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Report of Yanadi Land Struggle lead by Association for Rural Development

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Report of Yanadi Land Struggle lead by Association for Rural Development

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Title of the Project: Empowering Yanadi Tribes and Protecting their Rights


ASSOCITION FOR THE RURAL DEVELOPMENT

15/276 Vayalayandapuram, Gudur 524 101

SPS Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh

 

Action Aid International India

Hyderabad Regional Office,

E-9, Vikrampuri Colony, Kharkhana,

Secunderabad – 500 009, A.P

 

 

       I.            Index

 

I.            Introduction

II.            Type of Project/Detail

III.            Project Holder

IV.            Yanadi Community

V.            Back ground of the project

VI.            How land rights movement started

  1. Balancing Strategic Approach
  2. Location of Project

IX.            Objective of the Project

X.            The Process of Land Rights Movement:

XI.            Systems Evolved

  1. Source of Funds
  2. Cost of the Project
  3. Actual Expenditure of the Project
  4. Participation of the Community
  5. Starting/Completion Time
  6. Number of Beneficiaries/Villages:
  7. The success stories
  8. Status and Progress (percentiles) of the Project:
  9. Constraints and Measures Taken:
  10. Lessons Learned
  11. Future actions
  1. I.            Introduction

 

Initially, the land rights movement started in the year 2006, basing itself on a thorough study of government documents. In this 6 years period ARD has successfully helped people from the Yanadi Community to acquire their assigned Lands to an extent of 2031.12 Acres in three Mandals and 1359 families benefited from this struggle; the acquisition of another 4737.1 Acres of land by 1832 Families in three Mandals is in progress.

In this land struggle, the ARD adopted a Balancing strategic approach and evolved a balancing system of struggle that helped poor Yanadi land less people to get back their assigned lands. During their struggle for the Yanadis’ Lands, the ARD Staff and Director faced threats to their lives but all ARD Activists are committed to work for the landless poor and they are planning to represent these issues before the Superintendent of Police and District Collector. This is a successful case of a land rights struggle where the Yanadis have gained possession of lands assigned to them.

  1. Type of Project/Details: This project is to work for the empowerment of the Yanadi community and protect their Rights.
  1. Project Holder: Association for the Rural Development (ARD)
  1. Yanadi Community: This is an oppressed tribe in SPS Nellore District whose main occupation, apart from fishing and hunting, is that of cleaning which is considered a menial job. They have been denied opportunities both in Education and Employment. This fact, which is supported by statistical evidence, is viewed as a problem that needs to be addressed. Although there are several organizations, both Government and Christian, working among them, their contribution towards their uplift is minimal.

 

  1. V.            Back ground of the project

According to an unofficial study, 1, 27,000 acres of land assigned to landless Yanadis was encroached upon in SPS Nellore District by the local land mafia, most of whom belong to the feudal Reddy community. While ARD is working for the empowerment and rights of the Yanadi community, they are also compelled to look in to the issue of Yanadis’ assigned lands as it is the land which decides the economic and social status of rural people. So they started concentrating on the land issues of Yanadi Community.

  1. VI.            How land rights movement started

 

Association for Rural Development is a social service organization based in Gudur of SPS Nellore District where the population of Yanadi[1] Tribe is large. Initially ARD worked in the area of child rights and development, and mainstreamed several orphan children who were found on the streets and railway stations, by providing them with education and health facilities.

In 2005, after the tsunami, a baseline survey was conducted by the ARD in the villages. In this baseline survey, it was found that no Yanadi family owns land. In 2006, Thupakula Munemma, an activist from Yanadi community received a parcel from the Revenue Divisional Officer through post, which she brought to the notice of Mr. Basheer Sheik, the Director of ARD. The parcel contained land documents which showed that some Yanadi families possessed assigned[2] and CJFS[3] (Community Joint Farming Societies) lands.

In the baseline survey, ARD found that the Yanadi families own no lands, but the documents received from RDO showed that they were assigned some government lands. Then the ARD Director, Mr. Sheik Basheer, started verifying the land documents. He also obtained other land related documents from the district administration and conducted a thorough study. Through this study he came to the conclusion that 1, 27,000 acres of government lands were encroached upon by the land mafia.

The parcel which contained the Land documents actually reached Munemma by mistake. What usually happens in the lower Revenue Administration is that, they never give access to poor Yanadi people to their land records; they help the Land encroachers by taking bribes; most of the lands that were assigned to Yanadi families in SPS Nellore District were encroached upon by Reddys[4], the feudal landlord caste in Andhra Pradesh.

After coming to know that the Yanadi Families hold land titles in their names, the Director of ARD started working on the land documents, and organized training for ARD Staff on how to verify land documents; all the staff of ARD were trained in verifying nine important, and necessary, land related documents and this played an important role in the land struggle. The documents are:

  1. Computerized Adangal for F.1420,
  2. 1-B Register (Manual as well as Computerized),
  3. Diglot (Scanned Copy)[5],
  4. Village Map (Vectorized with colours to depict various classifications of lands),
  5. Govt. Land Register (Account No.1) – (Prepared from LRMIS),
  6. Assignment Land Register (Manual as well as LRMIS based),
  7. CJFS Land Register (Manual as well as LRMIS based),
  8. Key-Register,
  9. Water Tax Arrears Register (based on Jamabandi Accounts).

After thorough training in examining land records, the Director, Mr. Sheik Basheer, approached the District Revenue Administration and obtained all the abovementioned documents with the cooperation of the District Collector, Mr. Ravi Chandra, the Sub-Collector, Mr. Veerapandian, and the Joint Collector, Mr. Sourab Gaur. All the above three officials are sympathetic towards the Yanadi Community and they are supportive of the land rights work that ARD has been doing to retrieve the Yanadi families’ lands which were  encroached upon by the Reddys, the feudal landlord community.

  1. VII.            Balancing Strategic Approach

 

The main strategist behind this land struggle is Mr. Sheik Basheer, the Director of Association for Rural Development. He evolved a balancing strategy which successfully helped the Yanadis, the real beneficiaries, in re-acquiring the lands assigned to them in 5 Mandals of SPS Nellore District.

1)      Motivating people of the Yanadi Community:    The first strategy was to create awareness among the Yanadi Community about their rights and entitlements. This has a long history of 10 years work involving many Activists of the Association for Rural Development, the NGO based in Gudur.

2)      Creating empathy towards the Yanadi Community in the District Administration:  The district Officials are very positive and accessible to the Director and staff of the ARD, because they are very impressed with the activities of the organization.

3)      Unlike a typical NGO, the ARD have adopted different political strategies, depending on the needs of a situation, for tactical purposes. For some time the Director of the ARD had joined a political party and worked as a State Committee Secretary, and that helped the organization in establishing good relations with the political community, and seeking their support.

 

4)      The Nellore district administration, the Collector, the Joint Collector and the Sub-collector are sensitive towards the problems of the poor Yanadi community and whenever ARD represented on behalf of the Yanadi Community, the officials responded positively and helped to solve the problems. The district administration was not only sensitive but also effective and was equipped with all the computerized land records available in hand, and they also supported the ARD work by providing the land records.

5)      The Concept of Revenue Sadassulu: the Concept of Revenue Sadassulu (or meetings of the Revenue officials and the general public) was initially started in the course of work of ARD to resolve the land related problems faced by the Yanadi community. Later, this was adopted by the State Government and implemented state-wide. This is a big achievement of ARD.

6)      In SPS Nellore District, officials instructed all Divisional Officers & Tahsildars to Update and Computerize Revenue Records in LRMIS (Land Records Maintenance Information System) Software, and ensure the Unique numbering of Pattedar Pass Boos/Title Deeds. They also started the Weeding out of Bogus Pattedar Pass Books/Title Deeds, and the Issue of Computerized Pattedar Pass Books/Title Deeds through LRMIS by carrying out Mutations only through LRMIS and also the Preparation of Inventory of Government lands by updating the Government Land Register, Assignment Register, CJFS Register and POB Registers and generating the same through LRMIS. This elaborate process which was followed ensured that records were prepared and the data on various items was made available.

7)      This process of computerizations of land records and providing them to the ARD land rights activists brought a real change and helped many Yanadi families to get back  their assigned lands which were encroached upon by the local Reddy community. This would have been impossible without the active support of the District officials.

  1. Location of Project: Project based in Gudur and is working in 7 Mandals of SPS Nellore District, namely 1) Chittamur 2) Manubolu

3) Venkatachalam 4) Kota 5) Vakadu 6) Doravari Satram and 7) Nellore Rural.

  1. Objective of the Project: Social and Economic Empowerment of Yanadi Community.
  1.   The Process of the Land Rights Movement:  On October 18, 2005, when ARD organized a meeting in Dugarajapatnam with District Collector Ravi Chandra to distribute Tsunami relief material, initially the Collector had agreed to allot only one hour to the event but actually spent the whole day interacting with the local Yanadi and Fishermen communities. People from 27 villages (17 Yanadi villages and 10 Fishermen Villages) attended the meeting.

The people while interacting with the District Collector raised many problems that they were facing: regarding roads, house Pattas and lands. The collector declared there itself that he agreed to providing lands to the landless poor and also to provide house Pattas. And he directed the Mandal Revenue Officer to find out the details of Government lands in the area to assign them to the landless poor. The MRO agreed to do so.  These promises had built confidence among the people and also ARD activists. This kind of interfaces between officials and the people organized by ARD has now turned in to the famous “Revenue Sadassulu” being held across the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Director of ARD, Mr. Basheer Sheik, asked the Revenue Minister Shri Raghu Veera Reddy, in a meeting on Tribal’s Lands organized in NALSAR University, to initiate this people’s interface with revenue officials to solve most of the problems that rural people are facing.  The Minister agreed to this and interacted with the SPS Nellore District Collector and directed the Revenue Department to conduct “Revenue Sadassulu” in the whole state of Andhra Pradesh.

There are 14 Activists associated with ARD as staff, working for the upliftment of the Yanadis, Fishermen, and Scheduled Caste[6] Communities. They visit the villages frequently and interact with the villagers on the available amenities in the villages and livelihoods; as most of the villagers they interact with are agricultural labourers, the activists concentrate land related issues.

The ARD obtained all the available Land Records from the District Administration and conducted a thorough study and found that there were 1,27,000 Acres of Government, Assigned and CJFS lands which were encroached upon by the local Reddy community political leaders. And all the staff of the ARD started carrying all land records to the villages and verifying on the spot whether a piece of land was Assigned land, and about encroachers on that particular plot.

 XI.            Evolution of Systems

 

The ARD Staff are trained in writing representations to officials, they start the process by submitting a representation to the Mandal Revenue Officer by paying a fee of 10 Rs and requesting him to provide them with the No.3 Adangal/ Pahani, and then they tally it with the Copy of Adangal which they are already carrying and identify the Land encroachers.

After this process, they pay Rs 250 in the Prajaseva Centers and request the Joint Collector to Send a Surveyor to show the particular piece of land. The surveyor will come after at least 10 people have requested for the survey, and paid the required charge.  After the survey, the boundaries will be identified and then the land assignees will have to pay another 100 Rs fee requesting the Mandal Revenue Officer to issue the Pattedar Pass Book/ Title Deed.

Following this process, the ARD successfully helped many people from the Yanadi Community to acquire their Assigned Lands. 1359 families benefited from this movement, re-acquiring land to a total extent of 2031.12 Acres in three Mandals.

 

  1. Source of Funds : Action Aid
  2. Cost of the Project: ——————
  3. Actual Expenditure of the Project:——————————
  4. Participation of the Community: The community was actively involved in all aspects of the project
  5. XVI.            Starting/Completion Time:——————————————–
  6. XVII.            Number of Beneficiaries/Villages:
Number of villages under project 100
Number of families under coverage 6091
 Total population under coverage 24885
Female 11967
Male 12918

 

  1. XVIII.            The success stories
Mandal Village Families Benefited Caste/Tribe Extent of Land Acquired
Vakadu Theepilipalem Fishermen Families

221

Acres
Vakadu Chennalapadu

27

Yanadi Families

27

Acres
Vakadu Thirumaru

7

Yanadi Families

7

Acres
Vakadu Kothacheruvu

11

Yanadi Families

3.3

Acres
Vakadu Chinnathota

9

Yanadi Families

13

Acres
Vakadu Chinnathota

52

Yanadi Families

55

Acres
Vakadu Nalagamula

23

Yanadi Families

23

Acres
Vakadu Reddypalem

56

SC Families

56

Acres
Vakadu Nidagurthy

56

Yanadi Families

87

Acres
Vakadu Whitekuppam

50

Yanadi Families

50

Acres
Vakadu Pambali

148

Yanadi Families

316

Acres
Vakadu Muttebaka

23

Yanadi Families

70

Acres
Vakadu Dugarajapatnam

100

SC&ST Families

100

Acres
Vakadu Kondurupalem

186

Fishermen Families

150

Acres
Vakadu Konduru

24

Yanadi Families

24

Acres
Kota Mekalathota

120

Yanadi Families

170

Acres
Kota Kothapatnam

26

Yanadi Families

74

Acres
Kota Siddavaram

7

Yanadi Families

18

Acres
Kota Govindapally

26

Yanadi Families

25

Acres
Kota GovindapallyPalem

36

Yanadi Families

75

Acres
Kota Chittedu

28

Yanadi Families

39

Acres
Kota Prashanthnagar

1

Yanadi Families

1.75

Acres
Kota Siddavaram

1

Yanadi Families

2.17

Acres
Kota Madakasira

18

Yanadi Families

18

Acres
Kota Oonugulapalem

25

Yanadi Families

25

Acres
Kota Gudali

5

Yanadi Families

7

Acres
Kota V.P.Agraharam

5

Yanadi Families

5

Acres
Chittamuru Yallasiri

52

Yanadi Families

57.41

Acres
Chittamuru Raghavendrapuram

38

Yanadi Families

47

Acres
Chittamuru Yakasiri

63

Yanadi Families

67.3

Acres
Chittamuru Gollanattu

40

Yanadi Families

100

Acres
Chittamuru North Valathuru  Burial Ground Yanadi Families

1.2

Acres
Chittamuru Aravapalem

36

Yanadi Families

36

Acres
Chittamuru Mekalapuri

60

Yanadi Families

60

Acres
Total Families

1359

Total Land Acquired

2031.13

And acquisition of another 4737.1 Acres of land to benefit 1832 Families in Three Mandal is in progress, Details are given below

Mandal Village Families to be benefited Caste/Tribe Extent of Land to  be Acquired
Chittamuru Yakasiri

600

SC,ST,BC

1864

Chittamuru Yallasiri

450

Yanadi

2000

Chittamuru Kotigunta

14

Yanadi

24

Chittamuru Malakalapudi

150

Yanadi

40

Chittamuru Chillamaru

400

Yanadi

600

Kota Karlapudi

60

Yanadi

30

Gudur Pagadalapally

18

Yanadi

12.1

Gudur Mithnekur

30

Yanadi

20

Gudur Palichandrarajapalem

12

Yanadi

12

Manubolu Kommalapudi

53

Yanadi

76

Manubolu Kalamkuduri

22

Yanadi

36

Manubolu Cherlapally

23

Yanadi

23

1832

4737.1

 

  1. Status and Progress (percentiles) of the Project: ———————
  2. XX.             Constraints and Measures Taken:

There were many challenges that ARD staff had to face while working for the Yanadi lands. The land mafia, those who stand to lose the encroached lands, is threatening to kill the ARD Staff and Director.  And the lower cadre of Revenue Staff i.e. Village Revenue Officers and Mandal Revenue Officers and Surveyors are colluding with the Land mafia in manipulating Land records.

Apart from this, organizing the Yanadis is another challenge; the land mafia is threatening to stop their support if they work with ARD to get back their lands.  Yanadis are unorganized people and innocents by nature; but ARD is motivating and creating awareness among them and is organizing them to get back their assigned lands.

Though the socio-political situation is same among the SC and the STs, the Land mafias are instigating Scheduled Castes against Scheduled Tribes.  In Konduru village, ARD Activist Koteswaramma, who is working for Yanadi Lands, identified 69.72 Acres of Government land and submitted representations to Local Mandal Revenue Officer requesting him to allot the land to landless, poor Yanadi families. But the local Reddys instigated SCs against Yanadis and the SCs submitted another representation to the MRO to allot the same 69.72 Acres to the Scheduled Castes. And they threatened to kill ARD Activist Koteswaramma, though she belongs to the same Scheduled Caste community.

In Padalapally village of Gudur Mandal, the local land mafia threatened villagers and told them not to attend the Meetings Organized by ARD. And Gudur MRO insulted ARD Staff as rogues. In Kothapeta, one person belonging to Reddy community, threatened to kill an ARD Activist if he continued to visit the village to organize the Yanadi community.

In Nidagurthy village of Vakadu Mandal, the Yanadis have land titles and Pattedar Pass Books but they are not in possession of the land. The ARD Activist organized a meeting and represented to their problems to the MRO requesting him to show the lands to the original beneficiaries. But the irritated Village Revenue Officer threatened to kill the ARD Activist if he came again with such demands.

The land mafias are threatening ARD Activists with all efforts; they are visiting homes of ARD Activists and threatening their parents and relatives also. But all ARD Activists are committed to work for the landless poor, and they are planning to represent these issues before the Superintendent of police and the District Collector.

This is the success story of the land rights movement which enabled the Yanadi families to regain possession over their assigned lands which were encroached upon by the land mafia. The learning in this movement is the balancing strategy that was adopted which involved working with the help of the district administration, instead of choosing the path of political assertion.

  1. Lessons Learned: It is difficult to change long standing cultural practices, but possible. And for result oriented work, people have to adopt a balancing strategic approach.
  2. Future actions: The ARD is planning to start a new initiative for overall development of Yanadi community through a 1) Mutually Aided Cooperative Society, and an 2) Agricultural Training Centre.

[1] The Yanadis are living in the districts of Nellore and Chittoor, as well as other nearby districts. They are divided into two groups: the Manchi Yanadi, who belong to the Small Superior class; and the Challa Yanadi. The Government enlisted them in the Scheduled Tribes Category.

[2] Lands Assigned to Yanadi Families Under the Andhra Pradesh Lands (Prohibition of Transfer) Act 1977  (Act 9 of 1977).

[3] Community Joint Farming Societies were formed with Yanadi Families and lands were assigned in 1965 by the then District Collector of Nellore, Late Sri. S.R.Shankaran.

[4] Reddys are a social group/ caste; they are enlisted as a forward caste by the Government. They are a shudra community, in Varna terms, and over time became feudal overlords and peasant proprietors. A number of former chief ministers and business leaders belong to this community.

[5] A Bi-lingual Book of Land Classifications prepared by the British.

[6] The Scheduled Castes (SCs), also known as the Dalits, the so-called untouchable castes.


1 Comment

  1. Thodeti Yesupadam says:

    sir, you are doing a good job

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