2011-2012

Elgar Pratishthan

Annual Report – 2011 – 2012

Name of the Organisation: Elgar Pratishthan

  1. Context of the Organisation 

The external context presented several opportunities to the organisation. The government has formed a district level committee for the monitoring of implementation of the laws and schemes related to women, including domestic violence, anti-human trafficking, and state womens’ policy. Both, the president (in her capacity as member of District Child Welfar Committee) as well as the secretary of Elgar Pratishthan, are members of this committee. They are planning to use the committee to further the rights of women. This committee is chaired by the District Collector.

Because of the efforts of the organisation, Chandrapur district administration has taken serious note of the issues around illicit liquor smuggling. The SP took special efforts to initiate two helplines in the district – one for women in distress and the second for giving information regarding illicit liquor. Village level womens’ committees are being initiated to assist the police in checking illicit liquor. These committees will be regularly in touch with the police stations and work with them on this issue.

The report period also saw elections to the Zilla Parishad, Panchayat Samities and the Agricultural Produce Marketing Corporations. For the local body election, the organisation supported first time women contenders especially single women. A member of the organisation was elected to the Pombhurna APMC, and one woman member was elected to Mul Nagar Palika.

This year the organisation was given several awards including the Maharashtrian of the Year Award by Lokmat Media Group which was given in the presence of Smt. Pratibha Patil, President. We also got the P.B. Samant Sangharsh Award given by Gore Trust in the presence of socialist leader Smt. Mrunal Gore and Baba Adhav. We were also felicitated by the Nagpur Mahila Manch, a forum of two hundred womens’ organisations and individuals committed to women’s issues working in Nagpur since 1975. All these awards led to highlighting the work of the organisation and women’s demand in Chandrapur for amendment in the state’s alcohol policy.

  1. internal Organisation
  2. a) Major Policy Decisions: None. 
  3. b) Major changes in organisation’s formal structure and/or decision-making mechanism: There have been no major changes in the organisation’s formal structure and/or decision making mechanism.
  4. c) Membership: The membership of the peoples’ organisation in the report period is around 12000 of which 5608 are women. There is no significant change in the membership of cooperatives.
  5. d) Type and frequency of meetings of the Board and General Assembly: Quarterly board meetings were held at the organisation’s office and were presided over by Ms. Jayashree Kapse, the president of the organisation. One general body meeting of the organisation was held. Issue based meetings were held as and when required. The agenda included administrative policies, financial stock taking, and discussion on specific programmes and issues. The board also sanctioned reports and accounts as and when required.
  6. e) Changes in the number and composition of staff members at management level and board level: There were some changes in the staff members. Three senior staff members including one lawyer left the organisation due to personal reasons like ill-health and wife’s ill health. However, all of them continue to volunteer for the organisation as and when required.
  7. Results 

In the reporting period the organisation has worked on the following aspects of the programme with an emphasis on group activity.

Block Level Meetings

The peoples’ organisation is working in eight blocks of Chandrapur district and in each block monthly block meetings were expected to be held. However, in effect an average of nine block meetings was held in each block. The block level meetings were extremely important in the functioning of the peoples’ organisation as all common issues affecting several villages in the block were discussed and action was also decided at this level. Thus, rallies for payment of wages emerged from block level meeting at Pombhurna but later such rallies were organised in Saoli and Mul as well. Other issues included water scarcity, tribal land alienation, payment of single women pensions, and corruption in PDS.

Rehabilitation of Displaced Tribals

Between 1995 and 2000 the village Pipargaon, block: Rajura inhabited entirely by Kolam tribals was displaced for the Dongargaon Medium Irrigation Project. The adivasis were not rehabilitated and therefore they scattered to nearby areas. A group of such displaced tribals comprising of 18 families settled about 2 kms from village Murti. This hamlet named Murti Kolamguda did not have access road, drinking water, electricity or any other civic amenities. There was no source of livelihood either. The organization helped the tribals to apply for homestead land as well as regularization of forest land cultivation for livelihood. Initially the administration said that they did not have the hamlet on record and in fact were not aware that such a hamlet existed but after the organisation’s intervention the tribals were given homestead and the rehabilitation process has started. 

MREGS and Labour Issues

The road connecting Kawadpeth with Chichala was in a bad condition due to the trucks carrying boulders and gravel from a quarry nearby. The women of Kawadpeth stopped the trucks of the quarry contractors including the President of Zilla Parishad and demanded that unless the road was repaired they would not allow any vehicles to ply. The contractors had no option but to repair the road. Later the ZP also sanctioned Rs. 5 lakhs for repair of the road.

Village Morwahi did not have an access road to the taluka town Mul inspite of being only 9 kms away. The organisation helped the villagers pass resolution in Gram Sabha for construction of road under MREGS. The Sarpanches of Morwahi and Chitegaon (the neighbouring village) met the Addl. CEO of ZP and the road was sanctioned through MREGS. However, the estimate prepared by the engineers was over Rs. 30 lakhs thereby requiring the approval of the CEO who was away on leave for a month. Therefore, the organisation negotiated for lowering the amount to below Rs.30 lakhs such that the approvals were procured at the BDO level and work for the road was started immediately. 90% of the construction is completed.

There are 47 trolley pullers in Mul who did not have a space in the market for their trolleys. They organised and agitated for place and after negotiating with the Nagar Palika they were able to get a trolley stand and also a shed by the roadside.

In Saoli block labourers had worked in villages antargaon, Nimgaon, Kondekhal, Chandli bujrug, Kawthi etc. and had not been paid their wages. The labourers demonstrated at the office of the Panchayat Samity Saoli and refused to go home till the wages were paid. At 11:00 p.m. the matter was resolved and the labourers called off the agitation. A total of Rs.10.54 lakhs was paid to the labourers after the agitation.

In Pombhurna block 40 labourers of village Ghosari had worked but were not paid the arrears as per revised rates.  After intervention of the organization Rs.124000 revised wages were paid.

Similarly in Saoli block also labourers agitated for arrears under revised rates. A total of Rs.296181 was recovered as arrears as follows: Antargaon – Rs.35000. Nimgaon –Rs.79700, Pathri – Rs.109947, Khedi – Rs.71534.

Labourers from Pombhurna block had worked on government construction sites but were not paid for two months. After the intervention of the organisation they were paid Rs.12,01,124.

7 labourers from village Sushi of Mul block had worked on MREGS but were not paid for three months. With the help of the organization they were paid Rs.21500.

200 labourers of village Sintala were helped to get wages for work under MREGS.

90 labourers fro village Dongarhaldi had worked to construct roads under MREGS but were not paid for four months. Through the intervention of the organization they were paid Rs.73000.

Labourers from 15 villages in Pombhurna block demanded for payment of wages that had not been paid for more than 2 months. As a result of the organisation’s efforts Rs.23,65,139 was paid to the labourers.

Labourers from Saoli block were not paid for more than three months. When the organization discussed with the block level officials it was learnt that Rs. 53,32,327 was pending the Panchayat Samity office and Rs. 487563 was pending with the Tehsil office. With the intervention of the total amount of Rs.2,56,00,000 was paid within three days.

The Zilla Parishad had employed 45 drivers in the health department in 2004 at a consolidated payment of Rs. 2500 per month. Even after eight years the amount was not increased inspite of several Zilla Parishad resolutions and letters from the CEO to the health ministry. The organisation actively supported the strike by the drivers which continued for two weeks. Later the payment was increased to Rs.7500 per month.

Land
Nontribals in Jivti block of Chandrapur district had filed 18 cases in the district cases to stall the process of restoration of land to dispossessed tribals.  Out of these 14 petitions were dismissed by the court. The organisation has written to the administration for restarting the process of restoration.

Marubai Kulsange , a tribal woman had 8.37 ha land at village Panchgaon of Rajura block which had been encroached upon by a non-tribal for more than 25 years. The organization helped Marubai take possession of the land and also start cultivation.

Gurudas Pendor a tribal had 5 acres land in village Pettala of Chamorshi block, District Gadchiroli which was encroached upon by a non-tribal. The organization helped the tribal regain possession of the land.

Latabai Bhendare, a non-tribal single woman had land in village Chichala of Mul Block which was encroached upon by another farmer. The organization helped her to regain possession of the land measuring 0.60 acres.

Gitabai Kolhe, a non-tribal single woman was not allowed to access her share of parental property by her brothers. The organization helped her to access 3 acres of land.

Forest Rights Act

16 people of village Pimparguda, Block rajura were helped to get pattas to the forest land under their cultivation. The organisation is also following up on the issue of non-tribal forest dwellers who are unable to have their land regularised because the evidence that is demanded under law is extremely severe. Most non-tribal forest dwellers do not have the evidence of residence since 1935 which is required under section 2 (o) of the Forest Rights Act.

Labour Rights

Shobhatai Mandare of village  Lalheti Block Pombhurna was not paid for cooking mid day meals in the school. After the intervention of the organization she was pad her wages.

Labourers from Brahmapuri block who were employed by the Ghosekhurd Major Irrigation Project were being paid between Rs.50 -90. The organization helped the labourers to get between Rs.110 -150 according to the Minimum Wages Act.

Workers employed by the Shantikunj Solvent Factory were not paid gratuity for 5-6 years. Through the intervention of the organization the gratuity was paid. 6 workers were paid Rs.74859

Migrant labourers from Gondia district had come to work in Chandrapur district through a labour contractor who was not paying them. Through the intervention of the organization the labourers were paid Rs.24200.

Women from village Rajoli, Block Mul were not paid for paddy transplantation work. With the help of the organization they could recover Rs.9400.

 

Public Distribution System

Ration card holders of village Bhatejamb were not receiving kerosene oil for more than 30 years.  With the help of the organization they started to receive the oil.

Villages Jhari and Peth of Chandrapur block were not receiving grains under the PDS scheme. With the help of the organization they started to receive the same.

Village Chargaon of Saoli block was not receiving kerosene oil for more than 2 months. The organization invited the Tehsildar Saoli for a programme to publicly distribute oil and check the stock book of the fair price shop owner. Immediately the villagers started to receive kerosene oil.

 

Water Rights

  1. Village Maregaon

A thermal power company called Prithvi FerroAlloys started construction work at MIDC Aksapur Growth Centre. A canal running from a irrigation tank constructed by the Zilla Parishad was obstructed by the company during the construction. In spite of repeated pleas by the villagers to the company as well as Zilla Parishad and in spite of resolutions in the Gram Sabha the company paid no heed. The organization entered the company premises along with villagers demanding removal of encroachment on canal. The organization also filed complaint to the Executive Engineer of Zilla Parishad under the Maharashtra Irrigation Act, 1976. Finally, the engineers took cognizance of the complaint and removed encroachments and also fined the company for the damage caused to the canal.

(b) Village Saimara

The ex-malguzari tank at Saimara was leased out to the Vikas Fishermen Cooperative for many years. The members of this cooperative belong to the Dhivar community from several villages including Saimara, Mundala, and Tambegadi Mendha. The fisheries department leased out the tank to a private contractor without informing the society. The cooperative made several representations to the fisheries department as well as the zilla parishad that they had put the fish seeds in the tank in the previous seasons and if the contractor was allowed to fish it would lead to financial loss to the cooperatives, however the departments did not respond. Finally, the members of the cooperatives organised and took possession of the tank.

(c) Village Dongargaon 

In an identical case, the fishing cooperative of Dongargaon, Taluka Sindewahi lost possession of the Jivnapur tank when the same was leased out to a private contractor. When the members tried to get possession of the tank the contractor filed a suit in the civil court against the office bearers of the cooperative. The organisation helped the cooperative to file a case with the Zilla Parishad for cancellation of lease to the contractor. After several hearings the lease was cancelled on several grounds including that the lease amount was very small compared to the acreage of the tank. After the lease to the contractor was cancelled, the cooperative had to get the lease from the BDO for which they required the NOC from the fisheries department. This was problematic because the by-laws of the cooperative did not mention the particular tank within their jurisdiction. However, under the condition of amending the bylaws within two months the cooperative got the NOC as also the lease of the tank. Thus, with the help of the organization the society having more than 100 members got possession of the tank.

(d) Village Rajoli

In village Rajoli a local contractor was extracting sand from the Uma river bed using JCB machinery. The organisation and the Gram Panchayat stopped the sand mining after complaining to the District Collector. The machinery was confiscated and offense was registered against the contractor.

Women’s Cases

During the report period a total of 83 women approached the organization for assistance with regard to domestic violence. Out of these in five cases the women were helped to register offence in police stations. 9 cases were filed in court for maintenance. 7 cases settled amicably. 5 cases led to divorce. The organization helped women to recover streedhan in four cases which included cash of Rs.60000, materials worth around Rs.2.5 lakhs and 15 gms of gold ornaments. Farzana Sheikh who leads the women’s programme was nominated as a member of Mul Mahila Sanrakshan Samity attached to the Mul police station.

SHGs

The organisation is working with 125 womens’ self help groups. Monthly meetings are held to discussion issues of the women. This year we organised three meetings with the representatives of the self help groups to discuss the functioning of the credit cooperative. The aim was to make them aware of the administrative requirements of the credit cooperative, discuss the various products of the cooperatives, the rules and requirements regarding loan disbursement and recoveries and most importantly to discuss with them what they wanted from the bank. All three meetings were well attended and it led to formation of 27 new self help groups.

Anti-Liquor Campaign

The committee formed under the chairmanship of Mr. Sanjay Deotale, Guardian Minister of Chandrapur district to look into the demand for liquor ban in the district submitted its report to the cabinet in February 2012. After that the organisation worked to get letters of support from all the political party leaders, NGOs and important persons in the district as also Gadchiroli and Nagpur. A group of women leaders from the district representing various organisations met the Chief Minister, Mr. Prithviraj Chauhan and handed over a memorandum requesting for making the Deotale report public as also taking a decision regarding the demand of women for liquor ban. The Chief Minister assured tha that the matter would be taken up after the on-going assembly session, i.e. after April 2012. 

Cooperatives 

Elgar Pratishthan is working to strengthen three agricultural cooperatives, one women’s credit cooperative and one dairy cooperative. During the report period the organisation has bought a software package for financial management of the cooperatives. It also conducted training programmes for directors of the cooperatives and members. 

 

  • Pombhurna Cooperative – The Pombhurna cooperative has stabilised during the reporting period. One of the remarkable achievements is the high amount of advances collected from the farmers. Last year the cooperative collected Rs.40000, while this year it collected more than Rs.200000.
  • Jivti Cooperative – The cooperative continued functioning and from its profits it invested Rs.1,20,000 in the construction of a godown at village Pallezari, Jivti Block. The construction is 70% complete. The office of the cooperative has also been shifted there. 
  • Saoli Cooperative – This cooperative has started functioning this year. It collected Rs.120000 in advances for booking seeds and fertilisers. It also procured all the necessary licenses for conducting business.
  • Women’s credit cooperative – This year we concentrated on streamlining the administration of the cooperative. We also added 30 new self help groups with a total membership of 520 women to the cooperative.
  • Dairy Cooperative – The Ashirwad Dudh Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha (diary cooperative) was registered with a membership of forty farmers. At present the dairy cooperative is collecting milk from two blocks – Mul and Sindewahi. The collection has risen from around 30 litres per day to more than 500 litres per day. At present this cooperative is supplying the highest amount of milk to the government dairy department. In comparison with other dairy societies in the district this society also pays the highest price to the members at Rs.20 per litre. Elgar Pratishthan has started its own model dairy farm at Chitegaon which at present is supplying 25 litres per day. The model dairy farm has been able to change the mindset of local farmers that high yielding jersey and holstein variety cows are not suitable for the climate. It is visited by farmers regularly as an example of management of dairy. We were able to demonstrate to the farmers the importance of cleanliness of animals and shed as no animal in the model farm has fallen ill in the past one year. The model dairy also experimented with the right amount of market bought fodder and locally available fodder for higher yield. The society is making bulk purchase of fodder for supplying to members at subsidised rates. The organisation also provides veterinary services to the members who pay only for the medicines. The cooperative has given loans to two farmers, one of whom is the leader of the peoples’ organisation, to restart milk production which they had abandoned. A major achievement of the dairy cooperative is that the government dairy department has been convinced to re-starting their milk collection vans on the Mul-Chandrapur route which had stopped plying several years ago. It is expected that the government vans shall start plying in July 2012.

 

Training

The details of training programmes and workshops organised during the report period is as follows:

S.No. Name Number of men participants Number of women participants Total Contents
1. Foundation Training 8 8 16 Information about peoples’ organisation, why is organising needed, structure of organisation, commitment, village level issues, panchayats, constitution.
2. Women’s training 20 20 The place of women in society, the place of women in constitution, problems of rural women, anti-liquor campaign, domestic violence, women’s health.
3. Organiser training 10 5 15 How to organise?, membership, meetings, RTI, PDS, panchayats, FRA. 
4. Youth (women) training 18 18 Aspirations of young women, life of Savitribai Phule, rights of women, village level issues, deciding about one’s life, taking care of health
5. Youth (women) training 10 10 Aspirations of young women, life of Savitribai Phule, rights of women, village level issues, deciding about one’s life, taking care of health
6. Organiser training 19 12 31 How to organise?, membership, meetings, RTI, PDS, panchayats, FRA.
7. Women Training 55 55 The place of women in society, the place of women in constitution, problems of rural women, anti-liquor campaign, domestic violence, women’s health, RTI, PDS, Panchayats.
8. Workshop on water (construction of Ghosekhurd major irrigation project) 12 35 47 Information about Ghosekhurd Major Irrigation Project, who will get water and who will not?, rehabilitation of project affected people.
9. Workshop on dairy management 10 25 35 Information on varoius aspects of dairy management
10. Workshop on turmeric production Information of various aspects and economics of turmeric production
11. Workshop on panchayat leadership 10 12 22 Discussion on problems being faced by panchayats in implementation of MREGS, common issues in the area and need for common action.

 

Newsletters

14 newsletters were brought out during the report period. Apart from this following publications were brought out:

  1. Annual report of peoples’ organisation.
  2. Website of Elgar Pratishthan
  3. Publication of songs of organisation

Sane Guruji Nagar Vachanalaya (Public Library)

Elgar Pratishthan started a town library at Mul with an initial stock of 932 books. It also subscribes to various newspapers. 

Recently, the library has also started to organise Sunday lecture series every month which is well attended by local people. The topics and speakers were as follows:

  1. Changing face of superstitions. – Haribhau Pathode, Vidarbha General Secretary, Movement for eradication of superstitions.
  2. Social justice in today’s India – Prabhu Rajgadkar, Addl. CEO, Zilla Parishad, Chandrapur.
  3. Present day relevance of saint literature (sant sahitya). – Prof. Dnyanesh Wakudkar, Poet.

Study Circle

Elgar Pratishthan started a study circle at Mul for youths aspiring to compete in various civil service examinations. At present there are 44 youths who are regularly using the library and reading room facilities provided by the organisation. Of these four are women and forty men. Two workshops were organised one of which was about preparing for written examinations and the second about preparing for interviews.

In the report period 6 men entered the military, 3 cleared the police department examination, 3 cleared exams for central reserve police (postal department), 1 entered WCL and 1 entered an ITI as instructor.

The study circle organised Vidarbha level cycling (60 kms) and marathon (30 kms) competitions. There are 55 competitors in the cycling event and 76 competitors in the marathon event.

Reflection

We encountered difficulty in extending legal aid to women as the lawyer working with Elgar Pratishthan had to leave towards the end of the year. However, he has agreed to continue with the cases which he has already begun but not take up new ones. Thereafter, the organisation has decided to identify and work with different lawyers in different courts instead of employing another lawyer.

This year we could make several new contacts with other organisations. Our organisation was visited by Shri. P.V. Rajagopal during his nation-wide journey on land rights. He and activists from Ekta Parishad spent the night at our campus and there were discussions on land and other issues in the area. Later Ekta Parishad invited us to a programme in Raipur which was attended by Shri. Jairam Ramesh. Activists from the peoples’ organisation attended the programme and handed over a memorandum to the minister of rural development regarding land issues in the area. Ekta Parishad and Elgar Pratishthan are planning a training programme for activists in Chandrapur and Gadchiroli on land rights.

As part of the anti-liquor campaign we got in touch with several organisations in the area as also like minded individuals, e.g. Shodhgram (Gadchiroli), Prakruti (Chandrapur), Nagpur Mahila Manch (a forum of 200 women activists in Nagpur), Gurudev Seva Mandal (Amravati), Chandrapur Bachao Sangharsh Samity – a forum of environmental and social activists in the district etc. Political leaders and activists at the district level from several parties have also given their support to this movement.

Overall this has been an average year. However, the problem that the organisation is facing is that of a changing rural socio-economic milieu where the aspirations and ambitions of the youth has changed. We find far fewer numbers of youths drawn towards social activism than ten years ago. This has been one reason for starting library, study circle and lecture series apart from the regular training programmes that we used to organise.

This year we have made substantial progress in administration, financial management and institution building. This will help us in the future regarding functioning of peoples’ organisation, cooperatives and Elgar Pratishthan.

  1. Monitoring Performance and Organisational Quality

The quality of the organisation has improved in terms of use of financial resources through close day to day monitoring. Without raising our overall volume of funds we are using existing financial resources to greater more results than previously before. For e.g. without raising extra funds we are assisting three agricultural cooperatives and one women’s credit cooperative.

Internal Planning and Reflection

For internal planning and reflection there were staff meetings every fifteen days. Apart from this there were monthly block level meetings in every block which were used to strengthen peoples’ organisation and discuss issues. The cooperatives also held monthly meetings to discuss the progress of the coops. The staff members, volunteers and members of the organisation were involved at different levels of planning and reflection.

The organisation monitored performance of the organisation through monthly meetings with staff members, leaders, volunteers and directors. All information and feedback was shared in the meetings.

Experience with Indicators

The indicators are a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. Sometimes it is difficult to quantify the work we do. E.g. it is not possible to give the exact number of women facilitated to attend the gram sabha. While we can motivate women to call for and attend gram sabha in a particular village it is not possible to keep track of the number of women who attended. Similarly, when the numbers become large, beyond a couple of hundred, we can only estimate exact figures e.g. number of women attending a rally, number of women out of a group of MREGS workers in a block who got wages because of the rally. In other cases of course such numbers are tracked e.g. number of members in SHGs, peoples’ organisation, cooperatives etc.

Sharing Experience with Beneficiaries and Stakeholders

The organisation shared experience through regular meetings with ‘beneficiaries’ and members. Information regarding work of the organisation was shared through the newsletters. Also, in the general body meeting of the peoples’ organisation, information was shared about the work of the organisation as also the accounts of donations received from the people.

  1. Relationship with Supporters

The director of the organisation as well as a senior staff member attended the meeting on tribal rights organised by HIVOS and hosted by Yakshi, Andhra Pradesh. The meeting was organised between 29th January and 1st February 2012. The meeting enabled interaction between tribal leaders from various states of the country. It was a great learning opportunity for understanding about Adivasi identy, issues, and organising around similar concerns.