2014-2015

Annual-Narrative-Report- July 2014 – July 2015

Organization Name: ELGAR PRATISHTHAN

In the last year there has been a change in governments both at the centre and at the state. The state government imposed prohibition in Chandrapur district according to the long standing demand in the district. Thereafter there have been similar demands in Yavatmal, Ahmadnagar, Satara, Pune and other districts of the State. Some organisations have come together to found a state level network on prohibition.

The 14th Finance Commission has increased devolution of funds to various States but in lieu the Central government has delinked some of the centrally sponsored schemes with the understanding that the States would be free to continue with the schemes if they so desire. This has had an impact in the work area as we shall describe below.

Another important development is that there is rising pressure for a separate State of Vidarbha. Elgar participated in the First National Convention of Vidarbha State organised by the Vidarbha State Struggle Committee on 13th and 14th December 2014 at Nagpur. Paromita Goswami and Vijay Sidhawar made presentations on behalf of Elgar in panel discussions regarding women’s issues in Vidarbha and the livelihood issues of the marginalised sections.

Our primary activities have revolved around six issues and the impacts are as under:

  1. Prohibition in Chandrapur district: On 14th August 2014 i.e. on the eve of Independence Day more than 25 women shaved their heads in protest against the government’s false assurances regarding prohibition. The agitation took place in Warora city, hometown of the then cabinet minister in charge of Chandrapur. The action was widely reported in media and several well-known people commented in favour of women. After the elections and the new government in place, the finance minister has reiterated his campaign promise to take a positive decision on the prohibition issue.

Elgar followed up with the new government on this issue and finally on 20th January the government announced the policy decision to impose prohibition in the district. On 5th March the government issued orders for complete prohibition in the district to be implemented from 1st April 2015.

After prohibition

The announcement of prohibition was welcomed in the district as people celebrated in villages by distributing sugar, sweets, milk etc. Some villages organised feasts for the whole village. Women gathered at the historic Jatpura Gate at Chandrapur and danced on the roads.

The district collector conducted two meetings to ensure implementation and involvement of all NGOs, media, womens’ groups and political leaders in the process.

As expected there were petitions in High Court challenging the prohibition. There was one petition prior to the issuance of the government order filed by workers in bars and liquor shops through their trade union. Their plea was that the government should not announce prohibition without first rehabilitating the workers. Elgar as well as another womens’ organization in the district separately filed intervention petitions in this matter which continues to remain pending in the High Court.

The second and more important petition was filed by the District Liquor Association and Bar owners challenging the government policy. This matter was argued by the Advocate General himself and there were several senior counsels representing the liquor lobby. The High Court gave a landmark interim order by which it admitted the petition but refused to stay the implementation of the policy. The petitioners have challenged this interim order in Supreme Court and the matter is pending there. The High Court in its interim order mentioned the efforts of Elgar and other social organisations to show that there was a public demand for prohibition which the state had addressed.

Since the imposition of prohibition we have seen positive impacts in rural areas. Availability of liquor has come down. Families have reported an increase in incomes. Women say they have greater access to public spaces like weekly markets. According to the police and doctors numbers of accidents have decreased drastically which they associate with a dip in drunken driving.

However in urban centres there are increasing reports of bootleggers who smuggle liquor from nearby districts. The police has conducted raids and confiscated 30,000 litres of liquor between April and July 2015. However, people feel that although this is a high number it is a fraction of the 2,00,00,000 litres that used to be available annually before prohibition.

Elgar is continuing the work after prohibition at several levels:  (1)Elgar is intensely following up with the government for the following (a) setting up of committees in villages and neighbourhoods (b) setting up a steering committee for the dry zone in Maharashtra comprising of Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Wardha districts (c) increasing number of forensic science labs in the State.

(2) People from various parts of the district contact Elgar if there are incidences of bootlegging, violence etc. E.g. in village Chalbardi a woman was beaten up for opposing bootleggers. She had been elected president of the womens’ group. Elgar supported her to file offence in police station. In village Pathri women and men who informed police about bootlegging were served a legal notice by a bootlegger. In Hospital ward residents approached Elgar for help when bootleggers from a criminal area called Khanjar Mohalla started to harass them. In village Mangli people were also facing harassment because a nearby village called Tanda refused to give up their 40 year old ‘business’ of selling hooch. In every instance Elgar responded and organised local people to access police help.

(3) After the success of Chandrapur, several districts in Maharashtra are demanding prohibition. There are intense agitations in Yavatmal, Buldhana and to a lesser extent in Ahmadnagar, Satara, Amravati etc. Activists from these districts have visited Elgar for inputs, strategic planning and training.

(4) Some politicians are trying to reverse the prohibition and Elgar raised its voice against such a move.

 

  1. Issue of Bamboo Weavers – Elgar has started to mobilise traditional bamboo weavers locally called burud karagir in Chandrapur district. There are around ten thousand families who weave mats, baskets and other traditional items for a livelihood. For this they require green, supple bamboo. This bamboo is supposed to be supplied by the forest department at a subsidised rate called the nistar rate. In 1997 the government issued an order that  burud karagirs would have to register with the forest department in order to access the bamboo. The forest department at that point issued cards to the weavers called Besod Cards. Between 1997 and 2014 no new cards were issued. By a survey done by Elgar of around 5000 families in Chandrapur district, less than two thousand had a card. The card is important for the weavers because it enables them to access 1500 bamboos from the forest department at subsidised rates. Around 85% of the bamboo weavers are tribals, the rest are from Dalit and other communities. Some villages are entirely inhabited by burud karagirs, and in some villages they form a small minority. A majority of burud karagirs live in villages near forest but others live areas which are not near forest and therefore are dependent on forest depots for bamboo supply. Elgar has identified several issues through meetings in around 24 villages. Burud karagirs without besod cards are unable to access bamboo from forest department depots at subsidised prices. Forest department does not stock green bamboo. Karagirs have not got green bamboo in several years. Burud karagirs have to go to forests to cut bamboo for weaving. They are often caught by forest department and charged with theft and their implements are confiscated. The baskets and other materials made with stolen bamboo cannot be sold in open market and therefore the weavers are forced to sell these to middlemen at a lower price. The middlemen in collusion with low level forest department manage to procure the documents required to sell the products in the market. In some areas, excessive felling has destroyed the bamboo forest. The bamboo is priced very high. Even at a subsidised rate the weavers have to pay 21% taxes over extraction and transport costs. Based on these issues Elgar has started work with bamboo workers as under:
  1. We are helping weavers to apply for new besod cards and following up with authorities so that they are given the cards. Around 100 people in villages Mudholi, Rajoli, Chichala, Saradpar, Mohurili, Sitarampeth and Pendhri people got new cards.
  2. We are demanding the forest department to stock green bamboo so that the burud karagirs are able to buy from the depots.
  3. We are helping karagirs to protest against punitive action by forest department officials. In Borgaon village the forest department had confiscated 11 bicycles which the organisation helped the tribals to reclaim. Similarly, in village Chichala the department had confiscated implemented which were returned after intervention of the organisation. Bamboo weavers of village Mohali, Rajoli, Mohurli, Mudholi, and Sitarampeth protested outside the office of the Divisional Forest Officer, Chandrapur by weaving baskets and other crafts outside the office. The Forest Department has issued a format to be filled by the karagirs regarding the requirement of bamboo per month. The organisation is helping the karagirs to fill this card.
  4. Elgar has initiated a census of burud kamgaar families in Chandrapur district. The results will be used to strengthen the campaign for rights.

 

Bamboo Conference of Ease Vidarbha –

Elgar organised the first Bamboo Conference of East Vidarbha attended by around a thousand bamboo weavers from four districts – Chandrapur, Gondia, Bhandara and Gadchiroli. Nine resolutions were passed in the conference including the demand for reducing price of bamboo, resurvey of families by forest department, setting up of burud karagir corporation by the government, assistance from the government for training and sale of products, and setting up of forest university in Chandrapur/Gadchiroli. Eminent economist Dr. Shrinivas Khandewale and senior forest department officials attended the programme.

Demand for Reworking Bamboo Costs

We are demanding that the forest department should bring down the cost of bamboo and make it accessible to burud workers. After our intervention the forest department has cut forest tax and the cost has come down from Rs. 40 per bamboo to Rs. 15 per bamboo. However, even this is very high. The DFO (Buffer Zone) has agreed to implement a scheme where if the burud workers cut the bamboo themselves then they will get a refund of Rs. 9 per bamboo so that in effect the cost comes down to Rs.6. While this is affordable for the burud workers there are several problems with this proposition: (a) several villages like Pendhri (visited by Seema Nair and Abira during their visit) which are not located near a forest and are dependent on the forest department depot for bamboo supply. Thus, they cannot be benefited by this scheme. (b) The forest department has tried out this scheme in only one village i.e. Mohadi village where Elgar is working. We found that although people have to pay Rs.15 immediately the refund amount comes after a delay of nearly two months. When discussed with the DFO we were informed that this is because while the sale amount is deposited in the revenue account of the government, the refund amount is paid from the forest account and therefore there is a lag in the payments. (c) the forest department is reluctant to implement this ‘scheme’ in all villages and this leads to free rider problems. We have met the Principal Secretary Forest Department on this issue but there has not been a response.

 

  1. Data Entry Operators: The Maharashtra Government’s Department of Rural Development received financial support from the Ministry of Panchayati Raj at the Centre for the computerisation of its records at the Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Samity and Zilla Parishad levels. Initially the Government of Maharashtra entered into an agreement with Tata Consultancy Services to form a Joint Venture Company called Mahaonline Company. Thereafter, all the work of appointing manpower, training and actual data entry work was handed over to Mahaonline for which the Rural Development Department agreed to pay the company at the rate of Rs.8500 per data entry operator. However, the Mahaonline Company entered into sub-contract with Unity Infrastructure, who in turn entered into agreement with Unity IT, who further entered into agreement with Chandrapur Online. The data entry operators were not paid more than Rs.3000 to Rs.4000. When they raised their voices 55 operators were terminated. The workers went on strike. The organisation discussed with the Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officer as well as the Secretary, Rural Development Department and eventually all 55 were reinstated. The organisation has worked intensively with a High Court lawyer to plan for a writ petition and hopefully a criminal writ petition shall be filed soon.

 

  1. Issues in buffer zone –  In the Tadoba buffer zone we have started to organize villagers in village Mohurli for access to employment through eco-tourism. The buffer zone has more than 20 resorts set up by city entrepreneurs from Nagpur, Chandrapur and other cities. There are merely a handful of homestay cottages run by local people. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation organized a visit of tour operators from five countries including Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, Italy and the US. They introduced all the resort owners to these foreign visitors but did not include the homestay owners at all. Elgar raised this issue in a high level meeting the Principal Secretary, Forests who assured that the department would work with the MTDC to ensure that homestay owners also get equal exposure.

Similarly, we raised issued about employment of local guides and vehicles and have been able to ensure that from 1st January 2015 local guides and vehicle owners get equal chance at accessing tourists.

We were able to intervene with the forest department to conduct guide trainings for women. 8 women completed the training successfully and all were given jobs as guides by the forest department from 8th March onwards. This is the first time in India that women have been employed as guides in wildlife parks.

  1. Elections – During the state assembly elections we raised issues as we had done during the parliamentary elections. As a grassroots organization we are trying to use elections as a platform to raise issues and also to build relationships with public representatives. We are trying to use elections as a time to ask candidates of all parties to be forthcoming about their stand on some key important issues of the district.

Elgar conducted a march between 10th February 2015 and 8th March 2015 covering 150 villages of Chandrapur district where we discussed violence against women as also other development issues of the village. We found that women came forward with several different types of problems: (1) violence in the home, maintenance, child custody, divorce (2) property related disputes (3) lack of access to social security schemes and other government schemes (4) elderly abuse (6) problems in workplace (7) violence outside homes. Some of the important cases that we followed up are as under:

A total of 67 women came to the family counseling centre in the year. These included women facing marital discord, property and land disputes and violence. Out of these 15 went for mutual divorce and 21 to the police. In 29 the family decided to stay together. In one case the women fought for custody of her children and got them. The organization helped the recovery of movable property work around Rs.4 lakhs and gold worth 204 gms.

Trafficking of Girls – Two tribal girls (one major and one minor) left home for marketing and did not return home. Two days later their parents reported the missing girls to Sindewahi police station and also informed us. We followed up with the police station and after fourteen days the two girls were traced at the borders of Gujarat and Rajasthan. On investigation the police arrested a group who operate at bus stops and railway stations to pick up girls and sell them for marriage. One of the girls aged 19 years wanted to meet her friend who was working in Gujarat and she took the other girl, her cousin aged 15 years along. When both reached Nagpur railway station 170 kms from their village they were afraid and lost. At this time two women posed to help them saying that they were also travelling to Gujarat but instead took them and sold them in Rajasthan. The police registered offence and arrested several people. The investigations are still going home. The girls reached home safely.

Sandhya Raut –

Sandhya Raut is a 35 year old woman from a poor family. She is very active socially and works in the UNICEF’s Deepshikha programme as an animator. She was elected by the women in the village as the president of the anti-liquor committee. After the meeting while she was returning home three men attacked her and abused her verbally. When she retorted they dragged her inside her own home and removed her sari and beat her up with a stick. Her mother in law and father in law were also beaten up. A teacher from the village informed the organization. We met Sandhya in the hospital and she had fourteen stitches on her head. We found at the police station that some of the sections of IPC had not been applied and demanded that this should be done. All the women in the village met the SP and demanded that the men who had beaten Sandhya should be externed from the village. The people also organised a public meeting in the village in support of Sandhya.

Muskaan

(name changed on request)

Muskaan is a 17 year old orphan girl who along with her two elder sisters came to live with their aunt (mausi) after the death of their parents. All the sisters were sexually abused by the two sons of the aunt. After the two elder sisters were married, the two men started to abuse Muskaan. Muskaan approached the organization for help but she refused to go to the police. The organization helped her to come out of the house and get into a protection home. She is continuing her studies.

 

Water in Maroda – There was a severe drinking water shortage at village Maroda because all the four handpumps were not working and women had to travel a long distance for water. Women sat outside the Gram PAnchayat demanded immediate repair. The President of Zilla Parishad took cognizance and two hand pumps were repaired that very day. A month later all four hand pumps were replaced with new ones.

We have not been able to work on this issue because of the change in governments. The previous government had shown interest in devolving funds to the JFM committees, but was dissolved before something concrete could be done. The new government has a new policy which does not emphasise MREGS funds but is more interested in eco-tourism, new bamboo training institution etc.

However, Elgar helped workers to access work under MREGS and also get payment as under:

  1. Nagbhid block, Ranpadsodi village – Labourers in this village newly joined the Sanghatana and told us that they had never got work under MREGS. The Gram Sevak used to tell the labourers that they will be called when there was work – but in reality they were never called. Three women from this village attended the womens’ training camp where they learnt about MREGS and how to demand work. The women took meeting in the village and demanded work. More than 300 labourers got work in the village.
  2. Pombhurna Tehsil, Ambedhanora village – There were serious problems in the payment to this village as several of the names and account numbers were not properly entered in the computerized system. After much follow up nearly all the labourers except 32 got their payments. The organization followed up on a day to day basis with the MREGS department and they labourers were finally paid.

As indicated above we have been able to create a good campaign on this issue. More than a thousand workers from four districts came together for the first convention of bamboo workers. In several villages we have initiated the work for applications and follow up on besod cards. These villages include Rajoli, Pendhri, Mudholi, Sitarampeth, Mohurli. A total of 223 applications are pending before the government. Even before we apply, the forest department have started to approach villages on their own and started to distribute besod cards. We are also demanding that no punitive action should be taken against bamboo workers who bring bamboo from the forest if there is no green bamboo made available through the forest departments.

Bamboo Satyagraha –

Bamboo workers of Mohadi used to ‘steal’ bamboo from the forest and lived in fear of the guard. After a series of meetings they decided to enter the forest in daytime after informing the guard and agreeing to pay the price of Rs.15 per bamboo of which Rs.9 would be refunded to them. On 15th January more than 100 burud workers informed the guard at the forest chowki that were going to the forest. The guard noted their besod card number and allowed them to enter the forest. In the evening the workers informed the guard to count the number of bamboos collected and enter the same in their cards. This process was continued every week. After a month the people paid the total amount to the forest department. After two months they got the refund. In Mohadi people have stopped stealing from the forest. However, as enumerated above there are problems in this scheme and the organization is working to get people together on this issue.

Bamboo workers live in two types of villages – those where bamboo is easily available in nearby forest and those where there is no bamboo in the surrounding forest and workers are dependent on forest department depots. We are carrying out a census of bamboo workers which we shall us in future campaigns. We are planning to highlight the issues of all the workers in November-December 2015.

After several meetings in different villages we found that only a handful are interested in applying for community forest rights. The reasons given by the people include the following – there have been more than 45 deaths due to wildlife attacks in the district, the heterogeneity of caste-tribe combinations in the villages, the lack of major forest produce like tendu leaves and bamboo, the ‘good’ forest is mostly covered in the Tiger Reserve and so people are not interested in taking over depleted forest lands.  Regarding eco-tourism we have started to work in Mohurli village on the outskirts of the Tiger Reserve. Although the government’s eco-tourism policy talks about providing preference to the local people, in reality more than 2o resorts have been constructed by people from Nagpur, Chandrapur and other cities. There are only a couple of homestay cottages run by local people. We are working with the forest department to promote the homestays. Similarly, the local youths are interested in working as tourist guides and around 25 villagers have bought vehicles. However, city-based tour operators and resort owners have formed a syndicate to ensure that only their tourist vehicles are allowed to ply in the reserve. We have raised this issue strongly with the forest department and from 1st January 2015 both vehicles and guides are being allowed to enter the reserve on a rotation basis. This a big step forward because this will ensure that villagers will get an equal chance of employment. Yet another major achievement is that the forest department agreed to train and employ the first batch of local young women as tourist guides. On 8th March the first batch of women guides were inducted by the forest department.

Other Activities

Housing for Korkus – We have initiated a major work for right to housing for Korku tribals living Mul city. The Korkus are landless tribals who have no fixed residence and are categorised as primitive tribal group by the government. They live in tiny huts and move from place to place in search of livelihood. In Mul many of them sell small amulets and photographs at the bus stop and eke out a hand-to-mouth existence. Elgar came in contact with the Korku community when their huts were drowned in the floods and around  forty families with a total of around hundred people became totally homeless. We helped to shift all the families to government shelter and intervened with the government to provide immediate relief in terms of food, blankets, clothers and utensils. After the floods subsided many went back to rebuild their huts from the remains. We realised that not a single Korku family had ration cards and this was the first issue that we worked on. We ensured that all the 45 families were issued ration cards. Thereafter we started working on the housing issue. We realised that since all of them were landless they could not apply for housing schemes such as the Indira Gandhi Gharkul Yojana. However, on studying we found that there is one way that they can get land from the government i.e. through the formation of a housing cooperative society. It is next to impossible to make a group of totally illiterate, nomadic, and landless tribals form and run a cooperative but we have started the first steps. Korku women are leading the efforts to collect the Rs.125/- as shares towards cooperative formation.

The first step towards registration of cooperative is getting permission from the Assistant Registrar, Cooperatives to open a bank account. There was inordinate delay on the side of the Assistant Registrar. Finally the Korku community agitated at the office of the registrar after which they could procure the permission.

  • Rajura Squatters – 55 families living in Sonianagar of Rajura taluka were suddenly evicted in a joint action by Rajura Municipal Corporation and the revenue department under police protection. As soon as the organization came to know this activists went to the area and helped the people to rebuild their huts. The organization also took out a rally to protest against police atrocities and highhanded approach of the officials. The organization helped all the families in Sonianagar to apply for regularization of encroachments.
  • Model Schools of Gadchiroli – The UPA government had initiated a Model School Scheme for running of English medium schools for students between Std. VIth and XIIth. The scheme was a centrally sponsored one for which the central government would pay 75% of the funds and the state would have to pay 25%. However, in 2015 the central government delinked this scheme meaning they refused to fund this scheme any longer with the rider that if the State government wanted they could continue with it. In Maharashtra there were 43 schools of which 5 were located in Gadchiroli district. This district has one of the lowest human development indicators in the country, is massively impacted by Naxalite violence and there are no other English medium schools in the blocks where the Model Schools were located. The students and parents protested the closing of the schools as a result of which the State government announced that they would continue with the schools without fresh admissions such that the schools would close down over the next three –four years. At present there are about 500 students in these schools. Elgar helped the parents to meet and appeal to the Governor of Maharashtra Shri. Vidyasagar Rao and there were meetings with the Education Minister, Education Secretary and Finance Minister. As a result the government showed a willingness to continue with the school but under a semi-English medium. The parents and students are unhappy with this ad hoc solution and Elgar is helping them to file PIL.
  • Korku Children in School and Streetlight in the Vasti – In a meeting with Korku community during the visit by Seema Nair it came to the fore that several children were not attending school. After follow up by Elgar six children have taken admission in Zilla Parishad school this year. In the same meeting we saw that there were no lights in the colony. The people organised and demanded that the Nagar Palika should install streetlights. One streetlight has been installed by the municipal corporation.
  • Issues of Vidarbha Region – Elgar organised two public meetings one in Mul Taluka of Chandrapur district and another at Chamorshi Taluka of Gadchiroli district to discuss the issues of Vidarbha region. The meetings were addressed by Adv. Srihari Aney, eminent Supreme Court lawyer who is also spearheading a movement for separate Vidarbha State. Elgar also participated in the two days National Convention on Vidarbha Region at Nagpur where it made two presentations on the issues of women and children, and on the issues of rural workers.
  • Food Security and Social Security – After the present government has come into power the grains available to APL ration card holders have stopped. We organised rallies against this at Saoli, Mul, and Pombhurna. We also demanded increase in the widow and old age pensions to at least Rs.2000 p.m.

Health Camps

Health Check up Camps: Elgar Pratishthan organised four health camps for the benefiaries of the ESHGs with the help of government PHCs/rural hospitals and private doctors.

Name of block Place of camp Date Number of beneficiaries
Mul Mul 17th April 143
Sindewahi Navargaon  22nd April 102
Saoli Mokhada 26th April 61
Nagbhid Girgaon 28th April

85

Women’s Training Camps – Three womens’ training camps were organised during the year as under:

Dates Number of participants
13th to 15th May 2015 30
24th 27th May 2015 54
27th June 2015 94 

 

Atrocity on Dalit Sarpanch –

The Dalit Sarpanch Sanjay Fulzele was badly beaten up by some non-Dalits who threatened him not to stand for the upcoming elections to the Gram Panchayat elections. Worse, when he went to the police station, the police instead of writing the FIR as per his complaint changed the contents. Sanjay refused to sign the FIR and insisted that the offence should be registered as per his information. Then the police started to harass him and tried to force him to sign. Fortunately, some women activists of Elgar went to the police station and saw the police hold him by the collar. They immediately rushed to help him and thereafter informed the organization. We informed the SP immediately who rushed the SDPO to the police station. Thereafter the SDPO ordered a fresh FIR. Next day we helped Sanjay to file complaints with SP and the ST/SC Atrocities Cell. We have also helped him to file RTI applications based on which we are contemplating a private complaint against the Police Station in Charge.

 

  • Labour Issues

Unorganised Sector: (i) 13 labourers had worked through Jungal Kaamgar Cooperative and were not paid by the forest department. After the intervention of the organization they were paid Rs. 3,15,000.

(ii) A tribal namely Gopal Atram of village Dewai of Pombhurna block worked as a fire watcher between February and May 2014 and was  not paid his wages by the forest department. After the intervention of the organization he was paid Rs.15000.

(iii) Three labourers of village Haldi, Taluka Mul had worked for a contractor for construction of check dams and were not paid. The organization helped to get wages of Rs.7500.

(iv) Four applications are pending before the Assistant Labour Commissioner, pertaining to non-payment of minimum wages.

 

Organised Sector:

Chandrapur is known as one of the industrialized districts of Vidarbha region. There are more than 120 big and medium level industries operating in this area. Cement, Power Generation, Paper and Newsprint and Ferro Alloy based industries are prominent. Chandrapur, like the global trend, is also facing growing informalisation of the workforce in these industries and more and more work is being relegated to the contract labourers and daily wage workers without any protection and support. Most of the trade unions working in these companies restrict themselves to the formal workforce and rarely show any interest in the unorganized labour segment. As a conscious strategy organization has started organizing these workers for their basic rights like minimum wages, eight hour working day and health and insurance benefits including employees provident fund rights. Incidentally these industries are also the heaviest polluters in the area converting Chandrapur into one of the most polluted cities in India. We are also focusing on the environmental degradation aspect by forcing them to abide by the environmental laws.

We have organized workers in Greta Power Limited, Vayunandana Power Limited, Prithvi Ferro Alloy and Limited and Ballarpur Paper and Graphics Limited.

In the first stage of organizing we are focusing on the implementation of minimum wages act, provisions of contract labour act, employees provident fund act and air and water pollution acts. The chart below will give a glimpse of our efforts.

 

Issues Greta Prithvi Vayunandana Ballarpur Paper
Wages Increased from Rs. 120 to Rs 200 and recently to Rs. 232 the minimum wage mark. Increased from Rs. 170 to Rs. 215. Yet to achieve the minimum wage mark. Increased from Rs. 215 to Rs. 240. Bamboo Cutting rates increased from Rs. 7 a bundle to Rs. 12 a bundle. (One bundle is 20 bamboo sticks. The average cutting rate is 20 bundles a day per labourer so the wage would come about Rs. 240)
Working Hours Earlier it was 12 hours two shifts. Now it is 8 hours three shifts. Earlier it was 9 hours three shifts now it is 8 hours three shifts. No change as it was already 8 hours three shifts. Earlier it was piece rate now it is 8 hours plus overtime.
Health and Safety Distribution of Helmets, Shoes and glasses. Masks for workers working in the coal yard and carbon ash handling units. Distribution of Helmets, Shoes and glasses. Masks for workers working in the coal yard and carbon ash handling units. Distribution of Masks for coal yard and carbon ash units. Availability of first aid with supervisor working in the various forest compartments.
Provident Fund Deduction of Provident Fund started from December 2015 but we are working on the rates. The legal obligation is 12% but the company is deducting and contributing 6%. After the agitation company agreed to implement deductions and contributions from the company side from October 2015. Already deducting and contributing 12%. Company has refused any deduction. Planning agitation on this issue.
Enviornment Protection The byproducts fly ash and carbon ash were being dumped in the nearby paddy fields. Have been forced to create their own dumping yards and future plans to utilize this ash in the smaller brick making units. The byproducts fly ash and carbon ash were being dumped in the nearby paddy fields. Have been forced to create their own dumping yards and future plans to utilize this ash in the smaller brick making units. The byproducts fly ash and carbon ash were being dumped in the nearby paddy fields. Have been forced to create their own dumping yards and future plans to utilize this ash in the smaller brick making units. Working with Joint Forest Management Committees to make bamboo available to the small scale bamboo workers and weavers at cheap rates and replenish bamboo forest by implementing schemes at the JFM level.

Our major achievement has been that the Maharashtra government has agreed to consider the prohibition issue. We arrived at this achievement by consistently following up for over four years. We were also able to make a coalition of people and groups who held similar views or were working on issue of alcoholism/ substance abuse. The media also helped us taking our message to the policy makers. We were able to use the elections as an opportunity to mobilise around the issue. The liquor dealers tried very hard to stop the campaign or ensure its failure by collecting money, raising false alarms in the name of worker unemployment and increase in crime rates but we ultimately the government had to consider the women’s demands.  

Full Name: Elgar Mahila Bigar Sheti Sahkari Pat Sanstha

(Elgar Women’s Non Agricultural Credit Cooperative Society), Marya – Rajoli

  • Establishment Date: 23 January 2003
  • Registration Number: CHD 418
  • Members: 523 (Female:523)
  • Share Capital: Rs. 2, 30,795
  • Total Deposits: Rs. 29, 69,602
  • Savings Deposits: Rs. 9, 94,553
  • Loan Disbursements from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014: Rs. 10, 72,000. Turnover for the year 13-14 was Rs. 1,12,00,000

Full Name: Jiwati Taluka Sheti Vikas Sahakari Sanstha

(Jiwati Block Agriculture Development Cooperative Society)

  • Establishment Date: May 2007
  • Registration No: 5/957/08
  • Members: 245 (Female:60, Male:185)
  • Share Capital: Rs. 48,500
  • According to the 2012-2013 Balance Sheet the purchase and sale accounts for the society was Rs. 6, 94,767.00 and the net profit was of Rs. 54,211.00

Full Name: Elgar Kisan Bahuddeshiya Sahkari Sanstah

(Elgar Farmers Multi-Objective Cooperative Soceity) Sawli

  • Establishment Date: January 2009
  • Registration No.:001/2009
  • Members: 103 (Female:23, Male:80)