After coming back to Harisal I along with Rohan Mukerjee (MBA intern)and Saurabh Shanu ( ICFAI intern )went for Socio-Economic survey in the nearby villages.Survey include general information about family, agriculture,other sources of income etc.
"Taraubanda" was the first one. A big village by Melghat standards with population of around 1200. It was located on a plateau. It has water pipe line and electricity line though only nine houses had electricity connection.
While doing survey Rohan and me inquired villagers about Resettlement scheme undertaken by Govt to relocate these villages in Plains under Project Tiger. We were quite taken aback when we asked a villager What does he feel about reservation and would he like to get resettled? And he said “ Sahab Hum mar jayenge”. It set both of us thinking. These villagers has spent their whole lives there and now we want to resettle them. They had been and are living in perfect harmony with jungles. The animals in the jungles had been sharing space with these villagers. But then there is other side which concerns with protecting tigers and other wild animals. There are very few of them in Natural Environment and there is urgent need to protect them before even they become victim of human greed.
( above- with villagers in Tarubanda village )
Next i want to “Chikli" . There were same sentiments expressed by people. A woman even asked me to get out of village thinking that i was a government official.
Doing door to door surveys in these villages provided me new insight into problems these people were facing. People don’t have ration card. Irregularities in NREGA. People getting work only for 15-30 days instead of 100. Also work was provided in rainy season when they wee busy with agricultural activities and not in summers. Electricity is a luxury there which not many people can afford. No reimbursement for crop loss which is as high as 50% in many cases. And many more...
While returning to Harisal we saw a herd of around 30 deer. But ran away as soon as they saw us. These surveys left many question unanswered. More about that later...
(below- rohan taking a shot )