Born in Jaggayapeta of Krishna District, Sivaramakrishna got a Telugu language teacher job in the upper primary school of tribes in Pedagaddada village of Rampachodavaram Mandal in East Godavari District. He joined Osmania University for Doctoral research. During the field study he realized that tribes are intimidated by various Govt. Depts. and market forces. Instead of joining the academic institutions, he felt, he can help the tribes staying with them in the field.
After completing doctoral research on “Tribal knowledge systems” in 1982 (Synopsys of Thesis), Siva started an NGO Sakti to work among the tribes for their empowerment and conservation of natural resources in 1985 from Rampachodavaram in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The trysem (training for self employment) programs were started in the beginning to train the tribal laborers into skilled carpenters, blacksmiths, and mechanics and cane furniture weavers (starting new carpentry centre at Busigudem-1, 2, 3).
Taken up plantation in the lands under shifting cultivation with the support of ITDA (Integrated Tribal Development Agency (Podu Rehabilitation Progress of Cashew Nursery). Organized weighting balances for the tribal producers in regulating the markets ( Dharmakata – A symbol of justice).
Such intensive collaboration with the administration, gave an insight into the systems of governance and ways and means to check the misuse and abuse of natural resources leading to deforestation and tribal land alienation. Sakti was successful through PILs invoking FC Act, LTR (Land Transfer Regulation V-Scheduled of Constitution) in stopping the wood supply from the forest to the local plywood factory, closing lateritic mines and felling of private forests by timber merchants.
Sakti started addressing the land problems by obtaining copies of land records from Sub – Collector Rampachodavaram (Copies of A to H registers-and copies of list of Caste Certificates). The efforts in restoring the tribal lands emerged as a movement. In West Godavari and Khammam Districts, the State government distributed the updated land records to the tribes in advance, followed by verification of enjoyments in the Gramasabha to identify and evict the encroachers. Central empowered committee constituted by Supreme Court directed the state government to prepare the rehabilitation plans survey number wise for the tribes displaced by Indira sagar multipurpose project (CENTRAL EMPOWERED COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS). Sakti has been active in the disaster preparedness and relief activities during the floods of Godavari in 1987, cyclone in 1996(Disaster Preparedness).
Sakti expanded its activities to the Chenchu PVT habitat i.e. Nallamala forests. Half of the forest is under the Wildlife sanctuary. With the support of Sakti, Chenchus were enrolled as voters in the local body elections, giving a space for the emergence of political leadership. Motivated the hunter, food gathering Chenchu tribe to switch over to fishing by gaining control over the water bodies (Tanks) ( Formation of Co-op Societies of Chenchu Tribes.
Published the traditional forest management systems documented by the Chenchu youth to enable them to become knowledgeable partners in the sanctuary management (Nallamalalo Chenchu Prapancham). The land restoration, titles to forest lands under cultivation covered by NREGS is creating durable livelihood assets.
Sakti is engaged by rural development and tribal welfare department to train barefoot land surveyors (Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty) and in identifying tribal specific community uses in traditional customary boundary map (Preparation of Traditional and Customary Boundaries resource map of Community Rights in all ITDAs).
Provided Technical support to IWMI in their studies on Krishna Godavari river link. (view details)
Worked NRSA in mapping waste lands (View)
Instrumental in bringing out a publication “Perspectives on Polavaram – A multipurpose irrigation project) in collaboration with WWF ICRISAT.
Collaborated with CESS in their studies on rehabilitation. (View)
While consolidating these activities on the ground, Sakti wants to scale up its skills through advocacy at national level.
TRIBAL UNREST IN W GODAVARI
TRIBAL UNREST IN W GODAVARI FACT, FICTION AND FIRST INFORMATION REPORTS The non - tribal farmers’ associatation has been emboldened to complain that if the police had been stern from the begininning, things would not have come to such a pass. Let us remind ourselves that the tribal unrest of West Godavari is being led, not by the Naxalites or any violent group but by an entirely law abiding voluntary organisation ‘Sakti’. Can one hope that sense will prevail some-where in the official hierarchy concerned with the welfare of tribals and the tribal unrest will be met with justice and not further threats of ‘stren’ action and police cases? K.Balagopal (The author is general secretary of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee) - Deccan Chronicle, Monday, May 5, 1997.
Reply letter to the National Human Rights Commission - S.R.Sankaran
"It is unfortunate that this matter has been dealt with an issue concerning Police alone. The very fact that there have been such a large number of 118 cases booked, all apparently all against 2175 tribals shows that there is some thing wrong about approach of teh Government and its agencies"
Requested to prepare the district wise (ITDAs) Traditional and Customary Boundary map
“Dr.P.Sivaramakrishna, Director Sakti, is requested to prepare the district wise (ITDAs) Traditional and Customary Boundary map (Resource map) in consultation with the elders of the habitats and traditional sages such as religious places,burial grounds, village council sites along with places of MFP, water resources, bio diversity etc. and also Primitive Tribal Groups tenures for conferring rights under RoFR Act, 2006.” -- Smt. A.Santhi Kumari IAS, Commissioner, Tribal Welfare Dept.
Smt. K.Chayaratan,IAS, Commissioner, Tribal Welfare Dept.
“In WP NO.3734/93, Sakti Vs State of A.P. a division bench of A.P. High Court held that person includes Government. AP Forest Development corporation Limited. Which is an undertaking of Govt. of AP also constitutes a ‘person’. The right to collect cashew fruit from cashew plantaions situated in Naramvadi gudem vill. of Ashwarao pet Mandal in Khamma Dist. is null and void.” To, District Colelctor. Khammam Dist. GO.RT.No. 523, Dt: 01/12/1999,formation of cooperative of Tribals for sale of cashew fruit.
Vinod K Agarwal, IAS Commissioner, Tribal Welfare Dept.
“it has been represented to me that the checnhu tribals have been prevented from dropping fish seed in Rasul Cheruvu situated in the Scheduled area of your district by one fisherman Cooperative Society of Kondanagula. I request you to please get the matter looked into immediately and restore the right to the tribal over the said Rasul Cheruvu.” To, Sri. K.Madhusudhana Rao IAS District Colelctor. MBNR Dist. Copy to: P.Sivaramakrishna, SAKTI
ITDA official asked to pay wages
Horticltural officer of ITDA has been directed to pay the wages to his employees for having failed to discharge legitimate obligation under Minimum Wages Act. The matter was finally disposed off recently directing the officer to pay Rs. 1,25,775/- on which half of the amount as compensation for the delayed payments. They were being paid Rs. 19 instead of Rs. 26 by the time of filling petition in 1992. While the wage board ordered to pay Rs. 39 the horticultural officers of different farms in the agency area of East Godavari district were paying of Rs. 26. only. - Indian Express - November 24, 1995.
Issue of Cane wood to the Tribal beneficiaries
The forest range officer is directed to give necessary instructions to the section officers and forest guard to guide the beneficiaries in cutting and transporting the cane. - Dist. Forest Officer, Kakinada. (Memo.No. Rc.No.18945/85.L)
Forest working plan East godavari Dist. 1995 - 2005
50% of mango trees occupy the total no.of trees in kota Range and 30% in Pullangi range. Since there was an agitation from the tribals against the felling of mango trees, the department has decided to restrict the felling to 2.5 to 3 cum on an average in Kota range and 3 trees per hectare and around 4 cum per hectare on an average in Pullangi range, as against the above figures. The supply of wood to the factory was totally stopped by the High court of Andhra Praadesh as the felling orders issued by the state government are not obtained with prior permission of Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India.