SAKTI has been working on over a decade with Chenchu PVTs. The support through IPAP helped to scale up the activities through availing the new opportunities created by the implementation of ROFR, PESA, NREGS etc.
In the year 2002 SAKTI was instrumental in getting the Chenchus enrolled as
voters in the voters list of local body institutions. That opportunity enabled Chenchus to get elected as presidents local Panchayats and ZPTC and MPTC members in the higher level institutions such as MPP, ZPP. The emerging political leadership is acting as pressure groups in getting entitlements due to the Chenchus. Some of them have been members in Sub divisional level Committee of ROFR Committees which recommend the titles to the lands under cultivation of Chenchus.
In the Schedules area of Mahaboobnagar district, in 2003 SAKTI motivated Chenchus to gain control over water bodies (tanks) there by switching over to new occupations such as fishing and alternative foods i.e. fish consumption instead of hunting which is already prohibited under wildlife act. These water bodies were illegally grabbed commercial fishermen. The High Court of AP after prolonged legal battle directed the District Collector to decide the rights under Wild Life Act.
Meanwhile, the implementation of ROFR act commenced. The secretary, Tribal Welfare instructed the Dist Collector to recognize the fishing rights under ROFR. Such instructions encouraged the Chenchus of neighboring villages to gain control over the tanks in their villages. A new economic activity coupled with empowerment emboldened Chenchus to get back their lands encroached by others.
Due to the repeated pressure of Chenchus, the administration put up the land ownership particulars in the villages on the walls of Govt. offices in the villages.
The Chenchus understood the irregularities in the ownership and started demanding the distribution of lands encroached by others under the rules recently issued under PESA.
Though Chenchus population is 70000 with 15000 families, their population is spread out over 5 districts. Repeated meetings with community in these districts in a place, nurturing solidarity and opportunities to learn the strategies adopted by fellow tribes in other districts in realizing their entitlements.
The assertion of Chenchus of Mahaboobnagar district in getting control over water bodies is being put in to practice by Chenchus of Kurnool and Prakasam districts. The effective participation of Chenchus in SDLC meeting in Prakasam district prompted the Chenchus of other districts, particularly in Guntur district. The Chenchu women participate in good number in these activities. They became bold enough to get justice from community Panchayats which deal marital issues such as divorce, remarriage, elopement etc.
Through NREGS is implemented by ITDA, there are many areas missing their attention. The Chenchus of Nalgonda dist. were not given work under NREGS over three years. When this problem was brought to the notice of Dist Collector, he brought it to the notice of higher officials. As a result of their instructions from state capital, not only the Chenchus of the Nalgonda dist., but also, the left out mandals in Prakasam district are brought under ITDA coverage.
The tribes give their complaints to the ITDA and wait for the results. Though ITDA acts as a pressure group, in solving the problems of tribes relating to other depts., it cannot extract pressure beyond a limit. So better, the tribes go to the officials of concerned depts., directly.
If tribes as a group, approach the officials, the attention will be more. The subordinate officials cannot avoid the representation directed by their higher officers. Such a direct approach encouraged tribes to face the various departments.
The enthusiasm and assertiveness created in them should be continued in the future for some more period to sustain the process.
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.