Five months have elapsed since Bundelkhand hearing happened on Dec 8th. At the time of hearing, we were so happy regarding its success. Media had covered the event well. About 1000 people from Bundelkhand – MP/UP attended the hearing. Many dignitaries attended the hearing and gave their recommendations. Colleagues praised for the courage the community and partners had shown in speaking their minds in the hearing. But deep down in me and some of my friends, we were thinking in the end what change it will bring in the lives of people? Will it improve our efforts in Bundelkhand?
I made several trips to Bundelkhand after the hearing and met the people who had attended the hearing. Invariably all were excited. Soon after the hearing, the elections were announced. And the Bundelkhand package issues acquired the centre stage in the elections.
What made people happier was that some of the pending works were completed. I could see an unmistakable hope and in the gleaming face of Lotan whose case study was presented in the hearing. Many pending projects like well were repaired and this brought smiles in the faces of the small and marginal farmers.
The total monetary value of the works done after the hearing in the cases where the testimonies were presented is 1 crore 46.7 lakhs (– the figures will go up if we calculate the non intervention areas and other things like settling of insurance claims of goats that died and so on).
Check dams costing over Rs 15 lakhs were either repaired or fully constructed (Banda, UP)
Lands (16 acre costing around 20 lakhs) from Dalit and OBC hh taken away by force to construct roads were returned (Banda, UP)
Around 4 lakhs of rupees returned to Government because the work was considered illegal (Banda, UP)
13 out of 23 dug wells were renovated (Rs 37.7 lakhs @ 2.9 lakhs) after the hearing in Aravani village, Bridha block, Lalitpur (January 2012)
Irrigation tubewells costing 23 lakhs in Chakoti and Jalla village in Hamirpur repaired benefitting 28 Dalit hh having 64 acre. (January 2012). People have started vegetable cultivation.
In Jalaun village, the mahasi and kamara check dam construction is completed worth 47 lakhs.
Pace of Budget utilization has increased after the hearing and district wise information is available in the website. District officials have started visiting the field regularly and the pace of utilisation has increased.
I met the State Planning Commission chairman to give a copy of the study and our recommendations. Our partners have also submitted the copies of the study report to respective DMs in Bundelkhand districts in UP. At the National level also, efforts are also on to redesign the package. Still a long way to go….But at least a beginning is made.
Following are some of photos depicting the successes: