Tribal Resettlement and Development through Co-operatives : A Case (1997)

This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
May, 1997
(Source: Coop Dialogue, Vol., No. 1, Jan-April, 1997, pp.33-39)

Tribal Resettlement and Development through Co-operatives: 
A Case Study
by Dr. Dharm Vir - HRD Consultant, New Delhi, India

The case study describes how Anand Niketan Ashram (ANA) Rangpur,
Vadodara district, Gujarat State, undeterred by large scale evacuation 
of the tribal families on account of the implementation of the Sardar 
Sarovar dam Project (SSP) has brought relief and a new vision of life to thousands of tribal resettlers (PAPs) in the new villages created in the SSP areas. This has been mainly achieved through the organization and 
management of Mutual Aid Co-operative Societies (MACSs) of  PAPs by the 
ANA/CCA poject. Most of these developments have taken place during the 
first half of nineties.

Methods used for collection of data are interviews, consultation of ANA's
publication, records and reports of the field work being done, information
from the SSP, the World Bank and other reliable sources, study visits to
new tribal villages and selected MACSs.

The assessment reports of the CCA/ANA Project have also been referred
to. The author takes this early opportunity to thank the ANA, SSP, the
WB and the CCA staff who provided valuable material for the preparation
of this document.

The ANA/CCA Project activities are still going on, even after the CCA
assistance ceased after two years, and it is fervently hoped that some
development agency would come forward to assist in further work which
is complex, tedious and often slow. Anyway the case study depicts the
achievements and shortfalls of a co-operative development effort resulting
in tribal resettlement and sustainable development in the area. It also
indicates, how tribal/rural people in distress may be mobilized and
benefited through a co-operative community development approach
(CCDA). At the same time, the CCDA shows 'Ahimsa', self-help and
mutual help in action, reinforcing both the concepts.

Anand Niketan Ashram (ANA) is located at the village of Rangpur in the
tribal belt of Vadodara district of Gujarat State (in the Western part of
India). Its establishment in 1949 is intimately connected with the
Gandhian thought and the life of Shri Harivallabh Parikh, popularly known
as "Bhaiji" (brother). 

During his study days, Bhaiji came under the rising influence of Mahatma
Gandhi and worked with him during the freedom struggle of India. After
this goal was achieved, in 1947, and soon after the martyrdom of M.K.
Gandhi in early 1948, Bhaiji decided to work for the uplift and
development of the exploited and weaker sections of the Indian society,
the tribal people. For the last 47 years, Bhaiji has been living in the ANA's
sprawling campus surrounded by tribal villages. The Ashram is situated
near the Narmada river and is surrounded by hill tracts inhabited by tribal
people, mainly the Bhils.

It is through a phased programme of adult/continuing education, social
reforms and voluntary co-operation, he has successful in steadily weaning
away tribal people from undesirable habits and customs like drinking,
smoking, violence, child marriages, dowry, superstitions, harmful social
practices and above all exploitation by the indigenous money lenders,
middlemen and corrupt  government officials. One of the first activities
started by ANA was in the field of co-operatives. About 40 co-operatives
of various types were formed among the tribal people according to their
needs, during the past four decades. one of the large-sized agricultural
multi-purpose co-operative societies (LAMPS), located within ANA's
premises is running well.

A vigorous social forestry programme has resulted in the planting and
rearing more than 11 million trees around ANA's campus. This has been
achieved through two forestry co-operatives. Recently, ANA has
organised 30 similar co-operatives and four irrigation co-operatives to
promote sustainable development in area. Thus, it has been making very
valuable contribution to environmental improvement in the countryside.
Incidentally, ANA H.Q. are located near Sardar Sarovar dam site and its
submergence area.

Resettlement Work
During the last 9 years, ANA has been closely associated with the
resettlement of the families being evacuated from their villages on account
of the implementation of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) by the
Government of Gujarat. The SSP is a multi-million dollar scheme,
supported by the Government of India and several development agencies,
including the World Bank. The main site for the gigantic dam being built on
the mighty river Narmada is near Rangpur area.

While dealing with the resettlement work, the SSP authorities realized the
need for a strong PAP's organization which can watch and promote their
interest and assist in the resettlement work. During 1991-92, ANA
envisaged a scheme for forming and strengthening Mutual Aid Co-
operative Societies (MACSs) and Sardar Sarovar Resettlement
Associations (SSRAs) of the PAPs, and then help in organizing a strong
federation of MASCs. The scheme was supported by the state
government and several other agencies. The Canadian Co-operative
Association (CCA) was approached to join as one of the major partners in
this social development venture.

ANA developed bye-laws (Memorandum of Understanding) for the
primary MACSs in consultation with the PAPs concerned. These co-
operatives were assigned the following main functions:

i	to persuade and mobilize the PAPs from the states of Gujarat,
Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh in their old habitat and to help them
resettle their households at the new sites allocated, on the basis of
resettlers' choice.

ii.	to assist the resettlers in construction the temporary sheds/dwellings at
the new sites. Also to arrange for development of local infrastructural
facilities, such as roads, water supply, tree plantation, sanitation and
health care facilities, schools, etc.

iii.	to arrange for allotment of 5 acres of agricultural land per household and
for the agricultural inputs.

iv.	to arrange for education, vocational training, side-occupations and
supply of consumer goods and services.

v.	to promote savings, self-help, adult education, cultural activities, social
reforms, environmental improvement and co-operation among the PAPs.

In early 1992, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) agreed to
ANA's request and provided major financial assistance. The title for the
ANA/CCA Project was the Sardar Sarovar Resettlement Association
(SSRA). The project was initially for two years, i.e. from April, 1992 to
March, 1994. Later, its period was tacitly extended for one more year with
no additional funds provided to ANA. It was expected to arrange for the
rest of funds and facilities needed for the implementation of the project
activities of a rather complex nature. Besides the financial assistance, the
CCA agreed to provide some technical, monitoring and evaluation services
to the project.

There were about 60 officers and field workers employed by ANA under
the Project received constant guidance and support from Bhaiji and other
senior colleagues in the Ashram. To provide logistic support, the Project
was given a furnished office, one jeep (with a driver) and two motor
cycles. In addition, some audio-visual equipment and computer services
were made available by the ANA Trust Office and when necessary. Some
times foreign volunteers and outside resource persons were provided for 
supplementing the efforts. Thus, the ANA/CCA Project activities were
well integrated with the ongoing educational and development work
undertaken by ANA in its area of operation.

During the last 4 years, the Project activities have been focused on the co-
operative mobilization and development aspects of the multi-pronged
approached adopted earlier. Some of these activities are:

1.	Procurement of land for houses and agriculture.

2.	Persuasion of evacuee families for resettlement.

3.	Shifting of evacuees to the resettlement areas of their choice.

4.	Construction of temporary sheds at different locations.

5.	Development of infrastructural facilities.

6.	Construction of permanent dwellings for resettlers.

7.	Supply of Water and agricultural inputs, and agricultural extension
and guidance.

8.	Consumer supply and protection.

9.	Savings and arrangements for agricultural credit.

10.	Income generation activities for the member households.

11.	Co-operative and environmental education and social/cultural
development activities for the prospective members and youth.

After about one year of initial ground work and preparation of bye-lass
(MoU) in consultation with the PAPs and the government officials
concerned, ANA started organizing and registering MACs/SSRAs in early
January, 1993.

The primary aim of the societies was to undertake educational and other

work for the PAPs, for their own social and economic development. It
may be mentioned that most of the activities mentioned in the bye-laws
are promotional, organizational, and educational. 

However, the MACs are expected to undertake economic and commercial
activities as well for the benefit of their member households. The field
workers of ANA represent the Project in these societies and help them in
maintaining their records and conduct of business.

It would take some time before these MACSs become self-reliant in
managing their own affairs. In order to achieve this end, it would be
necessary to attract literate youth towards the co-operatives and run adult
education programmes for members/managing committee members,
especially women. It may be noted that according to the bye-laws, women
form one-third of the total strength of managing committee of each MACs.

As against the set targets, the ANA/CCA Project achieved, between April
1992 and March, 1994) the following:

By the end of 1994, 54 MACs/SSRAs were organized as against the target
of 50 set by the project authorities. This was a laudable effort and
deserves all appreciation. ANA has been trying 50 additional MACSs and
further develop grassroots leadership. With a broader base and intensive
educational work, it would be possible to have a stronger federation of
these co-operatives. Any way, by visiting the PAPs new settlements and
attending their meetings or talking to them, one can realize that a dram of
new life is coming true in project areas.

Some information about the membership coverage of 54 MACSs
functioning in their respective villages are given in a table below:

Although the number of MACSs has not increased during 1995-96, the
average coverage by these co-operatives has gone up from 56 to 68.5, thus
showing a net increase of 12.5 families/households per MACS. Through
these societies, the PAPs families are being settled, first in temporary
sheds and later in pucca (permanent) houses. During the last four years,
the progress of constructing permanent houses is shown in another table
given below.

Compared to the target of 3701 families to be resettled, the ANA Project
has to go a long way in achieving its final goal.  Of course, tremendous
efforts are being made to provide all possible facilities to the PAPs, and
new members are being made. However, they must be increasingly
involved through their co-operatives in constructing new houses for
themselves and also for other less fortunate ones. It is estimated that more
than 33,000 families have been facing evacuation in the SSP areas, spread
over in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

Orientation, Education and Training
As envisaged in the ANA/CCA Project Document, the project staff has
been mobilizing people and educating them on a large scale, mainly through
1-2 day camps, follow-up meetings at the village MACS level, formal
meetings of members and MCM members, monthly 'bhajans' and
individual/groups guidance by the ANA's field workers and extension
officers. Some information about the camps held at various places are given
in a table  below.

In a year, the PAPs' member education camps were of 2-3 days' duration
usually held in the ANA premises, Rangpur. it may be noted that ANA
has large hostel facilities for the board and lodging of the participants.
Later, 1-2 camps were held at different places according to local needs and
convenience. Most of these camps were in the shape of large meetings
attended by many participants and the resource persons from the SSP,
ANA, Government departments and other development agencies. In the
beginning, the need for PAPs' own organizations was emphasized and the
draft bye-laws for the MACSs/SSRAs were explained and discussed.

The camps were also used for general information and problem solving by
the project staff, other extension workers and leaders. Later camps were
full of discussions related to farming, housing, supply of agricultural
inputs, appropriate decisions taken and solutions found out with the help
of relevant agencies.

Resource persons who attended most of the camps and follow-up
meetings appealed to the PAPs to learn thrift, self-help, mutual-help and
the co-operative values and principles with the guidance from the field
workers. The participants, both male and female, were persuaded to
overcome the harmful habits like drinking, violence, child marriage and
extravagances on occasions like cremation, child birth, weddings, etc.
Action plans were made for the participants' welfare and socio-economic

In the PAPs' camps, the special target groups were the managing
committee  members and office bearers of MACSs. They were briefed
about the need of member participation in co-operatives, their respective
duties and associated rights. One third of the Managing Committee
members were women. So income generation activities, child care, family
welfare, health and hygiene were specially discussed. Above all, they were
briefed in multifarious activities of ANA and its role in environmental
improvement. All the participants were encouraged to grow tress around
their farms and households. 

During the visits arranged for the PAPs families, the male youth showed
keen interest in activities like spinning, weaving, tailoring, house
construction, brick making, masonry work, carpentry, smithy, bio-gas
plant manufacturing and installation in resettlement areas. Dairying, animal
husbandry and cattle raising have lot of potential for improving the
economy of PAPs and the ABA is paying attention to such occupations.
Women showed special interest in embroidery, patch work, jewellery
making, making cups and saucers out of forest leaves, herbal and flower
plantation, cooking healthy food, food preservation, etc. The school
children were encouraged to participate in the growing of more trees and
forestry campaigns, literacy and sanitation campaigns, games and sports, 
debates and dramatics. Thus the PAPs and families were oriented and
involved in a practical manner in Sarvodaya/Antodaya movements. In the
process, they have been imbibing the Gandhian values like Satya (truth),
Prem (love), Ahimsa(non-violence) and Swadeshi (nationalism) as well as
Co-operative Values.

Economic Impact
It is rather early to assess the economic impact made by the MACSs on
the lives of the PAPs. As the main task before these co-operatives to
resettle the members in increasing number, there is no tangible economic or
commercial activities started by them. However, the following facilities
have been provided to the member households through their MACSs
during 1995-96:

1.	Wells for irrigation		5
2.	Diesel Engines for irrigation		5
3.	Bio-gas plants		139
4.	Low cost latrines		53
5.	Wells for drinking water		2
6.	Flour Mill		1

In addition, the villagers helped in constructing a 3 KM long approach road
for their village - Vadala. The project staff have been helping the members
in securing agricultural and consumer supplies. They are also procuring
loans for agricultural purposes from the commercial banks with which they
have opened the savings accounts. It is expected that with the formation of
a co-operative federation and development of proper linkages with the
local co-operatives, doors will be open for joining the mainstream of co-
operative movement in the district/state.

Civic Awareness
The PAPs have become conscious of the rights and duties as citizens and
as human beings. By keen observation or through participatory
observation, one can see a sea-change in progress in the physical, social,
economic, civic and spiritual lives of the PAPs and their environment. For
instance, when groups not favouring the SSP plans decided to march
through the resettlement villages and demonstrate at the dam site, the
PAPs' leadership decided to stop the demonstrators on the way and did it
successfully. By blocking the approach roads and through persuasion, the
demonstrators withdrew peacefully. This was a new experience for PAPs
with the non-violent method of 'Satyagraha'.

All this has been made possible by the judicious use of indigenous
approaches like Sarvodaya, Antodaya, Co-operation, Community
Development and Environmental Work adapted by ANA under the
inspirational leadership of Bhaiji. Enthused by the notable success of his
idea of Lok Adalats (open courts) in settling local disputes amicably, the
PAPs have come forward to start their own local court, which help many
of the social and economic disputes at low costs and  without much

ANA's efforts for the voluntary resettlement of the PAPs from Gujarat,
Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states have been much appreciated by
the SSP and other development agencies. It has been proposed to build
additional 3200 houses on the designs and guidelines developed by ANA
with the help of SSP and other agencies. It is high time that international
agencies like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), the
International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), the United Nations agencies
concerned with housing the rehabilitation (UNHS-, UNEP, etc.) should
take due notice of this co-operative venture in the remote corners of India.

The village housing system, with low cost features and several innovations
in finding and adapting indigenous construction material is just to be seen,
studied and emulated elsewhere.

This is a slight digression, the author felt like making, considering the
time, effort and above all ingenuity put in together by an experienced and
senior Gandhian like Bhaiji.

Social Impact
The ANA/CCA Project, because of its co-operative efforts in human
resettlement and development, has generated unprecedented enthusiasm
among the PAPs concerned, and also brought in positive impact in the
government and international circles. There is a growing awareness of the
plight of the PAPs in the submergence areas and also there is some hope
that by following ANA's efforts as a model, more PAPs can be resettled
well within a foreseeable future. The PAPs are increasingly accepted and
assisted in their resettlement. Their organizations have been recognized and
responded to by the local people and governmental authorities alike. As
the resettlement villages have been located near to the established villages
'bhils', there is growing inter-village communication and better chances of
social integration are emerging.

The PAPs, though mostly illiterate, have in turn appreciated the efforts
and arduous tasks of NGSs, the SSP and governmental agencies in their
settlement and development. They have started co-operating with these
agencies through their own MACSs. Many PAPs came forward to
contribute manually to local projects like the construction of approaches
to their villages, and 'bunds' for proper use of water. They also helped in
the maintenance of sanitation of the common facilities.

Overall Coverage
As mentioned earlier, 54 MACSs were registered by the end of 1994. This
number had not increased by the end of March, 1996. However, the
number of PAP members rose to 1666 representing 3701 families. The
general coverage of local population has risen to more than 11,500 people.
The details are given a table below.
			Up to		Upto		Increase/
			end of 		end of		Decre-
			Mar.		Mar.		ase %
			1995		1996	
			(3 yrs)		(4 yrs)
1.	Men		6,364		7,614		+19.64
2.	Women		1590		1719		+ 8.11
3.	Youth  under
     21 years)		2262		2317		+2.43

	Total		10135		11,641		+14.86

The figures mentioned above indicate that except increase in the number of
MACSs registered, there is more than 14 per cent increase in others. This
may be treated as a significant specially when there is no external help.
This rate of progress is expected to be sustained, as lot more is to be done
for poor and lowly educated people uprooted from their natural habitat.
Most of the participants in ANA/MACS activities were illiterate men and
therefore, covered through personal/group contacts and communicated
with some audio-visual media.

 Efforts are on by ANA's field workers to admit more women as members
of MACs. Women and youth have been increasingly involved in co-
operative business and other developmental programmes. ANA has also
been exploring possibilities for organizing adult and continuing education
programmes, especially through functional literacy classes for the MACS

ANA, with the help of CCA and other development agencies must
continue its field programmes for the PAPs, and expand the same for the
benefit of the less fortunate PAPs. Let us hope that before the time ANA
becomes 50 years old in 1999, at least 100 MACSs/SSRSAs will  be
functioning well, under their own federal organisations.

It is inspiring to see that in ANA's community work, Gandhian ideology
and people's co-operation have been combined well and sustained for
tribal welfare and development. Because of their aims, utility and popular
base, the MACSs may be considered as the 'People's Trusts'. Thus the
Gandhian concept of 'Trusteeship' gets reflected in his innovative work
with PAPs. Needless to say such efforts are to be appreciated and
supported and wherever applicable replicated. Thus those who are looking
for alternative models for co-operative development must turn to ANA.
The Co-operative Community Development Approach (CCDA) evolved
by the Ashram should be studied and analyzed, synthesized and applied
widely. All this would need much resources and perhaps world-wide

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