2009-2010

ELGAR PRATISHTHAN

ANNUAL NARRATIVE REPORT – 2009-2010

 

Name of the Organisation: Elgar Pratishthan

Approved by: Secretary, Elgar Pratishthan

  1. Context of the organization

In the reporting period two developments in the region have directly and indirectly impacted the organization:

Environment: Thirty seven thermal power plants were sanctioned in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, several of which are in Chandrapur. Additionally, 54 coal blocks were allocated to private companies and Western Coalfields for mining and coal washeries. The first company to start operations was Adani Mining Ltd. It was allocated coal blocks in Lohara West and Lohara Extension by the Coal Ministry both of which are located in Chandrapur district within eleven kilometers from the boundary of the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. This led to a huge public outcry at the public hearing conducted at Chandrapur city. There were two public hearings as the company had not produced the EIA before the first meeting. The government of Maharashtra, Department of Forests formed a study group of environmentalists and local activists to give recommendations about mitigation of environmental problems and how the project could be taken ahead. Elgar Pratishthan was named as a member of the study group. However, we protested against the framing of the terms of reference and demanded that it should be changed to a study of whether the project is environmentally and socially viable at all. Since the government refused to change the terms of reference Elgar Pratishthan along with all other non-official members resigned from the study group and the same was not re-formed. Thereafter, several environment groups in the district came together to fight Adani and the struggle went through several stages. At one point the city came to a standstill when the people observed bandh in protest against Adani. The constant protest by the people led to a change in the stand taken by the politicians of all parties who shifted from openly supporting Adani to public support for the campaign. The local media also changed from a neutral stand to a proactive stand in favour of environmental and tribal rights groups. In September 2009, seven Member of Parliaments from Vidarbha wrote to the Prime Minister, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and the Minister of Environment and Forest against Adani coal mines. At the same time a delegation of social activists, doctors, and socially conscious citizens from Chandrapur (of which Elgar Pratishthan was a part) met Shri. Jairam Ramesh demanding that Adani should not be allowed to extract coal at the cost of 5000 acres of standing dense forest and imperiling wildlife as also the people of Chandrapur who are already suffering severe air and water pollution due to large number of industries in the area. Finally, the Ministry of Environment and Forests did not give clearance to the Adani project. In this entire campaign Elgar Pratishthan and the people’s organization Shramik Elgar participated vigorously. As an outcome of the campaign a network of organizations was formed in Chandrapur called Chandrapur Bachao Sangharsh Samity which is committed to environment issues, of which Elgar continues to be an active member.  

Drought: During the reporting period, the region came under severe drought. The rainfall was only 25% of the average annual rainfall. Water bodies including rivers and reservoirs dried up leading to severe shortage of water for drinking, cattle, and fishing. Even the Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station – the largest in the Asia – had to close down five out of seven units because of lack of water in the Irai dam from which the station draws water. Elgar Pratishthan did an extensive survey of drinking water situation in the tribal area and found that the Jalswarajya Yojana had failed to provide drinking water in 42 out of 80 villages. In other blocks also the peoples’ organization organized farmers for demanding water, fodder and work under MREGS.

 

  1. Internal Organisation

Major policy decisions: The major policy decisions during the reporting period are as follows:

  1. Although the organization had planned on geographical expansion to Yavatmal district, it was decided to go ahead only with peoples’ contribution. This was because the two farmers’ cooperatives started at Pombhurna and Jivti blocks showed positive results. It was decided that since the cooperatives required nurturing at this initial stage, the organization should concentrate on strengthening these instead of moving to a new area.
  2. The organization also found the response to the farmers’ cooperatives overwhelming and therefore it was decided that wherever farmers were ready the organization would help them to form cooperatives. Since this is a new area of work for the organization, it was decided that in the near future we would undertake exposure trips for staff and members of cooperatives to learn more, and also include various aspects of cooperative formation and management in the training programmes.

Major changes in the organisation’s formal structure and/or decision making mechanism: There was discussion about changes in the formal structure that the secretary of Elgar Pratishthan also functioned as the director of the organization and also held the President of the peoples’ organization. While this arrangement was conducive to the functioning of the organization in the early years, it should change. It was discussed that the organization would appoint a director for Elgar Pratishthan who would be responsible for the day to day functioning of the organization. However, it was decided that the matter would be further discussed at the beginning of the next financial year.

Board Meetings of Elgar Pratishthan: The executive board of Elgar Pratishthan met once every three months. A total of four meetings were held. There was one general body meeting. There were no changes in the board or management level. At the staff level also there were minor changes.

 

  1. Results

Women’s Programme

Domestic violence: Seventy five persons (a majority women) approached the Family Counselling centre run the organization at Mul for help in cases of marital conflicts and land rights cases. Out of these in 10 cases the couple have been helped to work out the differences. In ten cases the woman decided to leave the marital home and the organization helped them to retrieve her possessions with the help of the police. A total of Rs.1,65,000 in cash, 3.5 tolas gold, and Rs. 2,87,000 worth of furniture, household items and utensils were retrieved. In seven cases the couple have agreed on mutual divorce and one divorce case was filed in the district court. In two cases FIRs were filed in police stations under 498a IPC, against the men. Nine cases of maintenance have been filed in the courts of Judicial Magistrate First Class under section 125 Cr.P.C. 

Land and Property Rights: Three women came forward to claim their land rights. Of this, the organization helped one woman to negotiate with her brothers and get her share of parental property which came to 3 acres. She also got 1 quintal of cotton as her share of the produce for the year. In the second case the woman has won her share of parental property in the court and the organization has helped her to take possession of the land which is around 5 acres. The third case has been filed in court and the results are awaited.

Women’s Day: Women’s day was celebrated at Saoli, Mulchera and Jivti on 8th march in which a total of 1000 women participated. Dr. Kalpana Gedam, Shri. Ramteke Taluka Agriculture Officer, Advocate Ladey addressed the gathering and shared their thoughts on various issues. 

Anti-liquor Campaign: Women have organized in hundreds in the following villages to stop sale of illicit liquor. Mul Block – Bhadurna, Ratnapur, Chiroli, Sintala, Yejgaon

Saoli Block – Chandli, Rudrapur, Usegaon

Pombhurna Block – Dewada (Bujrug).

Women in village Ghosari of Pombhurna block have started to organise for closing the liquor shop in the village. The shop is run by the Sarpanch Anna Marpalliwar who uses liquor to get votes. The women had previously approached the MLAs in the area but they did not help. The organisation is helping the women and youths to file application for closure. Two public meetings were held in the village on the issue. The women and youth were also trained on the provisions of the Bombay Prohibition Act and related government resolutions to prepare them for the process.

Social Security: The widows and other poor women were suffering because the MLA in Saoli block was not calling the meeting of the social security committee. The applications of more than seven hundred women were pending with the administration with no decision being taken for more than eight months. The women raised the issue several times with the local officials who pleaded helplessness in the face of the MLA’s apathetic attitude. In May 2009 more than six hundred women came together and agitated in protest against the injustice.  After the police removed them forcefully the women decided to go on fasting immediately. The women fasted for two days at the end of which the MLA relented and called for meeting. The application of 350 women were sanctioned on the first day itself. Thereafter regular meetings have taken place and the system is functioning better than before. The police have registered offence against sixteen women and activists in this case and the matter is pending before the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mul.

Apart from this, applications were filed for social security programmes in various blocks as follows:

Sl.No. Name of Block Applications filed Sanctioned
1. Mul  55 40
2. Sindewahi  17 10
3.  Saoli  64 336 
4. Jivti 25 22
5. Rajura 7 4
6. Pombhurna 35 27
7.  Chamorshi 49 40
8. Mulchera  17 12

 

Self Help Groups: The organization has helped women to form a total of 138 SHGs with a membership of 1968 women members. 

Chamorshi – 20 groups with 356 members

Saoli-21 groups with 330 members

Jivti-29 groups with 400 members

Mul-38 groups with 532 members,

Pombhurna-30 groups with 350 members

Women from Antargaon village of Saoli block have started a papad making unit in the village after training by the organisation.

Women’s credit cooperative: The women’s credit cooperative (all three branches at Rajoli, Mul and Pombhurna) was computertised by Netwin company who specialize in computerization and training of credit cooperative societies. The training also has been completed. The computerization has enabled us to streamline the management of accounts and also plan for the development of the cooperative.

Publications: Between April and December 2009. Between April and December 2009 we brought out 22 newsletters and by March 2010 we shall bring out another twelve. The main problem in bringing out the newsletters was failures in electricity and also computer problems. Apart from this we have also brought out the report of water scarcity in Jivti block for distribution to administration, elected representatives, media representatives and members of the public. The report led to the media questioning the Minister of Rural Development on this issue during his visit.

Block level meetings: Block level meetings of at least four hundred members every month was conducted at Mul, Saoli, Sindewahi, Pombhurna, Jivti, Chamorshi, and Mulchera blocks. A majority of these were women

Trainings: A total of 11 training camps were organized throughout the year. Four training camps were held for members of Shramik Elgar in which a total of 83 village level leaders participated. Five camps were organized for women in which a total of 113 women participated. One training was organized for leaders of the cooperatives (women’s credit coop as well as farmers’ coop) in which 80 leaders of the coops participated. One camp was held for 25 full time volunteers and senior staff members. 

Expansion to Yavatmal District: We made contact with the women in Yavatmal district town through regular visits. It took effort to gain rapport with the women. However by the end of December we have been able to form women’s groups in two wards of the town – Rangnathnagar and Mominpura. After discussion with the women the following issues have been identified for further campaigns – violence, implementation of social security programmes, and implementation of PDS. The incidence of violence against women is quite high according to the women. Almost every third family is affected by this. The implementation of the social security programmes is lax as is the case in Chandrapur. Additionally there are several problems around rationing (PDS) – the ration shops do not open regularly, the quality of food grains is not good and all the families do not have ration cards or BPL ration cards. 

Unorganised Rural Labour: The peoples’ organisation helped rural unorganised labourers for wages, payment of delayed wages, payment of bonus etc. A total of around Rs. 18,26,626 was recovered during the reporting period. Some of the details are as follows:

  1. 63 labourers of Nagbhid and Brahmapuri blocks of Chandrapur district were taken by a contractor to Andhra Pradesh to work in a fruit company. They were not paid at the end of the contract period. The organisation helped the labourers get Rs. 265000 from the contractor.
  2. 18 labourers from Mul worked for harvesting soyabean and were not paid by the landowner. The organisation helped them to get Rs. 24000.
  3. 208 labourers worked under MREGS for repair of irrigation tank at village Bembal and were not paid even after two months. The peoples’ organisation agitated along with the labourers and Rs. 148858 were paid.
  4. The bonus of tendu patta labourers in village Chandeshwar, district Gadchiroli was deposited by the bank in wrong accounts leading to great problems. The organisation agitated for the amount to be deposited with the labourers who had actually worked. 
  5. Fishermen of several villages in Sindewahi block approached the peoples’ organization. They are members of a Fishing Cooperative formed in 1970 and since then they used to fish in Naleshwar reservoir constructed in 1914. However, five years back the government has given the fishing rights to a contractor who has made the fishermen into his labourers and impoverished them. To make matters worse the reservoir used to be outside the boundaries of the forest department but in a recent move the forest department has increased its boundaries and half the reservoir has been included as part of the buffer zone of the Andhari Wild Life Sanctuary. Thus, now half the reservoir is out of bounds for fishing. In September 2009 four fishermen whose nets were near the boundary were harassed by a forest department official. Three nets were confiscated and the forest department sold one of the nets illegally. The fishermen have approached our organization and we have been able to get the nets back. Now we are organizing the fishermen to access the pond by doing away with the contractor and also get their rights through the Forest Rights Act. 
  6. Raju Kosre of Mul block worked for a contractor who did not pay him Rs.13000. The organization has helped him get these wages. 
  7. In village Chak Kosambi of Pombhurna block the forest labourers were not paid their bonus. The organization intervened to get Rs. 12000 paid to them. 
  8. In villages Dewai, Kemara, and Ambedhanora of Pombhurna block there was a delay in payment of bonus to Tendu leaf gatherers. We organized the labourers and they got Rs. 120000 in bonus payment. 
  9. In village Antargaon of Saoli block, the labourers who had worked under NREGA were not paid for two months. The organization agitated to get Rs. 2,75,000 paid to the labourers. 
  10. 14 labourers of Saoli block had migrated to Satna district of Madhya Pradesh to work for a contractor. They were paid only partially. The organized helped them to file a case with the labour commissioner at Chandrapur. The contractor paid Rs.57000 in delayed wages to the labourers. 
  11. 28 labourers from Saoli block migrated to Andhra Pradesh to work for a contractor who did not pay them. The organization recovered Rs. 22000 from the contractor. 
  12. 25 labourers from Sindewahi block went to work in cement factory and were not paid for two months. The organization get Rs. 4000 in back wages. 
  13. Prakash Vadai, a labourer working for gathering Tendu leaves had migrated to Andhra Pradesh with a contractor and died there of natural cause. The contractor refused to pay any amount to the widow as ex gratia. The organization intervened and the contractor had to pay Rs. 30000 to the labourer’s family.
  14. Labourers from village Yesgaon of Mul block had gone to work in coal block in Chandrapur and were not paid by the contractor. The organisation helped them to get Rs. 9000 from the contractor.
  15. Labourers from village Bhejgaon worked under a contractor for painting trees on the highway but the contractor delayed the payment beyond five weeks. The organisation helped the labourers to get Rs. 13230.
  16. A farmer named Shukracharya Madiwar of village Junasurla sold paddy at the APMC Mul for Rs. 15542 which the middlemen did not pay. The organisation helped him to recover the amount.
  17. Tendu Patta labourers from villages Chichala and Dahegaon were not paid bonus by the forest department. The organisation agitated with the labourers who were then paid Rs. 30000.
  18. 35 labourers from villages Vyahad bujrug and Rayatwari went to Kotarla in District Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh for tendu patta labour. The contractor did not pay them. The organisation helped the labourers to recover Rs. 80523 from the contractor.
  19. 315 labourers from villages Dongarhaldi, Ghanoti, and Dewada of Pombhurna block worked for the forest department but were not paid for more than a month. The peoples’ organisation agitated and helped the labourers to get Rs. 900000 in payments.
  20. 19 labourers had worked for Ambuja cement factory as wage labourers and were not paid. The peoples’ organisation agitated to recover Rs. 52000.
  21. 21 women in Jivti block cooked mid day meals and were not paid by the Zilla Parishad. The organisation intervened to help the women get Rs. 50000.
  22. Labourers from villages khadki, Panholi, Kirmiti, Panjrepar, and Mendha were working at village Khadki Mendha, Nagbhid block to build the canal of the Indira Sagar Dam. They were paid very low wages by the company called F.A. Constructions which had the contract for the construction. The organisation agitated with the labourers and raised the wages from Rs. 64 to Rs 114 and from Rs. 90 to Rs. 145 per day according to the type of work.
  23. In the month of March 2010, women from Sindewahi block working as cooks for the mid day meal scheme came forward to organise for the wages. They had not been paid for five months. When the organisation contacted the authorities they were told that the grants had not been released from the district level to the blocks. The organisation agitated and Rs. 1185579 was released and the women were paid.

In the reporting period the organisation helped a total of 2390 labourers to access work under MREGS as under:

Mul – 300

Saoli – 680

Pombhurna – 524

Sindewahi – 325

Jivti – 86

Rajura – 75

Chamorshi – 480

Mulchera – 150 

Land Rights: During the reporting period the organisation helped people to access land rights as under:

  1. Shri. Jalimshah Atram, a tribal of village Kodepur, Jivti block had five acres of land which was grabbed by a non-tribal from the same village. The organisation helped Atram to regain the land and also register offence under Atrocities Act against the non-tribal.
  2. Badu Madavi of village Dhondarjuni in Jivti block cultivated Jawari on 2 hectares of land, but the crop was forcibly harvested by non-tribals of the village. The organisation helped Badu to retrieve the crop and also register offence against the non-tribals.
  3. Jaitu Rekan Sidam a tribal of village Kakban was restored land through court action but the non-tribals refused to hand over physical possession of the land. The organisation helped Jaitu to get 15 acres of land.
  4. In village Upri of Saoli block seven poor landless farmers were cultivating a piece of government land. Some rich farmers bribed the revenue officials and entered their own names as possessors of the land. When the landless farmers came to know they agitated against the revenue officials with the help of the organisation and their possession was taken cognizance of. The names of the rich farmers were deleted from the records after spot enquiry.
  5. Tribal named Keshav Atram of village Pethtala of Chamorshi block had rented his five acres of land to non-tribal for two years. But even after the period was over the non-tribal refused to return the land. The organisation agitated to help the tribal regain possession of his land.

Forest Rights: The organisation is helping villagers to file claims under the Forest Rights Act. The number of claims filed are as follows:

Block Group claims Individual claims
Mulchera 3 20
Jivti 2 22
Saoli 1 15
Pombhurna 2 30
Sindewahi 4 36

 

The peoples’ organisation demonstrated at Brahmapuri outside the subdivisional officer’s office for implementation of the Forest Rights Act. Around 1000 people participated in the rally.

Water: The organisation did an in-depth survey of the water scarcity in 60 tribal villages of Jivti block. 43 villages did not have drinking water in spite of these villages being included under the Jalswarajya Programme of the state government. The report of this survey was published on Human Rights Day and the organisation agitated for water in the area. This led to enquiry by the Rural Development Department. Although in some villages the administration made water available through handpumps and tankers, the overall situation did not improve greatly.

Caste Certificates: In order to facilitate the process of filing claims for forest rights, the organisation is also helping tribals to access caste certificates especially for Kolam tribals in Jivti block. The number of caste certificates distributed are as follows:

  1. Village Kodepur – 11
  2. Village Shedwahi – 17
  3. Patan – 15
  4. Village Sorekasa – 3
  5. Village Asapur – 10
  6. Village Markagondi – 8
  7. Village Nandappa – 7

Total – 69

Republic Day Celebration: More than 5000 members of the peoples’ organisation came together to celebrate Republic Day at Sindewahi. Shri. Srinivas Khandewale economist and Shri. Shyam Pandharipande were the guests who addressed the gathering. The annual report of the peoples’ organisation was released on the occasion and members also addressed the gathering on various issues.

Farmers’ Cooperatives: The concept of farmers’ cooperatives came out of our direct experience of tribal land rights. Since 2004 the organisation is leading a movement for restoration of land to tribals and most importantly initiating legal action against land grabbers. However, mere restoration is not enough as the dispossessed tribals have absolutely no resources to cultivate the land. By petitioning the High Court the organisation was able to procure seeds, fertilisers and some basic agricultural implements from the Tribal Development Department. However, these items did not help beyond the first year. From the second year onwards we realised the utter helplessness of the tribals and their dependence on non-tribal moneylenders who lend through a system called dirhi-duppat. Dirhi means one and a half times and duppat means double. Thus, under this system a borrower has to pay one and a half times the loan amount in six months and double the amount in a year. Sometimes it is one and half times every six months. The amount is collected in cash or in kind. Thus, tribals are forced to sell their meagre belongings, their goats and chicken, their utensils and implements to repay the moneylender.  

While the situation of the tribal communities is particularly bad, things are not much better for the marginal and small farmers of other communities. Almost every small farmer in India is labouring under mounting debts. The agricultural season starts with the farmer approaching the Krishi Kendras or Farm Centres (shops catering to farming needs) for seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and sometimes implements. Krishi Kendras were supposed to be fair price shops servicing the farmers, but these have turned into major centres of exploitation. Krishi Kendra shop owners sell the products at a higher price than the marked price – sometimes twice or thrice the price. If the farmer does not have the money then the shop owner doubles as a moneylender and charges an interest on the delayed payment. In spite of India’s self-sufficiency in fertilisers every year there is a shortage leading to prices sky-rocketing. Since fertilisers are heavily subsidised by the government, the prices shoot up in the black market – i.e. farmers are not given receipts for the amounts they actually pay. Farmers die standing in queues for fertilisers. The seed market is flooded with bogus seeds that do not give the yield they promise. Every year the cost of pesticides and insecticides rises, partly because of the lack of knowledge about scientific use and partly because of the encouragement by Krishi Kendra shop owners. Apart from this, the timing of monsoons, the availability of bullocks and ploughs and family labour is necessary to subsidise the costs. 

Even if the farmer manages to procure the inputs on time, the water does not fail and the harvest is good, this does not necessarily ensure that the farmer shall be able to repay his debts and make even a small profit. The mathematics of the market works against the farmer. While taking loans from private moneylenders or Krishi Kendras the farmers have to contract out their crops at a certain fixed price which is invariably lesser than the market prices that prevail at the end of the season. 

As against existing co-operatives which primarily work to make credit available to farmers, we are trying to use the co-operative as an instrument to get farmers out of the debt cycle. The cooperative would make market interventions both at the end of providing agricultural inputs at a fair price as well as procurement of produce at fair price. The cooperative would link with financial institutions, markets and government departments. It would also work to make irrigation and technology accessible to the farmers.

In the reporting year the following two cooperatives were registered in Chandrapur district:

Jivti Taluka Sheti Vikas Sahakari Sanstha, Ltd. Jivti.

Kisan Bahuddeshiya Sheti Vikas Sahakari Sanstha, Ltd. Pombhurna.

Two training camps were organised for 40 community leaders in co-operative management. They were trained in the legal and financial requirements of cooperatives. Exposure trips of community leaders were organized to Buldhana where farmers’ cooperatives are in existence since the past few years. Some of the cooperatives that the group visited were working well whereas others were facing problems. Through in-depth interaction the group could learn from the successes as well as challenges being faced by other cooperatives. The second exposure trip was to Nagpur where the group again visited social organizations working on cooperatives with a focus on understanding financial working. The group also visited the office of a chartered accountant to discuss various aspects of how to make the cooperative financially sustainable, what compliances are required, the types of books to be maintained etc. Farmer’s meeting was held at Pombhurna and Jivti to discuss agriculture related issues in connection with cooperatives. In Pombhurna around 1000 persons attended the meeting while in Jivti around 2000 persons attended the meeting. There were persons from Saoli as well as Mulchera blocks where new cooperatives are proposed. 

Both the cooperatives registered farm service centres with the District Agricultural Officer, procured the necessary licenses required to sell seeds and fertilisers and Jivti cooperative also got the license from Korpana Agricultural Produce Marketing Corporation for buying farm produce. Both cooperative was able to get the membership of District Cooperative Bank, while Pombhurna cooperative got a loan of Rs. 5 Lakhs from the bank. 

Both the cooperatives accepted 25% advances from farmers and booked seeds and fertilisers. The cooperatives sold at marked prices plus transport costs plus a marginal profit. Both the cooperatives participated in the National Food Security Programme of the Agriculture Department under which seeds were distributed to farmers on subsidy. The progress of the Jivti cooperative was published in a booklet form.

The details of the cooperatives are as under:

Pombhurna Jivti
No. of villages 24 22
No. of members 164 129
Members (men) 129 111
Members (women) 35 18
Advance collected in Rs. 142700 179900
Term deposits in Rs. 51500 0
Share capital in Rs. 24190 14500
Membership entry fee in Rs. 3903 6450

 

Education: Elgar Pratishthan is running Bal Sanskar Kendras (BSK) – children’s centres run by youth volunteers in communities. In the reporting period we organised BSKs in the following villages:

Pombhurna – Jamkhurd, Dewada Khurd, Satara Tukum, Satara Bhonsle, Umri Potdar, Vihirgaon, Dewai, Vedva, Cheknavegaon, Mohada, Chekkhapri, Kawthi, Pimpri deshpande, Jungaon, Chekkosambi.

Saoli – Chandli, Khedi, Rudrapur, Kavthi, Chargaon, Pathri, Antargaon, Tola, Gaidongri, Niphandra, Mokhala, Upri, Kadholi, Donala, Usegaon.

Jivti – Pallezari, Ambezari, Nandappa, Sorekasa, Shedwahi, Markalmeta, Dampur Mohda, Gudshela, Yermi Yesapur, Gadpandharwani, Dhondarjuni, Rahpalli.

The BSK organised cultural functions through out the year and children participated in various social activities. Children’s day functions were organised cluster-wise in four villages and four hundred children participated. The organisation is creating a science centre for children and youth.

Function to Celebrate Ten Years of the Organisation: Elgar Pratishthan has completed a decade of work in Chandrapur and Gadchiroli. In order to mark the occasion, the organisation came together to celebrate at Chandrapur. Senior journalist Mr. Suresh Dwadashiwar Editor Lokmat, Mr. Devendra Gawande District Correspondent Loksatta, Mr. Prabhu Rajgadkar Addl. CEO, ZP Chandrapur, Bahadurshah Alam, President ZP Gadchiroli, Ms. Kathy Sreedhar Holdeen India Programme, Miriam Poser, and Derek were guests on the occasion. There was an exhibition on the activities of the organisation. 1000 people from both the districts as well as friends of the organisation attended the programme.

 

Number of men and women reached directly and indirectly

Activity Planned Men Women Direct

Total

Indirect Total Approx Remarks
Filing of Cases – Domestic Violence, Land, Property 500 54 54 100
Grassroots Campaign for Women’s Rights  3000 500 3000 3500 5000 Total of participants in anti liquor campaigns and women’s day celebrations.
Pension to Widows, Women in Difficult Situation 500 491 491 900
Computerisation of Women’s Cooperative  1000 Computerisation completed
Conducting SHG Meetings 900 members 1968 1968 4000
Newsletter 40 2000 2000 40 newsletters published
Campaign Materials 5000  5000 Total of reports on water, PDS, annual report of peoples’ organisation, Jivti cooperative, pamphlets of various issues
Monthly Block Meetings 400 per month  400  Monthly block meetings were held in Mul, Saoli, Sindewahi, Pombhurna, Jivti, Rajura, Korpana, Chamorshi, and Mulchera blocks. 
Community Level Programmes 3000 3000 3000 6000 7000 Total of participants in Republic Day, farmers’ meets, childrens’ programmes
Trainings 100 153 195 348 Total of all training programmes (including non-HIVOS).

 

Progress on the achievement of objectives

Women are coming forward to file cases of domestic violence and also to claim their land and property. The struggle against liquor – both illicit liquor as well as licensed liquor shops – has intensified. Women are ready to take on license shop owners, which is a major change because all the shop owners are politically powerful and directly linked to political parties. Most shop owners are also ‘people’s elected representatives’ like Sarpanch, Panchayat Samiti members and Zilla Parishad members. Women in Ghosari were the first to come forward against licensed shop, and thereafter women from other villages like Junasurla and Keroda are also coming forward against liquor shops. The strategy is to have public meetings, train women and youths, and help them to file applications to the District Collector asking for referendum. The process is progressing well and we expect to see results next year. Our expectations for helping women access social security have seen good results but this may not be a sustainable solution. The MLAs are very reluctant to take meetings of the social security committee and because of the applications of women remain pending for a long time. Although we agitated in Saoli and therefore the number of sanctions increased, there needs to be a more long term solution to the problem.

The strategy regarding publication of newsletters and campaign materials were successful to a certain extent. Two reports published during the year on water problems and food security have certainly been used by media and to some extent by the bureaucracy but since these problems are continuous, follow up publications are also required.

Trainings of activists have led to women and youths taking up issues in the villages. For example there was a training on anti-liquor campaigning which led to strong action in Ghosari and Nandgaon villages. The training of self help groups led to women in Antargaon taking up papad making as an enterprise. The training is also at the core of successful organisation of the cooperatives.

The strategy of expansion to Yavatmal failed because of reasons listed above. 

 

Reflection

The strategies have worked out except for expansion to Yavatmal. The movement in the district against Adani coal mines was an unexpected opportunity to work with other organisations on the issue of environment. There are no other major variances.

The positive change is with regard to working with various organisations in Chandrapur city which began with the anti-Adani movement but has continued in the shape of the network Chandrapur Bachao Sangharsh Samiti. The other members of the network have cooperated in the activities of the organisation and shared information leading to better results.

The year was a good one in terms of the work. We were given the Kasturba Gandhi Award by the Chandrapur Lok Sewa Sanstha at the hands of Shri. Shantaram Potdukhe, Ex-MP and Finance Minister, GoI. The organisation was visited by people from within the district and outside. Shri. Prithvi Sharma founder of Indian Friends Association, California visited the organisation.  However, we need to build more networks with other organisations and key individuals for better results in the future.

 

  1. Monitoring Performance and Organisational Quality

The board and staff met regularly through out the year for monitoring and planning. The central committee of the people’s organisation, the block level committees, and the board of directors of the cooperatives also met regularly every month for this purpose. 

The organisation monitored the performance by staff reports, field visits, meetings with the peoples’ organisation members, feedback from participants and discussions with key persons in the district like elected representatives and media persons. For example, the major change that we had to make in the programme was to include strengthening of cooperatives instead of expansion to a new district. We made this decision after discussion with the cooperative members and leaders, staff and board members. The feedback from the staff was that cooperatives were in competition against local moneylenders, local level politicians and other exploitative shopowners and therefore we needed to fully concentrate on the cooperatives especially in the tribal area. In the block level meeting the members of the peoples’ organisation reported that the severe drought was leading to migration and distress sale of cattle and there was water scarcity in the Jivti tribal area. This led to the organisation doing an in-depth survey on the water situation as well as organising demonstrations at the block level to demand water, work under MREGS, and fodder stalls. Another example is that during a meeting with the Sarpanch of village Jungaon we came to know that women in Ghosari – a nearby village – wanted to organise against the liquor shop but were hesitant because of the political power of the shop owner. We immediately went to Ghosari and met the youth and women and planned with them about how the shop could be closed. This has led to a strong demand for closing the shop. The information was used to take up issues that were most pertinent and directly affected the lives of the people. 

Our experience with the indicators is as follows:

  1. With regard to filing of cases – the indicator of 500 is extremely high. We cannot expect that 500 women will come forward to file cases of domestic violence and property rights. We think this was an error in the first place and should be rectified.
  2. Since cooperatives have entered the picture we need to incorporate indicators. Changes have been made in the next year’s work plan in these regard.

 

The organisation has shared its progress with beneficiaries and stakeholders through annual report of the people’s organisation which included information about the cooperatives. The annual report carried an audited statement of the membership fees and donations received by the peoples’ organisation. We separately published the progress of cooperatives in booklet form titled ‘Arthik Swatantryasathi Paypeeth’. Additionally we published newsletters every week which included all important information about the activities of the organisation. All these publications are in Marathi and widely circulated amongst members, government offices, media offices and general public.

 

  1. Relationship with HIVOS

During the reporting period we attended meetings organised by HIVOS and also Mr. Rajendran Nathan visited us at Chandrapur. Raja shared with us information about successful cooperative ventures which we found useful and we have planned to visit some of these organisations to learn from them.

 

Overview of income sources

The major income sources have been (a) UUHIP-HIVOS which gave Rs. 1754740.

(b) Institutional Strengthening Grant given by AJWS of $120000 for construction of training campus. This was a one time grant. 

(c) AJWS also gave $25000 for livelihood development in tribal areas and educational activities. 

(d) FGHR gave $30,000 in general support which was used for working on issues of land rights, unorganised rural labour and forest rights. 

We have constructed buildings at village Chitegaon, Taluka Mul, District Chandrapur which includes two training halls, two dormitories, two guest rooms, kitchen, dining shed, dug well and seven offices. We have not purchased any vehicles in the reporting period.

 

List of Publications

1.Jal ‘Swarajya’ Janmasiddha hakka kadhi honar? – Report on water situation in tribal villages and implementation of Jalswarajya project by the administration. (Marathi).

  1. Shramik Elgar – sangharshatoon hakka – Annual report and audited statement of the peoples’ organisation. (Marathi).
  2. 3. Arthik Swatantryasathi Paypeeth – Report of farmers’ cooperatives in tribal area. (Marathi)