How India Solves Pastoral Issue through Social Movement
A total of 1214 acres of Grazing land is now protected and controlled by the pastoralists, thanks to Social movement carried out in the villages of Saurstra and Kutch, India.
Chachana village comes under Chuda block of Surendranagar District of Gujarat is populated by around 400 families, 35 of which are pastoralist families. Darbars, Dalits, and Kolis are other communities who live there with the Pastrolists. The main source of the villagers is livestock keeping, farming and labor work. There are around 2500 livestock in the village, which made up of different types of lands like Grazing land, individual land, Commons, and Govt land. There are 625 Bigha(acres) of Grazing land which become the main source of livelihood of the pastoralists. Also, the Pastoralists have the rights on the on Commons since many years.
Over the years, pastoralists from this village migrate every year for 8 months to places like Kanam, Baroda up to Surat in Gujarat India. As they do not dwell permanently in the village, the Darbars and other powerful communities encroach the land. More than 500 Bigha land have been encroached in last 30years.
In January, last year, the MARAG team came in contact with BhanubhaiBharvad, a Pastoralist from Chachana village. Together with other Pastoralists, they explained the challenges they have faced for survival without the Grazing land. They informed that the powerful people did not permit to graze their livestock in the grazing land. Our team, local CBOs and MaldhariVikasSangthanmet the pastoralist community in April 2015. During the meeting, it became clear that it was difficult to protect the grazing land form the powerful communities. They had to go out of their village with livestock during Monsoon and winter seasons for grazing. Further, the names of 8 powerful people who had encroached the 625 acres of grazing land were declared during the meeting.
Intervention carried out by MARAG, MaldhariVikasSangthan and the Pastoralists of Chachana village.
- An application was submitted in the village panchayat in July 2015
- A Memorandum was submitted to the Block magistrate and District magistrate to release the encroached grazing land in July 2015
- The District magistrate suggested to carry out a mapping of the Grazing land
- An amount of Rs. 54600 was paid to the District Land Revenue office in the name of Chachana Gram Panchyatfor mapping the Grazing Land in August 2015.
- This lead to a strife between the Pastoralists and the powerful community. They started abusing the pastoralists and stopped buying milk from them.
- After 2 months of struggle, the DLR officer completed mapping the 625 Bigha land with the support of Block magistrate and the Police.
- The land holders who had encroached the grazing land, got wild after the mapping and tried to abuse and attack the pastoralists.
- Immediately our MARAG team called a meeting with the MaldhariVikasSangthan at Block level in solidarity with the pastoralists of Chachana village.
- This was followed by a series of submission of memorandums to the District and block magistrates. Between Jan – April 2016, 9 memorandums were submitted.
- However, till August 2016, the Block and District magistrates did not take any action.
- Later again, 15 meetings were organized with the officers and Pastoralists.
- The Block MVS also met and called the pastoralists to protest against the govt. officials.
- Eventually, in October 2016, they Block magistrate called the pastoralists to take control over the Grazing land.
- Finally, the Pastoralists with the support of the police, block magistrate and the community, took control over the 625 acres of grazing land.
Through this initiatives, we can learn that social movement is powerful and plays important role in India.
* The story is written by ILC Asia Member in India, MARAG, and was edited by ILC Asia for website publishing purpose
* The picture is creditted to ILC Asia Member in India, MARAG