Self-governance Structure.

While these ideals could not be given reality after the SWGM, they nevertheless remained alive in PS activity through the next few years and finally found another ‘avatar’ in the Swaraj Movement. A key learning was the need to ensure that movement leadership was not with the “elite”, no matter how committed personally, but remained with the people at the ground level.

Impact of SWGM on PS

For a variety of reasons, if there was one event, which could be said to be the determining factor in PS’s history, it is undoubtedly the Save the Western Ghats March. The impact was both internally, on the future shape and direction of PS’s work as well as externally, in the opportunities for involvement and cooperation with other groups and organizations.

·         Awareness of Opportunity in people’s enthusiasm and readiness for sacrifice especially on the part of the youth. Though PS felt that it had lost a great opportunity in channelising the enthusiasm generated through the march, it made sure that this would not happen again and the effect of this is seen in the present major involvement of the Swaraj Movement.

·         Linkages with likeminded organizations in and out of Goa. PS had worked closely with local communities and numerous institutions all over the state and the relationships developed during the time of preparation and the march resulted in many fruitful joint ventures in the subsequent years. This was especially so with regard to environmental issues and the March generated both awareness of and enthusiasm to tackle related problems in Goa.

·         Realization of PS capability for organization,

·         Mobilizing people and linking with other organizations. PS had played a leading role in the march preparation and the actual march organization and this developed both confidence and skills which has stood it in good stead in alter years

·         Awareness of efficacy of joint programs. Networks with other like-minded organization s now became one the key characteristics of PS’s work.

·         The Goa Afforestation Program: Though PS was not able to implement its plan for a comprehensive afforestation program all along the Western Ghats; it did implement it on a small scale in Ponda, Canacona and Pedne Taluka Goa as a follow-up program. The program was for schools & colleges and was a great success over three years.

 II. Spreading Branches: 1989 – 1993

By 1988 Peaceful Society has set down firm roots and now spread its branches in both development work as well as in the environmental sector. The experiences of the SWGM also had a ripple effect on all these works and the tempo and character of PS activity now changed noticeably

After the March Goa was fully alive with regard to environmental issues and many joint programs resulted .PS had also became known for its commitment to this issue and recognized for its organizational capability. Consequently it was asked to coordinate other state level campaigns/movements, which became the distinguishing feature in the next phase of its existence.

THE ANTI-NYLON 6,6 AGITATION: 1988-97

The Anti Nylon 6,6 was basically a people’s movement supported by different NGOs and support groups. The agitation was noteworthy in that this one of the first instances where the recently constituted Panchayati Raj Institutions were able to assert their newfound authority effectively.

Locals celebrating Republic Day at Nylon 6’6 site

 

The State government had allotted 500 acres to the Thapar group for the construction of a factory to produce a synthetic product, Nylon 6,6 in collaboration with Dupont. The process used was highly polluting and the factory was situated in an area, which would result in serious damage to land and water resources in a large area surrounding the factory. The land allotted was mostly communidade land – land owned by the village communities. In spite of strong pressure from above, the gram panchayat in the affected villages took a strong stand against the project. PS along with other NGOs was active in providing relevant information and training to the concerned groups, and did a great part of the spadework, liasing with the police and media, and also in conflict resolution within the movement. As the level of state oppression escalated, and TADA was used to break the resistance movement, Kalanand Mani, the executive secretary of PS was one of those against whom TADA warrants were issued. The attempts to repress the movement culminated in a brutal firing on a group of agitators in which one youth was killed. Eventually, the pressure, both local and national, proved too much for the government and it pulled out of the project, which was then abandoned.

As mentioned, PS was active in providing support to the movement both during and after the actual agitation period. This took concrete shape in a local institution in Savoiverem where the youth formed a Gram Vikas Kendra, which remained active even after the successful outcome of the agitation and took on long-term development activities in the area. Today it is implementing agency for a government-funded project for Watershed Development.

ECO FORUM

In 1991, PS lead in bringing environmental groups in Goa on one platform which finally resulted in the formation of Eco forum, (an umbrella of Environmental Organizations in Goa) with the aim of creating a base for comprehensive and sustained activity on environmental issues, rather than the short bursts of single- issue campaigns. PS was made the convenor of the Forum and under its initiative the pivotal status report on the Goa environment was completed and published as “Fish Curry Rice”.

WILD LIFE PROTECTION GROUP: 1993

This was an attempt to establish a non-partisan educational group to impart “ Nature Education” to the young population. Four nature camps were organised for school students and nature lovers. The group undertook a study of “Biological Role of the Carombolim Lake”. This study and strong resistance against the then proposed Konkan railway” led to the formation of a study team by the Union Govt. of India. The strategy was to mobilize local youth and to involve the community in a number of field studies on the ecological role of the wetlands. In the end, the alignment of the railway line, which originally would have bisected the Carombolim wetlands, effectively destroying it, was shifted to the northern boundary of the lake area and much of the wetlands were thereby preserved.

ORGANIC / NATURAL FARMING 1991

Modern farming promotes the growth of crops in isolation, with the use of hybrid seeds & excessive chemical fertilizers, giving rise to monoculture. This has resulted in soil erosion & decreased soil fertility.

The dangers of Conventional fertilizers as human health hazards & their pollution of the environment has encouraged the search & application of alternative methods to increase soil fertility. The answer to these problems is Natural Farming (NF) – a suitable alternative to modern farming.

NF an age old process was replaced by chemical monoculture process which resulted in depletion of indigenous varieties of crops, fruits, vegetables, flowers & other parts, depletion of underground water-table & excessive use of hazardous chemicals at the risk of normal life.

Reapplication of the age-old system of NF is an old alternative to this new problem, which has risen due to the so-called scientific chemical farming.

On a NF fruit trees, vegetables, grains & other crops are planted & grow in an organic & mutually favourable arrangement as a harmonious whole. Crop rotation is employed to make use of land while maintaining soil fertility.

Goa has vast natural resources but their overuse could lead to ecological imbalance & environmental problems causing irreparable damage. The aim of the PS is to work towards creating more balanced ecology by undertaking various socio economic measures in agriculture, thereby presenting the Gandhian model of ideal life & environment for the people.

In order to be in time with nature & create a stable environment, NF was undertaken by the society. NF denotes a return to nature. It essentially means the natural cultivation of crops without chemical fertilizers in a soil & environment under totally natural conditions.

Status of the farm in the year 1990

The farm area of around 2 hectares was purchased in Jan.1989, at Madkai, a small scenic interior village, 15km from Ponda town & 25 km from Panjim. It was at that time highly eroded. The soil was composed of compact laterite.

It was decided not to resort to modern farming which needs a lot of investment & care besides use of pesticides & fertilizers. Results of such farming depend on investment of manpower, money, water etc. Mr. Mani, the Executive Secretary of Peaceful Society was aware of experiment in NF in Japan & Madhya Pradesh. PS being one of the active environmental NGO in Goa & India, the prime need was to adopt some of the best processes that tradition had to offer.

The land had mango, cashew & coconut trees but most of them yielded little or no fruit.

When Mr. + Mrs. Mani took charge they had no previous experience of farming or horticulture. Confused due to their lack of knowledge & propaganda of chemical fertilizers, they decided to experiment with NF.

In this chaotic state, Mr. Mike Feingold – a British expert organised training in NF in Dec.1990 & PS began work to improve the overall condition of the farm in June 1991.

Mike Feingold demonstrating about organic Farming

NF was therefore undertaken for the following reasons: –

o        To economize & reduce minimum input costs and save labour

o        To enhance land fertility by promoting use of organic fertilizers as opposed to chemical on the overall.

o        To increase vegetation cover, density and plant – biomass.

o        To improve and maintain campus biodiversity.

o        To increase yield of harvested fruits & improve plant productivity.

o        To replenish & recharge ground water table.

o        To become self sufficient in soil, crop and irrigation management and organically grown food production.

PROCESSES ADOPTED IN NF

Promotion Of Ecological Farming By Use Of Organic Manure

The first priority was to increase the fertility of soil & thereby the overall performance of the farm.

Developing topsoil: a mix experiment with shrubs, paper and coconut husk

 

The first two years were spent in trying to control the unprecedented growth of unwanted weeds especially Mimosa Pudica (Lajula – “Touch – me – not”)

During the first two years, the traditional method of putting fire to burn the weeds was employed in the months of February & March. This solved the problem for a few months but destroyed the quality of soil & did not help in improving the performance of the farm.

Mr. Mani then realised that the soil also has its biotic life, especially the soil micro organisms, the insects, worms & when the fire destroyed them; it gave rise to numerous unwanted weeds. Hence from the third year onwards no fire was applied.

The First experiment to use weeds as organic manure was made in a small area. A lot of dry mango & coconut leaves were put on top of the weeds to create a mulch of 15.20 cms.

In a short span of 3 to 4 months, the area became a breeding ground for earthworms, the growth of weeds was controlled & they were converted into mulch.

In the second phase, the entire farm was converted into compost of organic manure. The weeds were allowed to grow till September up to a height of more than one meter. Then they were cut & left on the surface as a green mulch. This was covered by a thick layer of coconut coir obtained from the rope industry from Kundaim – an industrial area nearby. Thus shortly the entire farm was converted into fertile land. The weeds, which posed a problem before, were now a great asset.

Digging of land was also avoided. That work is done either by the earthworms or soil – borrowing fauna during the monsoons.

Promotions Of The Growth Of Local Population Of Earthworms

Taking care of Indigenous Earthworms

As the earthworms help in the conversion of organic waste into manure, their local

population was increased by providing the right environmental conditions for their growth – for e.g. the mulch.

Dr. Nandakumar Kamat, a Mycologist of Goa University & Mr Kenneth Rodrigues – a postgraduate student in Biotechnology, conducted a study of the local population of earthworms. It showed that earthworm biomass is sizeable within the campus where cashew litter is not spread. (Click Here for Earthworm Investigation)

Water Conservation

Well & rainwater is used for irrigation. All attempts are made to conserve rainwater, which increase the ground water table. The mulch reduced the evaporation of and therefore its consumption. Hence plants need to be watered from February till onset of monsoons.

Improve Of Existing Plants, Trees And New Additions

New plantations are less because the aim was to improve the existing plant yield. This was achieved mainly by improving the soil fertility. Vegetable & flowering plants are planted season wise.

Eco-Restoration By Conversion Of Coir – Pith Into Fertilizer Using Mushroom Culture Pleurets Ostreatus

Mushroom in the campus

The mother spawn of the mushrooms was prepared under the guidance of Dr. Nandkumar Kamat & was used to inoculate coir – pith beds of appx 100 kgs. The fertilizer was then used for the trees. Mushroom mycelia threads degrade the coir fibres and increase the Nitrogen Content. The fermented coir – pith is also a good soil- conditioner, as it retains 6 times its weight of water.

Results of NF

Within a short span of 6 year the farm has become a model of NF in Goa with the following achievements.

In the first two years there was a problem of pest attack. But weeds were allowed to grow & vegetables were cultivated with mixed crop system & indegenous & exotic flowering plants were grown, it resulted in depletion of the pest attack. It was realised that the burning process employed had killed the ants, bugs & flies, which in turn fed on the pests.

From the third year onwards no fire was employed, there was increase in weeds & shrubs, many more flowering plants were allowed to grow, more bugs & ants were noticed.

The weeds were used as mulch. This acted as a protective covering of the soil surface. Mulch moderates the soil temperature & protects soil from the damaging effects of wind, rain & sun thus preventing soil erosion.

It further acts as weed barried.

The weeds also increase the water infilteration by trapping the water on the surface & holding it, till it has time to be absorbed. Thus it has helped to increase the water table. Till the year 1993, the tank & well would overflow after 1 month of rains. But now after the first 1 – 2 rain showers, the tank gets filled up.

A survey conducted by Dr. Nandkumar Kamat showed that there is a tremendous increase in the diversity of fungi and mushrooms. Upto the year 1991-92 mushrooms were seen only after July-August. Now they grow soon after the first rainfall in June. This is a clear indication of the increased soil fertility in terms of rich organic matter.

The survey of earthworms showed that an open space with direct sunlight in which only dry grass composed the humus layer did not support the growth of the worms. Shaded area with mainly Mimosa Pudica plants & grass & where the humus layer composed of dry little supported earthworm growth in the upper 10 cm of soil.

The best earthworm rich habitat was a site with partial shade in which the original vegetation was cleaned & mulch in the form of dry grass was spread over the soil. Large earthworms of 5-10 cms length were found just below the humus layer of dry grass, twigs & dry leaves.

Hence the mulching process did help in enriching the soil.

Table No. I – indicates the increase in the yield of fruit bearing trees.

Some of the coconut trees were mal-nourished & did not yield any nuts. When an officer of the Agriculture department was contacted, he advised to cut the existing trees & plant new ones for both yield, but instead of cutting the trees the farm people utilized the method of organic fertilizers. In three years time the trunk of the coconut trees not only showed increase in growth but also showed an increase in yield. Trees which didn’t bear fruit earlier also started giving f r u i t of the apex 116 coconut

Trees, around 70-75 give a good yield. The rest have started fruiting. Earlier only half a day was enough to harvest the coconuts, now around seven days are required.

The first crop of cashews yielded 45 kg. (appx) In 1200, it has increased to around 300 kg.

The different mango varieties grown on the farm are mankurad, Masurad, Fernand, Kulaso, Alfanso, Maldesh, Saccharina, etc.

Economic Viability

One of the major objectives of N.F is self-reliance with minimum expenses. The disadvantages of chemical farming is recognised the world over because it is capital incentive & the return is not very satisfactory.

India is spending more than 12,000 crores per annum from the central budget on subsidy of food & fertilizers.

N.F. is more labour insentive than capital insentive. The expense of maintaining the farm was appx Rs.45, 000 in 1993. In 1995-96 it was reduced to around Rs.12, 000. Most of the fruits are sold; vegetables are used for consumption in the campus. The Mango trees are leased out for harvesting every year when the fruits attain appx half the size, with the condition that no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used. The total income of the mango trees was Rs.15, 000 in 1993. In 1996, it went upto Rs. 23000/- and Rs 62000/= in 2003.

Ecological Importance

NF is an environmentally friendly process. The raw materials used for organic manure are free & cheap. It is pollution free, which is otherwise caused by the use of chemical fertilizers. It preserves genetic diversity & maintains life-sustaining processes like clean air & water.

The farm has provided an enriched atmosphere for birds, insects etc. The birds help transfer seeds which help support neighbouring biology. New birds are seen every year. Water Conserved at the farm could be recharging the other wells & tanks in the surrounding area. Whatever soil nutrients are generated is transformed to neighbouring area, thus increasing the overall fertility of the soil. Biodiversity on the campus is well maintained and includes shrubs, herbs, epiphytes, macro fungi, beneficial insects, earthworms’ etc. which form a local area food – chain.

Problems encountered during NF experiment

One of the major problems faced was that of manpower. Earlier people depended on agriculture, but with the expansion of industrial estates in nearby areas, the labour has been diverted. Local labourers go to places like Chandor, Chodan, Neura & Dongri, where they get higher wages. In average the farm employes 3 labourers, but even their attendance is not regular. Thus, although there were plans of an integrated approach of having a dairy, poultry, sheep rearing biogas and 3 layers of mixed cropping system, it could not be practiced.

The labourers were eager to burn the weeds, they also felt that the farm was not kept clean & was not managed properly.

Monkeys (Common Indian Languor) are common in the entire region. They could cause destruction of the fruits & trees but a strategy has been adopted at the farm in which the monkeys are restricted to the fence area. Still, they are the biggest hurdles in developing the farm. They have lost their habitat in the hand of fathers of industrial development and our farm has become their new habitat and source of survival.

At present there is no local outlet for the farm products. Moreover the local people depend on a staple diet of fish & eat vegetables only during the “ Shravan” month. People hesitate to buy a little expensive but eco-friendly products.

Right now the vegetables are used on the farm itself or sold to interested visitors. Many find the difference in taste but find the farm too far away to be regular buyers, so they are encouraged to practice the use of organic fertilizers & follow same methods.

Future

According to Mr. Mani, the farm should be inspiring for everyone in whichever integrated approach is practiced. He admits that personally he has no experience of farming & although some of his colleagues expressed doubts about NF, he was not discouraged. Based on experiences he read in books & documents he knew that NF stimulates basic improvement of soil fertility & biotransformation. The campus today is living example of growth in yield and diversities of the trees and various plants. In a short span he realised that NF is much more profitable interms of money invested, manpower involved & other bio-support than the so-called modern farming.

Due to manpower constraints his dream of an integrated farm has remained a dream. He is saddened that he cannot devote his entire time to the development of the farm.

Mr. Mani has some reservations regarding vermiculture. He says it is not the job of the urban elite to decide what farmers require. The earthworms are an integral part of the soil. They are destroyed only when the integrity of the soil is destroyed. So instead of thinking of vermiculture one must concentrate on maintaining the ecology of the soil.

Earlier the village people were sceptical of the natural methods used. They have this set idea that chemical farming is the most useful due to government propaganda. They use manure in addition to chemical fertilizers so they don’t really know if the yield is due to organic or chemical fertilizers. They have a mental constraint to completely give up chemical fertilizer. But seeing the viability of the farm, they have realised that NF is one of the best system of farming.

In Mr. Mani’s own words – “ I feel a sort of intimate relation with every plant and get a deep satisfaction while working with plants. Frustrated or depressed. I move around the farm and get a great sense of relief and peace. Farming is not only a commercial activity but also a life supporting activity. Those who want a better life should think of sustainability of their life and farm. Whatever money you may have be lost, but if you have a small farm it is a shelter in your worst moment. Destruction of this activity is the destruction of the very principle of life”

Family Health

In her enlightening speech, she emphasized upon following important health-related precautions and measures. This information may prove vital to one and all:

1.           Man should have balanced and nutritious diet. Besides rice and wheat, the diet should also include cereals, milk, eggs, green vegetables (both cooked and uncooked), fruits etc.

2.           The vegetables should be washed properly before cutting in order to preserve its nutritive value.

3.           The vegetables should not be over-cooked.

4.           The use of preservatives, colours and artificial odours should be avoided in preparation of food.

5.           In order to avoid the problem of thyroid, iodised salt should be preferred.

6.           The eatable-oils should not be over-used.

7.           The allergic substances should be avoided. The symptoms of allergy are vomiting, dysentery, stomachache, joint pains, swelling of skin, dry coughing etc.

8.            Cold drinks / soft drinks should be avoided.

9.           The diet should be based on the life style of a person.  A person doing labour work should have heavy diet and the one having more of brainwork by continuously sitting on a chair should go for light diet.

10.       To avoid unwanted eating before and after food in order to ensure better digestion. It is proved that over-eating can lead to ill health.

11.       The sweets should not be eaten before food.

12.       Every person should have adequate in take of water before going to bed and after getting up from sleep in order to ensure better digestion and avoid kidney problems.

13.       The morning breakfast should be adequate enough to avoid the acidity problem. At least, morning breakfast should consist of a glass full of milk.

14.       The tiffin carried by school and college-going students should not include oily foods.

15.       For drinking, only boiled and disinfected water should be used.

16.       Girls and women participating in sports and also during summer days should drink adequate fruits juice.

17.       Aluminium and indalium utensils should not be used for storing or cooking sour food.

18.       Steel spoons should not be kept in pickle bottles for long intervals.

19.       Women with high blood pressure before menstruation period or women who experience swelling during the time of pregnancy should consume less salt in their diet.

20.       It is good to avoid hotel food for the health purpose. Due attention should be provided to cleanliness before buying hotel food or else the consumption of contaminated food can lead to amoebic infection.

21.       Eatables should always be properly closed to avoid contamination from flies and other insects.

22.       The fruits should be properly washed before eating to cleanse away the insecticides and other chemicals.

23.       A proper diet as advised by Doctor should be taken during ailments like stomach ulcer, diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases, kidney diseases and liver problems etc.

 Precautions About Cleanliness:

1.           At least, once in a day bath should be taken. Bath should not be avoided for simple sicknesses. Women with long hair should take bath on their heads at least twice in a week.

2.           Nails should be cut at least once in a week with the help of nail cutter and not with the help of teeth.

3.           Due care should be taken to clean private parts of the body.

4.           Proper washing and cleaning of the clothes should be ensured before using them. Clothes, once used get dirt and sweat and therefore should be immediately washed.

5.           Due care should be taken to hot wash the clothes used by persons suffering from skin diseases.

6.           Napkins and towels should be washed after regular intervals.

7.           Clothes should be properly dried before wearing to avoid skin infection due to fungus.

8.           Under wares should be properly washed and dried before wearing.

9.           Mouth should be washed twice in a day, once while getting up from bed and again before going to bed.

10.       Proper cleanliness should be maintained during menstrual period, pregnancy and delivery.

11.       Coughing and spitting should be avoided in public places. During unavoidable times of coughing and sneezing, due care should be taken to use handkerchief to avoid spread of diseases.

12.       Due cleanliness should be maintained in house as well as in the surrounding areas to avoid infections like malaria.

13.       Trees should be planted around house to purify air.

Precautions About Children:

1.               Mother should provide adequate milk by breast-feeding to an infant during first four months. If, there is difficulty in getting mother’s milk then, out side skimmed milk or the milk of cow should be provided to an infant.

2.               Priority should be given to arrange home made food to infants.

3.               A child should be given iron drops after completion of two months.

4.               A child should not be forced to eat.

5.               Due care should be taken to vaccinate a child against BCG, Polio, hepatitis –B, Chicken pox, rabies, typhoid etc.

6.               A child should be administered with a medicine against round worms after nine months and the same medicine should be repeated after every three months.

7.               Medicines should be administered only after consulting and getting prescription of a medical practitioner.

8.               Hazardous materials like chemicals and inflammable liquids like petrol should be kept away from the hands of a child.

9.               Proper precaution should be taken to avoid the biting of mosquitoes by putting on long clothes to a child. Mosquito repellent like good night may be used by 6 p.m. and should be kept at the places from where the mosquitoes are likely to enter the house.

10.           Proper flow of air should be ensured in bedroom by keeping open at least ventilators of the windows.

11.           Putting warm clothes to a child should be avoided during the time of fever. Proper preliminary medicines should be readily available at home.

12.            A child should be given electrolyte to drink during the time of vomiting and diarrhoea.

13.           A child with problem of hysteria should be kept away from danger by not allowing them to go near river, fire and places of heights etc.

14.            Special care and attention should be provided towards underdeveloped child having low I.Q.

15.           Exercise being an important aspect, a child should be encouraged to go for in-door as well as out-door games.

16.           Good qualities and hobbies should be inculcated in a child like reading good books, planting trees etc.

17.           Good prayers also play a major role in child development.

18.           Attention should be provided towards the behaviour of a child and any misdeed should be corrected in time.

19.           If a child regularly fails in completing studies then, proper medical check-up of eyes and ears should be done. Before building any expectation from a child, a thorough check-up should be done to ensure the intelligence quotient of that particular child. This can avoid frustration arising due to unrealistic expectations of parents from a child.

20.           Parents should not enforce their wishes and expectations about education and career on a child. But, proper care should be taken to understand the positive qualities and hidden talents of a child and accordingly parents should encourage a child by setting goals before him or her.

21.           Tension can be built upon eyes by excessive viewing of television programmes and can consequently lead to headaches.

22.           Proper love and care is essential for the all-round growth of a child.

23.           Parents should behave properly to ensure discipline in a child since; all parents are the first role models before their children.

24.           Good qualities [Samskar] and good habits should be inculcated in a child.

25.           There should not be gender discrimination among children.

Precautions During Adolescence:

1.               Adolescence is a very sensitive and delicate transitional stage from childhood to puberty. Therefore, proper guidance and emotional support during this period is very important for the growth a child into a full-fledged man.

2.               For an all-round growth during this vital period, nutritious diet should be provided with additional supplement of iron and calcium to girls and proteins to boys.

3.               Girls and boys should be properly educated about physical and emotional changes occurring during this adolescence stage and prepare their minds to accept this natural change.

4.               Proper emphasis should be laid on educating girls about menstruation period ad the precautions to be taken during this time. Girls attending Schools and colleges should carry proper food and water during this period.

5.               An adolescent child should be properly guided by taking into confidence during this critical phase of growth.

6.               A child should not experience isolation but parents should befriend them.

7.                A child committing mistakes should be rectified in proper manner without hurting feelings of that child.

8.               A boy should not be allowed more to associate and rely upon father in order to avoid inferiority complex during later period.

9.                A child should be properly guided about their future role in the society. A child should also be made aware about various opportunities available in the fields of education and career. Proper guidance about the future vocation of a child should be based on the realistic assessment of the qualities and hidden talents of a child.

10.           Parents ought to be the first and the best friends of a child for the all-round growth of that child.

11.            A child should be encouraged to practise and follow the science of Yoga for better physical and mental health along with other sports activities.

12.            Reading habits should be encouraged in a child.

13.           A child should be inculcated with spirit of self-confidence. Self-confidence is the pre-requisite of personality development.

14.           A child during this period should be properly guided about the diseases and ailments, which can be prevented like AIDS etc.

15.           Misconceptions and misunderstandings should be clarified to have sanity of mind and body in a growing child.

16.           During this vital growing phase of a child, proper emphasis should be laid on imparting moral values and spirit of discipline to ensure better disciplined and responsive citizen in the later period.

17.           An atmosphere conducive for healthy inter-personal relationships among all the members should be maintained in a house. This will ensure proper growth of a child. The conflicts and jealousies within the parents can misguide and mislead a child to bad habits and bad friendships.

 

Pregnancy Period:

1.               A balance diet is required during this period. The diet should prominently consist of milk two times in a day along with food items rich in calcium and iron.

2.               The physical and emotional changes taking place in a woman during pregnancy period should be well explained to her in order to avoid misunderstanding.

3.               A pregnant woman should undergo all necessary tests and examinations as prescribed by the Doctor.

4.               A pregnant woman must test the blood group.

5.               A pregnant woman should go for required treatment in case of any ailment.

6.               During pregnancy a woman can do household works.

7.               A woman should prepare her mind to welcome child.

8.               A woman should gather information about pregnancy and related matters from responsible and knowledgeable persons.

9.               A woman should maintain all-cleanliness during and after pregnancy.

10.           A pregnant woman should take adequate rest. Whenever possible, a woman should take rest by sleeping on the left side of her body. This helps in blood circulation and better growth of the child.

11.           A pregnant woman should go for tetanus vaccination at appropriate time.

12.           A pregnant woman should not undergo any ex-ray examination during the first three months of her pregnancy. However, if need be Doctor can advise the woman to go for any such tests.

13.           Unless and until prescribed by any competent Doctor, pregnant woman should avoid all sorts of medicines.

Delivery Period And Breast-Feeding:

1.           Clean and safe atmosphere should be maintained during the time of delivery. It is always safe and in the best interest of the mother and child to prefer delivery in the hospital.

2.           Mother’s milk is the best diet for an infant.

3.           The initial secretion of milk should not be thrown out because it is very nutritious and essential for the newborn child.

4.           A mother should start breast-feeding an infant after two hours from the time of delivery.

5.           A mother should comfortably sit down and take proper posture while breast-feeding a child.

6.            Cleanliness should be maintained during this period.

7.           After breast-feeding, a child should be made to belch.

8.            Immediately after breast-feeding, a child should not be made to lie down.

9.           There is no need to feed water if, a child is exclusively relying on mother’s milk.

10.       If, there is difficulty in breast-feeding due to withdrawal of nipple inside the breast then, nipple shield should be used or the mother’s milk should be spoon-fed to a child.

11.       A mother should attend a child with care, peace of mind and confidence.

12.       A mother should consume balance diet.

13.       In case, a mother is unable to breast-feed her child then, powder milk may be fed in appropriate proportion.

14.       In case of powder milk, a child requires water. This water requirement may be only for two times in a day.

15.       If, a child is fat then, fresh milk of cow and she-buffalo should be avoided at least for first two months period. However, this milk can be fed after two to three months to such child.

 

Family Planning: 

1.           Breast-feeding women should take special care during menstruation period.

2.           Parents should maintain a gap of three years between the births of first child to second child.

3.           Appropriate measures of family planning should be adopted by consulting Doctor.

4.           After planning the family, either husband or wife should undergo operation to avoid future pregnancy.

5.           It is best advisable to have a family of maximum two children.

 

Precautions To Be Taken By A Woman After An Age Of Forty Years

1.           After every two years, a woman should consult gynaecologist.

2.            A woman should always do self check-up of the breasts. In case of any doubt, a woman should always go for a medical check-up.

3.           A woman should not consume tobacco or any product made of tobacco.

4.           In absence of menstruation period or in case of excessive bleeding, a woman should always consult a Doctor.

5.           At the time of menopause, a woman should take special precaution. She should exercise, consume less salt and avoid edible oils. She should check-up blood pressure regularly. She should also increase intake of calcium rich diet.

 

Precautions To Be Taken By A Man:

1.           The diet of a man should be balanced with nutritious items like cereals, fish and eggs etc.

2.           The diet of a man should depend upon the type of work he does. A man doing physical and hard work should eat more. A man not doing more of physical work should take precaution while eating.

3.           An appropriate diet should be chosen in case a man suffers from any ailment like diabetes, pressure, ulcer and kidney or liver problems etc.

4.           Exercise is very important for every man and more particularly for the one who is spending more time in an office by doing sitting work.

5.           After forty years of age, there should be regular medical check-up.

6.           Medicines if prescribed, should be taken regularly.

7.           A man should always abstain from all types of bad habits and addictions. The addictions, as we all know, destroy not only the person but also the total family life of a person.

8.           A person with an inclination towards bad habit like drinking alcohol should be handled properly by his family members.  All efforts should be made to divert him from this bad habit. If need be, counselling from a competent person and also medical help should be taken to save the person from ruining his as well as his family life.

 

Precautions During Old Age

1.           Proper care should be taken of the aged people in a family.

2.           An old man in a family is like a child and should be treated accordingly.

3.           An old person in a family should be treated with all love and respect.

 

To conclude with, it can be said that a woman plays a crucial role in maintaining a family. If a woman is happy, contented and confident then, the entire family remains happy and contented.

 

Health Talk

The following were the educative talk were held on women & child health at Peaceful Society

Measles: Exact presentation of measles, misunderstanding, prevailing, about diet during measles, other rashes confusing with measles, complications of measles, care of the patient with measles, vaccination importance.

Mumps: Presentation of mumps, misconcepts and confusions, other swellings confusing with mumps, care of oral hygiene, importance of nutrition, complications of mumps, vaccination.

Chicken Pox: Presentation, description of eruptions, importance of period and infectivity of the disease, diet-hygiene, prevention of secondary infections, other boils confusing with chicken pox, vaccination.

Jaundice: Mod of transmission, presentation and symptoms, exact dietary restrictions period and importance of resumption of normal diet. Other factors like rest, other hygienic care, prevention of spread to other members of family and around.

Diarrhoea & Dysentery: Importance of electrolyte and fluid replacement orally to prevent dehydration in any type of loose motions, need for prompt management, cause factor, treatment and prevention specially by avoiding exposed foods, hotel foods etc.

Fevers: Management of a child with fever, special care for children with febrile convulsions care during a convulsion, prevention of convulsion prompt medical care, cause of fever and medical management accordingly.

Worm Infestations: Health hazards caused by worms, prevention of worm infestations by hygiene, prevention of open defecations, treatment regularly, exact dosage, schedule and fears of deworming and importance of adequate treatment, complications of half hearted treatment.

Malaria: Types of malaria, different presentations, different mosquitoes causing malaria, methods of prevention of mosquito breeding, prevention of mosquito bites, importance of prompt and adequate treatment, proper health check up, prevention of malaria in other members of family and around by prophylaxes.

Typhoid: Presentation, spread, management, importance of prompt and adequate treatment, blood investigations, diet, prevention of typhoid by hygiene and vaccination.

Tuberculosis: Exact cause, ways of spread, presentations, different systems involved, common complaints, treatment, details with importance of adequate treatment, regularity and continuation for prescribed time period, fellow up, prevention by hygienic care, vaccination, prophylactic treatment, social stigma misconcepts.

Scabies: Cause, presentation, treatment methods like soaps to prevent scabies, importance of public place washing of clothes, care during medicine application, importance of treatment for prescribed time.

Family Planning: Importance, methods, advantages, guidance towards spacing, number of children.

First Aid: Guidance towards certain day to day emergencies, first aid boxes, kits for dressing of wounds, hygiene care kit.

Blood Group: Types of blood groups, importance of knowledge of one’s blood group, incompatibilities, blood donation, phobias of blood donation, blood transfusions, factors responsible, avoidance of same, prevention of attacks, prevention of complications.

Gastrointestinal problems: Gastritis, enteritis, vomiting, malabsorption, intolerance, allergies, symptoms, management, prevention, special cases like appendicitis, intussusceptions, ovules, perforation due to worms, intestinal obstructions due to worms, how the care to be taken.

Aids & other sexually transmitted diseases: Explanation about the disease, mode of spread, presentation, management, prevention, awareness, social effect, effect on children, importance of each individual effort to wipe out the disease.

Poliomyelitis: Presentation, spread, prevention, with vaccination, pulse polio vaccination importance, management of poliomyelitis patients, rehabilitation.

Rabies: Presentation, management, vaccination, details for doses, care of bite area, importance of tetanus, vaccine, passive immunisation, dog observation, prevention.

Tetanus: Presentation in adult and new born, vaccination in pregnancy, children and men, importance of booster doses.

Fungal infections: Presentations, different types of fungal infections, management, hygiene, importance of dryness, prevention of moisture, clothes care, other preventive measures, importance of adequate treatment for prescribed time period

Whooping Cough: Presentation, management, diet, other case, prevention, vaccination, complications of whooping cough

Diphtheria: Presentation, care, complications, prevention, vaccination

Anaemia: Presentation, causes, treatment, diet, period of treatment.

Conjunctivitis: Presentation, management, cleanliness’ of eyes and other hygiene, prevention of spread.

Congenital defects: Birth defects, common types, special case about feeding etc., management, medical care.

Respiratory infections: Causes, upper and lower respiratory infections, presentations, bronchial asthma, management.

Breast feeding:- Education about breast feeding, techniques, posture, frequency of feed, position of the baby, care of nipple and breast, position of baby after feed, importance of burping before and after feeds, importance and advantages of breast feeds, time period for continuation of breast feeds.

Adolescence: Special care during adolescence, emotional, moral and other support, nutrition and other care, awareness of importance of body changes, menstrual cycles in girls, special care during periods, hygiene, fluid intake, adequate nutrition, exercise, rest, spiritual development.

Pyoderma: Presentation, management, importance of hygiene, adequate local and systemic treatment, prevention’s of abscess formation and of glomerulonephritis.

Glomerulonephritis: Presentation, prevention, care and management, importance of medical care, importance of intake, output chart, urine examination, fluid and dietary restrictions, hypertension associated with complications in case of delayed treatment.

Epilepsy: Exact presentations, different forms of presentation, causes, treatment, care during epileptic fit, avoidance of situations, dangerous for such patients, importance of treatment till prescribed period of time, investigations and management.

Female Foeticide: Equivalence to crime, importance of girl child, defects in techniques like ultrasonography, health hazards after procedures of termination of pregnancies, possibility of permanent sterility after abortions, women’s role in counteracting such social crimes, confidence and awareness by women to take decision under pressure.

Menopause: Symptoms, dietary changes, exercise, preoccupation, special attention to certain complaints for early detection, calcium supplements, hormone replacement therapy.

Care of women after age 40 : Menopausal changes, cervical cancer, importance of Pap’s smear, management, Breast cancer, self examination, investigations available, management, treatment available, phobias, importance of self confidence and pleasant approach.

Community Health

AIMS & OBJECTIVES

With the prevailing ‘misconceptions’ and attitudes of people in the society regarding essential aspects of health and nutrition, Peaceful Society decided to have a concrete initiatives on Health for a year with monthly follow up health check ups and health talks in the year 1987. Dr. Poornima N. Usgaonkar kindly agreed to pay one visit every month.

WORK PROCESS

The first health camp was held at Bandora-Goa & was attended by 25 children along with their mothers from poor community. A talk on “worm infestations” was given. Medicines required were prescribed and guidance towards nutrition was given since Anemia was prevalent with many cases of faulty feeding. Same Children attended the next follow up camp and it was obvious that the medicines prescribed were not bought and there was no much change in the health status of the children. So, for the third camp medicine samples with deworming medicines, certain antibiotics, cough syrups, iron supplements, calcium supplements samples brought from own clinic (“Usgaonker’s Children Clinic”) & were given to the patients as indicated. Most of the mothers were very happy since they could not get the exact benefit of the camp except for listening to the health talks, they could not buy the medicines prescribed as they did not get cooperation from the husbands. Subsequently, at every camp there was a health talk to start with, on separate topics and slowly the impact could be felt specially in deworming of the children. Earlier there were hundred queries about the deworming. Misconcepts prevailing in the older generations were coming in the way but with every camp the confidence between doctor and patients became stronger and slowly the advices were accepted on the first instance. The deworming trend began which was an outcome of proper explanations on hazards of worm infestations, exact method of medication which again was a very important factor since improper way and inadequate medicine would disturb worms, and create false impression on the patients about deworming. As for other medicines, though medicines were given after proper scrutiny, a little percentage of patients had their doubts about the expiry dates and all fancy doubts about medicines and avoided the camps initially. But to our surprise, over a period of time they were the most regular patients later on and the camps became a pleasant work with wholehearted participation of patients. Subsequently Peaceful Society partially bought medicines for the camps.  On completion of one year, on the demand from the public it was continued further and from 1990 it was shifted to Dhaknewada, Madkai, once Peaceful Society had shifted their office there. Initially the numbers of patients were not under control but later it was restricted to 25-30 per camp with their mothers. The mothers also received attention and their health problems were looked into, they were given iron, calcium supplements, deworming medicines and specific medicines for existing illnesses.

Interceptions did occur due to personal health problems. But soon the camps were resumed on recovery and Subsequently, since Sept. 1998, separate doctors for women were requested for their assistance in the check ups. During every visit, weight recording, examination in details, advice, Rx for the condition is given and records are maintained. Information regarding various health problems given during the camps and cases are picked up and demonstrated for better compliance.

Stress laid on different aspects regarding Health: –

NUTRITION

Health talks on nutrition at various ages of a child from antenatal period; new born stage; infancy, childhood and adolescence are given from time to time. Breast-feeding of the

children by mothers was stressed upon.  Because if the breast-feeding is not done or the mother doesn’t yield milk then the children may suffer from severe protein energy malnutrition, kwashiorkor etc. Therefore supplementary food in the form of powdered milk was supplied to the children with joint efforts of Usgaonker’s Clinic and Peaceful Society. Other deficiencies like iron, calcium etc. were taken care of by supplying regular iron and calcium tonics. The mothers were given calcium and iron supplements, too. Mothers’ nutrition was taken care with advices on proper ways of nutrition and importance of nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. Cerelac packets samples given to us by company on request were supplied regularly and the effect could be seen from the weight gain of the children. Cases of kwashiorkor were followed up under proper nutrition and their deficits were completely taken care. Advice on preparation of food items from locally available grains, vegetables & fruits is being given. Photographs, whenever possible were taken before and after treatment, showing the effect of proper management. Peaceful Society supplied eggs and milk for some period of time and pamphlets on nutrition for infants and children were distributed.

WORMS

A number of lectures with the emphasis on health problems caused by worms and the methods of preventing worms and treatment were delivered to give an impact on the mothers that worm removal is not hazardous which was a misconception for years. Pamphlets on prevention of worm infestations provided by Pfizer Co. were distributed. Removal of worms under certain seasons was a misnomer prevailing. This was effectively taken care and the de-worming treatment was streamlined and the people ultimately accepted it in such a pleasant way that every 3 months they take the medicines and come on their own for deworming purpose. The improvement in the health conditions is appreciable and the mothers could get convinced about the good effects of deworming and the initial resistance from the mothers passed away after a few months. The first camp in Madkai after deworming reported around passage of 200 worms and above by each child, the story now is 2-3 worms at the most. No admissions to the private hospitals or Goa Medical College as was indicated by their discharge summaries from the respective hospitals and showed a total nullification of such types of admissions caused by different worm problems. Pfizer Company gave their utmost cooperation for timely deworming by their supply of Combantrin syrup and tablets for years. This was a major achievement of the camps, which still Continues.

SCABIES

During the initial stages a number of cases with scabies were seen, but by regular and timely treatment and lectures on methods of prevention of scabies and detailed care during scabies indications, it was almost totally eradicated. The advice on care of the clothes and public cleaning of clothes during consecutive camps helped to stress all such factors and with the demonstration of the cases to all the attendants the topic was well understood and the women were very receptive and followed the advice properly, resulting in total absence of cases of scabies during recent camps.

FUNGAL INFECTIONS

Considerable number of mothers had Paronycheal abscess with fungal infections of nails of fingers and toes as well as skin of hands and feet due to constant contact with water during household and field work. A thorough local treatment with systematic treatment was given to them with detailed instructions about care to prevent such infections like importance of keeping the hand and feet dry during and after working. They were also informed about the fungal infections caused due to the use of damp clothes, undergarments, etc. There was a marked improvement in the condition and many were relieved of these painful conditions and awareness was created about maintaining dryness of hands and feet. The patients were supplied with anti-fungal lotions, ointments and powders that were brought from Usgaonker’s Children Clinic samples. At present awareness is already present to ask for medicines in the start of the disease.

 

TUBERCULOSIS

The children since being diagnosed regularly could be grouped out from their weights. The inability to gain weight in spite of nutritional improvements, removal of other infective conditions etc. and those other children with persisting respiratory complaints in spite of timely treatment and treatment for eosinophilia etc. were grouped out for investigations and they were investigated for tuberculosis, with blood tests, PPD and X ray chest, PPD test was done in own clinic with readings on 3rd day taken there in the campus. X ray chest were done at Amey X-ray Clinic, Ponda and blood tests were done at Patholab, Ponda by Dr. R. A. D’costa. The cases found positive were started on treatment. Later to screen the contacts, a survey was conducted in various parts of Madkai by the Tuberculosis Department and Peaceful Society with sputum examinations and the positive cases were given treatment by the TB Department with follow up carried out by Peaceful Society. A case of TB spine, some cases of primary complex, progressive primary complex were the cases found in children which were treated adequately with the help of ID hospital Ponda-Goa, in addition to samples brought from Usgaonker’s Clinic.

 

IMMUNIZATION

The immunization record of every patient is kept in the books and timely reminders are given for boosters and subsequent immunizations, if required. Talks on importance of immunization and the Vaccinations, are given from time to time, which could help those who could afford private treatment. MMR Vaccinations were given at Usgaonker’s Clinic free of cost for the needy patients. Pamphlets containing information on schedule of immunizations are distributed from time to time.

 

BLOOD GROUP DIRECTORY

Blood Group is a very important factor in certain health conditions and prior knowledge of an individual’s blood group is very useful and helpful tool in situations like Blood Donation, Blood reception and Prevention of certain blood group incompatibilities in the newborn e.g. Rh incompatibility, ABO incompatibility.

If blood group of mother is Rh –ve and baby is +ve or if mother is O and baby A or B, then such incompatibilities can occur.  If prior to pregnancy, the blood group is known, it helps to prevent neonatal jaundice due to incompatibility or manage it timely, to prevent complications of brain. Anti D Injection can be given soon after birth if mother is Rh –ve. Therefore Awareness of this blood group is very essential and camp was held to –

1)    Issue cards to individuals including children for the sake of a record of blood groups.

2)    Blood group directory for donation of blood in case of emergency. With this aim a blood grouping camp was arranged.

A blood grouping camp was held on 27th Feb. 1998 with the help of Dr. R.A. D’costa from Ponda where blood grouping was done and a directory is maintained with blood group cards supplied to the people with their photographs. Dr. D’costa arranged the required material along with reports, syringes, slides, and reagents free of cost. Dr. R.A. D’costa gave a talk on blood grouping and blood transfusion. Peaceful Society supplied the photographs.

 

PAP’S SMEAR

For early detection of Cancer Cervix of uterus, a camp for women above 40 was done with pap’s smear with the help of Dr. Sudha Vaidhya, ID hospital and Goa Medical College, Pathology Department.

 

Subsequently, for the sake of proper examination and treatment of women, Dr. Sudha Vaidhya and Dr. Smita Usgaocar, were requested to do the check up every month from September 1998.

 

DENTAL CHECK UP

Dr. Chhaya Bandodker Practising dental surgeon from Ponda did dental check up with talk on oral hygiene on 24th Sep. 1998.

Mega Camp with all specialities was held on 29th May 1998 with consultants in medicine (Dr. Lalana Bakhale, physician), (Dr. Sudha Vaidya, Gynaecologist), (Dr. Bandekar, Ophthalmologist), (Dr. Santosh Usgaonker, Paediatrician). 140 patients were examined and those requiring further follow up were called in respective Clinics for further management at free of cost. Dr. Uday Kerkar & Dr. Ghanshyam Mardolkar also contributed for the camp.

 

EYE CHECK UP

Dr. Bandekar did eye check up and Peaceful Society supplied spectacles to the patients.

 

SAFE MOTHERHOOD DAY

“Safe motherhood day” was celebrated on 20th July 2001, jointly with Public Health centre under the guidance of Dr. M. Mohandas.

FIRST AID BOXES

First aid boxes containing Scissors, towel, nail-cutter, antiseptic cream, lotion, cotton, gauze, adhesive tape, toothbrush, paste etc. were supplied to each family with proper detailed instructions, to mothers for how and when to use each item.

Certain special cases like a perforated eardrum was operated by Dr. Acharya, ENT Surgeon, from Madgaon, free of cost. Patients with congenital heart defects, epilepsy, mental retardation etc. were given special treatment jointly by Usgaonker Clinic & by Peaceful Society.

 

HEALTH TALKS

During every health camp a health talk on different health problems and prevalent misconceptions regarding infective diseases, worms, immunization, nutrition, care during pregnancy, care of the newborn, care during adolescence, health problems in the rainy seasons, tips towards family health, hygiene, rabies, measles mumps, tetanus, chicken pox, anaemia, calcium deficiency, nutritional deficiencies, mental health, jaundice, malaria, tuberculosis, fungal infections, were given from time to time.

Information materials distributed from time to time on malaria, worms, nutrition, immunization, rabies, scabies etc.

 

DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED

Beginning of the camps was a tough encounter to overcome certain fixed concepts prevailing.

→  Purpose of health camp was not understood.

→  Mothers also could not buy necessary medicines, so samples were distributed and later Peaceful Society arranged the required medicines.

→  Doubts about medicine samples – expiry dates etc.

→  Inadequate medications – overcome in course of time by persuasive attempts of teaching the importance of adequate medications and removal of false fears.

→  Faulty attitudes of the elderly – were timely taken care with assurance and subsequently accepted with practical experience.

 

SOCIAL STIGMAS

Tuberculosis was and is taken, as a social stigma. Even today, more public the issue is made more difficult is the cooperation. So the matter is tackled in a different way without making it public, with personal advices, and management. Assurance about the cure after proper treatment and ways of prevention of spread are stressed upon.

 

SPECIAL CASE STUDIES

I.             Potts spine – Mast. Raju Gaude presented with febrile convulsion with fever OFF and ON, put on anti-convulsants developed a painful swelling on the thoracic paraspinal region. He was referred for investigations at ID hospital. X-ray spine revealed koch’s lesion at T3 – T4 – level. He was started on a course of anti TB Rx, completed the full course and recovered completely, no convulsions thereafter.

II.           A.S.D – A care of acyanotic congenital heart disease, from Bandora followed up at the campus. ECG was done at private clinic free of cost. X-ray chest at Amey X-ray clinic revealed primary complex, received full course of Rx from Usgaonker’s Children Clinic samples + Peaceful Society sponsored meds – Recovered completely, now 20 years old.

III.        Eczyma – Sheetal Gaude from Bandora a case of eczema legs, scalp, face followed up at the camps was referred to Dr. Mallya, skin specialist, Margao, received treatment and with regular follow up examination and instructions recovered completely.

IV.        Kwashiorker – Protein energy malnutrition with hair changes, skin changes, due to faulty feeding followed up at the camps. Milk powder from Usgaonker’s Children Hospital at subsidised rate bought by the Peaceful Society and supplied free of cost to the patient with proper feeding instructions, recovered fully.

V.          Mentally – Retarded

a.   Sangeeta: – complete cerebral palsy following Encephalitis – followed up at every camp was treated with Neurocitam, encephabol supplied regularly by the company samples on request, oral hygiene care, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, B’plex regularly given, oral antiseptic lotions and toilet training instructions showed marked change in condition, no drooling of saliva, presence of social smile and could recognise, physiotherapy taught and was followed to some extent improved muscular activity quite a bit. Succumbed to respiratory infection later.

b.   Olga Gomes – Another mentally retarded, followed up at every camp had attained menarche and had epilepsy, repeated urinary infections, proper instructions on personal hygiene and timely treatment for urinary infections in addition to neurocetam, encephabol showed improvement in the condition. Anti-convulsants were continued after EEG.

VI.        A case of Perforated ear drum – with chronic suppurative otitis media – infection was controlled and surgery of repair of ear drum was performed by Dr. Acharya ENT Surgeon from Margao, free of cost on personal request. Maximum co-operation of the surgeon was available.

VII.     V.S.D – Mrinal Naik a case of V.S.D was diagnosed at GMC was followed up regularly during the camps, with ECG done at Usgaonker’s Children Clinic free of cost, Echo at Dr. Colaco Margao and respiratory infections were timely treated to prevent sub-acute bacterial endocarditis. Regular follow up X-rays, ECG & Echo done. Child has good growth, no repeated respiratory infections and is studying with normal physical activities even sports games.

VIII.   Cleft Palate – Leena Naik a case of Cleft Palate was advised surgery but due to parental scare did not opt for surgery.

IX.        DUB – Gokul Gaude a case of Dysfunctional uterine bleeding was referred to Dr. Sudha Vaidhya and then sent to GMC for further investigations where treatment was given and it was controlled.

X.           Umbilical granuloma – was diagnosed at the camp and cauterisation was done in the clinic free of cost.

XI.        Fancom’s Syndrome a primary complex – 10 months old diagnosed at GMC followed up at camps, and then in private clinic free of cost, X-ray chest done in pit, antikoch’s medicines supplied from private clinic samples. Got mediclaim done from GMC to be referred at Manipal

XII.     Adenoids Chronic tonsillitis – followed up at camps referred to GMC for tonsillectomy adenoidectomy

Fears: – Parents of a child having Cleft Palate, in spite of assurance and volunteering of surgery free of cost were not ready for surgery, out of fear of complications. Certain facilities offered were not taken by a few due to fears.

 

All critical cases of children under follow up who need admissions and other subsequent medical care are looked after by Usgaonker’s Children Clinic and Hospital and neonatal care unit by Dr. Purnima & Dr. Santosh Usgaonker absolutely free of cost right from the beginning of the camps till today.

 

CONCLUSION

Though with initial difficulties which were subsequently overcome with time and patience, a bond has been built up over a period of years and though it looks purely a supply of medicines at every camp, they are still the most needed medicines which are supplied if not for which the health could not be maintained to this present level, which obviously is devoid of hospitalisations with advanced health problems, caused due to variety of the causes already listed above and are being taken care from time to time with definitely a confident cooperation from mothers whose health also is taken care adequately. It is still a pleasure to work in the same manner since one can enjoy the cooperation of the mothers, which is most important base for any further projects.

 

WAY FORWARD

So far with due tackling of the notorious situations and concepts the camps are comparatively a smooth flow and with this further bold steps can be taken up towards newer affordable immunizations not available in Govt. Health Services. Regular Pap’s smear testing every year or so, Ophthalmologic check up of children, ENT check up of children, IQ testing, introduction of yogas, pranayama, suryanamaskars which will help to overcome variety of health problems, more so mental fitness a bad need of the time to overcome present stress.

 

Report :-  Dr. (Mrs.) Purnima N. S. Usgaonker

The Development Branch

I.   Putting Down Roots (1 9 8 4 – 1 9 8 9)

Each of the three branches can be traced to activities or events in the first years of PS’s existence and though closely inter-related the branches can nevertheless be tracked through the years as they each took a different direction, not so much geographically initially, since they were mostly in the same areas of operation, but in the issues they tackled and the approach adopted.

WEP PROGRAM

 

Meeting of forest dwellers against eviction at Cotigaon

The first development activities were in Bandora village in the form of an income generation program for women. This was a very limited project in one village with a very small group of 20 women, the Women’s Employment Program (WEP) with a very small budget. It was intended as an entry-level activity, including both education and an economic program for the group of women involved. The goal of the economic program was to generate income generation opportunities out of locally available materials for groups of women working together. This included making of brooms and leaf plates as well as foodstuff like papads and jackfruit wafers.

While the economic programme did achieve some measure of success, the real benefit to PS from this initial phase was the learning from its failures, that helped it to design and implement later activities. The shortcoming of this initial were recognized as-

  • A lack of understanding by the participants regarding the overall goal and development approach of the Society.
  • A “welfare beneficiary” attitude generated in the women.
  • PS was perceived as an employer, even if benign in its attitude
  • Project impact was reduced because of the resistance of the men who were suspicious of the project’s intentions.
  • The project area and scope was limited thus reducing the impact.

What PS learnt form this first phase of work was that poverty was not merely a lack of money but of the capacity to make decisions that would determine their own future Therefore more comprehensive programs were needed, which included the participation of the men and which seriously impacted the family livelihood.

The development activities were therefore re-designed in scope and coverage in the next phase, the first stage of the Integrated Rural Development (IRD) program.

THE IRD PROGRAMME, STAGE 1: 1987-89

The PS IRDP program was designed and implemented in collaboration with Gandhi Peace Centre, Hyderabad with support from EZE. The project objectives were threefold:

i.        Livelihood enhancement of poor and marginal farmers through setting up service centres (Agro Centres) to provide services in agriculture and animal husbandry. The objectives were to increase productivity in these sectors as well as provide income-generating opportunities, both on-farm and off farm for these families.

ii.        Mobilizing the community and creating an overall awareness towards social reconstruction. This was through activities in the health and education sectors.

iii.        Women’s Development through training for economic skills and opportunities for employment.

The project was implemented in three of the original five villages, with Agro Centres opened in Deusu Korgaon and in Cotigaon, while the WEP activities were continued in Bandora.

The activities in this phase continued until 1989. The Agro-centres were very popular and the performance, as measured by the relevance and quality of the services provided by the centres, good. The agro-based production activities of the WEP program in Bandora went through several ups and downs. The major constraint was the marketing of products, which in turn was affected by problems of quality control. The jackfruit wafer proved the most popular and even achieved some degree of brand recognition in the area. But the highlight of this branch in these years was the Cotigaon experience.

THE COTIGAON EXPERIENCE

PS was working in 5 villages in the area. The area was remote and relatively under-developed even as compared to the other areas in Goa. The inhabitants were almost entirely adivasis. The entry points were the house-to-house survey in 1985 and then the project work in 1986. The Agro-centre functioned well and there was also a good educational program, both for adults and children. But the major achievement and impact was in the area of social organization, which was concretised in the formation of a community organization, the Vanvasi Sanghatan.

THE VANVASI SANGATHAN

The major problem facing the local population was the government plan to set up a Nature Sanctuary covering the land of all five villages and the relocation of the population in another area. The survey and the project services proved to be a good base for a more comprehensive socio-economic action program, and the Vanvasi Sanghatan covering all 5 villages was formed to fight for their rights and principally to resist eviction form their traditional lands. In spite of strong opposition from political and government circles, the people stood firm against force and later to resist “bribes” in the form of government handouts and benefits in an attempt to break the people’s unity.

 

The women formed the backbone of the movement and it was because of them that the men were able to stand their ground along with them. And in the end the people were to wrest significant concessions from the government with four out of the five villages spared from eviction.

But there was another gain for PS from this activity, namely that environmental protection while important and even vital, especially in a state like Goa, must never negatively effect the rights of the local populations, especially the poorer sections.  This provided the inspiration for PS’ later involvement in a number of environment-based campaigns in Goa and indeed the country, in collaboration with other NGOs and peoples organizations. PS always and everywhere championed the cause of the local communities while also ensuring their active participation in the movements and campaigns. This was particularly true for the key Ecological activity of these years, The Save the Western Ghat Movement that is the trunk or main element in the Ecological Branch of this period.

 1989 – 1997

IRDP PHASE 2

While environmental campaigns and institution building held centre-stage for PS during this period, the development work also continued and progressed. This was through the 2nd Phase of the IRDP project with Gandhi Peace Centre, Hyderabad and EZE Bonn, Germany. The work continued with expanded scope of activities and an increased geographical range. The project objectives were also modified based on the learning, both of the earlier development work as well as the experience of organizing communities around issues in the campaigns. The new approach was:

  • Agricultural development was seen not only in the context of economic self-reliance but also in the context of ecological balance. As a result there was an increased emphasis on sustainable agricultural systems and in particular on organic farming. PS took it as challenge and started various experiment on organic farming in its campus.
  • The social reconstruction goal was possible only if there is a cadre of committed persons in the community, committed not just to short-term project activities but to broad based civil society associations through setting up autonomous institutions with strong and committed leadership. This insight would take full shape in and through the Swaraj Movement.
  • Women’s. Self-reliance is not just an output of the project activities but must be an integral aspect in the very process. As a result, the practice of free services was discouraged and eventually discontinued and participants were motivated to pay fees for the services accessed.

 

There were 7 village centres of work.  Pedne was one of the most active areas, where besides agriculture related activity, there was a strong emphasis on women’s groups accessing the DWCRA scheme. In all there were 7 such groups, which eventually achieved autonomous status. Other centres were Cotigaon, later shifted to Paigini, Madkai and Bandora.

The main sets of activities were in three sectors-

 

Agro-Centres

These centres were the base for a variety of services and training programs. These included

  • Power tiller/sprayer services
  • Desilting of tanks
  • Farming systems inputs
  • Land improvement
  • Organic farming training and demonstration
  • Afforestation
  • Biogas system

 

Livelihood Training Programs

These included

  • Farmers camps
  • Fisherman’s Training program
  • Training in Production of foodstuffs for women entrepreneurs
  • Vocational Training for Women specially in tailoring,
  • Production centres for foodstuffs
  • Production training Program for independent entrepreneurship
  • Vocational Training
  • Handicrafts
  • Marketing Assistance.

Women’s Economic Program

THE PS CAMPUS

During this period PS made efforts to get land from local Communidad in Bandora village to develop a campus for its own activities own. However, these attempts were in vain. Thereafter, in 1989 succeeded in buying a 4-½ acre farm in Madkai village, a short distance away from Bandora. The main building was built within a year and PS shifted it office from Bandora to this new own campus. The chosen village met all the criteria set by PS, which primarily wanted to set up its base in a remote village with a population of poor people, and marginalized farmers, where the campus would became the hub of experiment towards self-reliant villages. Over the years, a new campus gradually took shape. The campus was designed to merge harmoniously with the environment with low buildings and not a single tree was cut down for buildings. The campus now provided a convenient site for variety of trainings activities and successfully engaged in natural farming.

Now the Campus has following infrastructures and facilities.

Besides above the campus is unique site of experiment on natural / farming which is full of Hundreds of tree, shrubs and creepers. For detail please refer chapter on Organic Farming.

DOCUMENTATION CENTRE 1992

Having the campus infrastructure made it possible for PS to take up another role – that of documentation. It begins with keeping paper clipping on and about some 110 subjects and events. PS also conducted or promoted a number of studies on various topics and issues, most of them related to the environment and Biodiversity in Goa and about the Western Ghats.

The Studies were the outcome of the activities and engagements of PS and also provided direction and impetus to fresh initiatives. One example of this was the Bio-diversity Workshop organized in 1996 and seminar on medicinal plants of Goa.

Later in 1998, as PS changed its basic strategy and put greater emphasis on national level work, the it would be readily available for consultation and everyday use. Documentation Centre material was handed over to the library of Goa Union of Journalists, Panaji.

YEAR OF STUDY

SUBJECT OF STUDY

NAME OF RESEARCHER / DOCUMENTER
1993 Earthworm Ecology In The Premises of Peaceful Society Mr. Kenneth Rodrigues
  The Oil Palm: Farm Failure or Fabulous Future? Mr. Bonnie A Menezes
1994 Study of Forest Management by People Western Ghats Mr. Pandurang Hegde
1995 Study of Proposed Golf-Course in Goa Mr. Bonnie A Menezes
  Goa’s Coastal Ecosystem Under Attack Mr. Bonnie A Menezes
  Aquatic Pollution in Ponda Taluka Ms. Asha S Nandurmath

Dr. Nandkumar kamat

  Fungal Biodiversity at Peaceful Society Campus Dr. Nandkumar Kamat
  Ecological & Economic Aspects of Alluvial Sand Mining from Terekhol & Colvale Rivers Dr. Nandkumar Kamat

Mr. Vishwas Kesar

Mr. Vithoba Desai

Ms. Kirti Mandrekar

  Ecological & Economic Aspects of Shellfish Exploitation from Colvale Estuarine Ecosystem Dr. Nandkumar Kamat

Mr. Nilesh Vernekar

Ms. Shilpa Narvekar

1998 Awakening of A Village: The Story of the Struggle of the People of Kottukal for Survival Mr. P.M. Dev
1998 – 1999 A Report on Dang Communal Outrage Mr. Anwar Rajan,

Mr. Ramesh Gaus,

Mr. Shekhar Sonalkar and

Ms. Vasanthi Dighe

1999 – 2000 Cultivation and Study of Medicinal Plants at Peaceful Society Campus Ms. Gaytri Pawar

Ms. Pratibha Naik and

Ms. Sujata Menase