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Grassroots April 2013

Grassroots April 2013

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Published by Vibhuti Patel
Journal of Press Institute of India, Chennai
Shift to e-journal
Dear Reader,
With increasing printing costs, the
Press Institute of India, a non-profit
trust, has been compelled to stop
publication of the printed edition
of Grassroots. Grassroots is now
published only as an e-journal. The
annual subscription to the e-journal
(which can be assessed by clicking
the Grassroots section on the home
page) will be Rs 300 and payment
(in the form of DD favouring Press
Institute of India) can be sent to
the Director, PII-RIND, RIND
Premises, Second Main Road,
Taramani CPT Campus, Chennai
600 113. Existing subscribers will
receive either a PDF version or a
password to log into the e-version.
We look forward to your support
Journal of Press Institute of India, Chennai
Shift to e-journal
Dear Reader,
With increasing printing costs, the
Press Institute of India, a non-profit
trust, has been compelled to stop
publication of the printed edition
of Grassroots. Grassroots is now
published only as an e-journal. The
annual subscription to the e-journal
(which can be assessed by clicking
the Grassroots section on the home
page) will be Rs 300 and payment
(in the form of DD favouring Press
Institute of India) can be sent to
the Director, PII-RIND, RIND
Premises, Second Main Road,
Taramani CPT Campus, Chennai
600 113. Existing subscribers will
receive either a PDF version or a
password to log into the e-version.
We look forward to your support

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Vibhuti Patel on May 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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She is an ‘angel’ whobrings hope to thehelpless 2
 New Delhi
 The harsh realities orescuing runawaychildren 6Ripples from a village: Ruralwomen take on violence 4Promoting safemotherhood, through‘delivery huts’ 5Of bleak, desolate lives inthe aftermath of eviction 3Empowered children havetouching stories to tell 7With hungry mouths tofeed, they’re in for along haul 8
Making out a strong case forthe Mangal Turbine
Mangal Singh, inventor of quite a versatile turbine, has created the potential of saving millionsof litres of diesel a year and of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, apart from helping millionsof farmers to irrigate crops at a low cost. This can become reality only if the government takessteps to encourage the installation of Mangal Turbines wherever they are needed. But officialapathy seems to be a stumbling block. The bigger challenge is to create a system where‘farmer scientists’ or ‘barefoot scientists’ like Mangal Singh do not have to suffer
angal Singh, a farmer-cum-rural scientist in Uttar Pradesh’s Lalitpur Districthas gained widespread fame for hisinvention of the Mangal Turbine,which has been appreciated byseveral senior scientists as well as
development officials. Over the
years, the value of Singh’s work haskept increasing thanks to the abilityof the turbine to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions in a big way. After 
getting a patent for his invention,Singh has worked tirelessly for many
years in difficult conditions to take
his innovation to remote areas, often
spending his own meagre finances insuch efforts. Despite all that, today he
is a heartbroken man whose progress,even survival, has been threatened by
acts of injustice. If immediate steps
are not taken by the government tocorrect such injustice, Mangal Singh,talented as he is, will not be able to
realise his true potential.
While spending his youth in hisnative Bundelkhand, Singh noticed 
how farmers had difficulties in
 purchasing pumping sets and dieselor in accessing electricity to runthem when they had to draw water from rivers and streams to irrigate
their fields or for other purposes.
Thus was born the idea of a fuel-lesswater-lifting device, which in timesof climate change has great value for 
reducing fossil fuel consumption. So,
what exactly is the Mangal Turbine or to put it more precisely, the fuel-lessMangal water wheel turbine pump-
cum-PTO Machine?
The technology is best described  by Singh in the following words:“The water wheel turbine machineconsists of a water wheel which is
firmly mounted on a steel shaft and
supported on two bearing blocks
fixed on foundation supports. The
shaft is coupled with a suitablegearbox through universal couplings
for stepping up speed of rotation.Output shaft of the gear box is
coupled on one end with a centrifugal pump for lifting water and the other end is mounted with a suitable pulleyfor deriving power for operating any
machine. Design of the water wheelturbine is simple. It is available in
different sizes to meet the varying
requirements. Operation of water wheel turbine pump-cum-PTO is
very easy as anyone can operate themachine by opening the woodenor steel gate valve; the machine is
stopped by stopping the flow of water through the gate.”
Thus, apart from drawing water,the Mangal Turbine can also be used 
for several additional tasks. Says
Singh, “This is used for pumpingwater from the rivulets and water 
streams on which it is installed. The
machine can be used for severalrural works such as operating
(crushing wheat), sugarcane,crushing, threshing and winnowing,
oil expelling, chaff-cutting, etc. The
machine provides a clean alternative(non-conventional) source of energyin remote rural areas for increasingagricultural productivity, income and 
employment.” By linking the turbine
to a generator, electricity can be
generated. Several technical experts
who have examined the turbine
closely have confirmed its value andutility.Writing about the device, B.K.
Saha, former chief secretary,Government of Madhya Pradesh,
says: “I made a detailed analysis of 
the economic viability of the 'wheel'and its comparative advantage vis-a-vis alternative methods of pumpingwater from streams and small
rivers for irrigation. The system is
extremely cost-effective even after taking into consideration the cost of 
the stop dam. Where the stop dam is
already available, the system is even
more cost-effective. Installation of 
this device is strongly recommended 
wherever there is flowing water in
small streams by constructing a stopdam and installing one or two water wheels as designed and developed 
 by Shri Mangal Singh. It saves on
energy like electricity or diesel and is
ecologically completely benign.”B.P. Maithani, former director at the National Institute of Rural
Development, says the MangalTurbine is unparalleled in its
simplicity and utility value. He addsthat its cost benefit cannot be restricted
to the extent of the area irrigated and increase in production and income
on account of that. “Its benefits aremultiple and multi-dimensional.
Bundelkhand is a drought-pronearea and its main problem is lack of 
irrigation. Unfortunately, our policy
makers and planners prefer big and extravagant projects which allow
 pilferage and splurge. Mangal Turbine
offers low-cost, environment-friendlyand sustainable solutions to the
irrigation problem of Bundelkhand.”
Sadly, despite all the encomiums,Mangal Singh, who has a knack for speaking frankly and fearlessly, particularly when he comes acrossirregularities or injustice, did notreceive due encouragement from the
government. Instead, he was harassed
to such an extent that his ancestral
land had to be auctioned. Today, he
is a shattered man who has a bagfulof documents to prove how badly he
was treated by various officials andgovernment agencies.
The Mangal Turbine in operation and (below, left) another beingreadied for use. The fuel-less water-lifting device can be operated easily and can be used for several additional tasks as well.
   P   h  o   t  o  s  :   B   h  a  r  a   t   D  o  g  r  a
 April 15, 2013 - E-journal Volume 1 Issue 4
April 15, 2013
Bhanjachura (Odisha)
She is an ‘angel’ who bringshope to the helpless
Pankajani Behra is a special person – she is often the only source of hope in times of illness or
any other medical emergency for the people of Bhanjachura Village in flood-prone Balasore.An accredited social health activist, she is ever ready to swing into action. She takes her workseriously and refuses to turn down a call. Typical of a selfless worker, she does not look forcredit or monetary compensation. And naturally, bringing light into people’s lives gives herenormous satisfaction and happiness and keeps her going
ean, tall and with a quietdemeanour, 40-year-old Pankajani Behra looks like anyother ordinary woman in the village
of Bhanjachura, in Odisha’s flood-ravaged, coastal district of Balasore.But she’s actually quite special. For 
very often, this lady in blue – she isusually dressed immaculately in asky blue sari – is the only source of hope in times of illness or any other medical emergency for the people of 
Bhanjachura. “She is like an angel for me. And why just me, for most of ushere. I am here, alive and talking toyou, only because of her. My baby ishealthy today all thanks to her,” saysTikki Donphat, a young mother.
Behra is an accredited social health
activist (ASHA) of the government’sflagship programme, the NationalRural Health Mission (NRHM). Her official duties include spreading
awareness about good health practices, immunisation campaignsand assisting the
(nursery)worker or auxillary nurse midwivesin ensuring that a pregnant womanin the village, and later her child, iswell taken care of, before and after 
Behra’s work, however, is hardly
restricted to any rule book. Saysshe, “For the village people, I amthe most visible and first point of contact for any health-related issue.
So, no matter what the ailment, be
it a headache, fever or stomach flu, besides pregnancy-related issues, Iget calls for help at all times.”And Behra’s ever ready to swinginto action. Like in the case of the
eight-months-pregnant Donphat,who went into labour suddenly and 
started bleeding. It was in the middle
of the night and Behra was called 
immediately. As she rushed to help
her, she called for the Janani Vahini,a government ambulance, whicheventually transported Donphat tothe district hospital, 10 kilometres
away. Behra stayed with her for 
two days and later returned with the baby in tow, amid relieved smiles of 
the family. She recalls another time
when her timely intervention saved 
a village elder. “A few days back, I
got a call from a village elder whosaid that he has been having constantheadaches and wanted me to take
him to the hospital. When I took 
him there, it turned out that he has a
tumour. Thankfully the treatment has begun now,” she says.Behra takes her work seriously.Armed with basic first aid knowledge
and a kit that includes oral rehydrationtherapy sachets, iron and folic acid tablets, chloroquine, disposabledelivery kits and condoms, she walksthe narrow lanes of Bhanjachuradaily, visiting households and interacting with the women and 
others. “Sometimes there is a lot of work. But when you realise that you
are better equipped to tackle a healthcondition than any other villager, you
cannot turn down a call. After all, Itook up the work of an ASHA sixyears back for this very reason,” shesays.Although each delivery that Behra
assists in is not easy, seeing that shehas to make proper arrangementsfrom her remote village, her real test
came when Odisha was ravaged byfloods last year. Nearly 2600 villages
were submerged and lakhs of people
affected. And Balasore, a coastal
district in which the Bhanjachura lies,
was one of the worst-affected. Sherecalls, “It was in October, right after the floods. I had gone out for a fewdays on work and when I returned, Igot a phone call as soon as I steppedoff the bus. It was a frantic call from
someone in the village — 13 childrenhad fallen ill and the parents didn’t
know what to do.”
When she reached the village,Behra understood that she waslooking at the beginnings of what
would soon become an epidemic. “I
mobilised some people to help me
 provide ORS (oral rehydration salts)
to the ill children and then started making arrangements for a vehicle to
take them to the Remuna CommunityHealth Centre. However, when I calledthe medical officer at the centre, hetold me that it was full. So I decidedto take them to the district hospital.”But that was not all. With water borne
ailments spreading rapidly, others
in the village started falling ill, too.“It was a terrible situation. Therewas no one else I could turn to for 
help and people were looking at me
for guidance. I remember ferrying
nearly 50 elders and more childrento the hospital, all the time making
 phone calls and giving them ORS for rehydration. I don’t think I slept at all
for three days, and just stayed with
the patients,” she says.For her commendable efforts in
saving the lives of her village folk,Behra was given state recognition in
the form of an award. But she saysshe would do it anyway. In fact, she
doesn’t really go looking for creditor monetary compensation for all the
hard work she puts in. “During thosedays I spent more than Rs 1000 invehicle charges and phone calls. For a person like me, that is a large amount.But I have not been reimbursed yet,”says she.Incidentally, ASHAs get a performance-linked incentive. For 
each delivery she assists in, Behra
gets Rs 350. Over the last six years,she has assisted in 150 deliveries. So
it’s not the money but the commitment
that keeps them going. “You needcommitment to do a job like this. I am
married with children of my own, so
I have a full-fledged house and familyto look after. But even then, this entirevillage is like my family and I am attheir disposal when they need me,”she says.While the NRHM guidelines state
that a village of 1000 population
should have one ASHA, until last
year Behra had the responsibilityof catering to the entire population
of two villages. It was only after the induction of another ASHA in
the nearby village that her work has
eased a little. For the overall scenario
of healthcare to improve evenfurther, Behra believes that healthinfrastructure needs to be developed considerably, especially consideringthat the state has a maternal mortality
of 258 (for every 100000 live births),
well above the national average of 
212.“We need more ambulances. TheJanani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram(JSSK) scheme promises free
transportation to ferry a pregnantwoman to the hospital, but there aretimes when we call the Janani vehicleand have to wait for a long time, because it is busy elsewhere in the
 block. Once, one woman gave birth at
home during such a wait… thankfullyeverything was normal, but otherwiseit would have been very dangerous
situation,” Behra recalls.
But despite the challenges, the hard work and the odd hours she sometimes
has to keep, Behra is happy. She pauses and then comments, “I likemy job. Not only does it give me thefinancial independence and the ability
to run my household, it also gives
me immense satisfaction. There’s
nothing like being able to bring hope
to a helpless person’s life.”
 Lean, tall and with a quiet demeanour, Pankajani Behra,40, an accredited social healthactivist for Bhanjachura Village,in Odisha's Balasore District, isthe only source of hope in timesof illness or any other medicalemergency for the people here.
 No matter what the ailment, be it a headache, fever or stomach flu,
besides pregnancy related issues, Pankajani Behra is always ready for action, eager to help any one in need. Here, she is seated next toa young mother, offering support.
   P   h  o   t  o  s  :   A  z  e  r  a   R  e   h  m  a  n   /   W   F   S
(Courtesy: Women's Feature Service)
April 15, 2013
Of bleak, desolate lives inthe aftermath of eviction
Golibar, Mumbai. Nonadonga, Kolkata. Yamuna Pushta, Delhi. They have made breaking
news – the administration breaking down homes and wrecking the lives of the marginalised,
providing them minimal or no notice, or compensation. Some of India’s capital cities havebecome capitals of injustice and inequitable distribution of common resources such as landand water. In January this year, Ejipura, a neighbourhood populated by marginalised personsin Bengaluru, joined the list of places where citizens were uprooted from locations they wereearlier provided housing in
hen the demolition began, we managed to salvage only someof our meagre belongings and were unaware where the rest of our 
things were. We hardly had any time
to move ourselves, our childrenand elders out of the way of the
 bulldozers,” says 27-year-old ShantiMary (name changed). She belongsto one of the 1512 families who were
given accommodation meant for theeconomically weaker sections (EWS)in Ejipura by the Bruhat BengaluruMahanagara Palike (BBMP), the
Bangalore municipality. The location
was convenient for many of Ejipura’sresidents as they worked in the
informal sector in Koramangala,
a vast upmarket commercial and 
residential hub situated close by.
Says Nuzzat, a sprightly girl aged 10, who also lived in an Ejipurahouse along with her parents and was performing well in her English-medium school backed by the
encouragement of her parents, “I
am missing my classes as some of my books and clothes have been
misplaced. Further, I want to be withmy mother to support her.” The family
has been surviving off the incomeearned from the small grocery storethat Nuzzat's father runs in the nearbyVivek Nagar and it did not have theoption of relocating to another part of 
the city. To add to the woes, some of 
the money they had saved was stolen just after the demolition even as theyshifted the few remains to a large
empty water pipe nearby.
This led to Nuzzat's mother fainting from dust pollution, lack of 
rest and sheer despair. Fortunately,
a community health practitioner,
Dr Sylvia K. from the Jana ArogyaAndolana, Karnataka (a part of thePeople's Health Movement), who
was helping with immediate relief for the evicted, succeeded in reviving Nuzzat's mother in a makeshift rest
area, inside another water pipe.
 Neighbours and an aunt of the family
stood by in support.“It was heart-rending to see the
hardship being experienced byeveryone, especially children, peoplewith disabilities, the elderly and 
the infirm,” says Sowmya Reddy,
a gender and animal rights activist
 based in Bangalore. She was one of the
individuals who provided temporaryrelief such as food and clothing to the persons whose homes (many were
largely tin sheds) were demolished.
Students from one of the well-knowncolleges in the city provided water 
and first aid to those who suffered
sprains, cuts and bruises from glass,
metal or wood pieces lying around.
Dorji Norbu, a youth from Bhutanstudying in Bangalore, was amongthose who tirelessly supplied water 
five mornings, “It is my duty as ahuman being to do what I can. As Ilive nearby, I am familiar with thearea although I could not do anythingto stop the destruction.”Incidentally, as it has been happening
in various places in the countrywhere land is being acquired withminimal or no rehabilitation efforts,local residents tried to intervene in a
 peaceful manner. Twenty-two women
were beaten and arrested for two days
with false charges foisted on them.Among them was Sabina, a woman
in her 30s, whose leg was fractured during the police action, and a few
lactating mothers.As the demolition took place in
January when the weather was cold,
the Ejipura residents lit fires for lightand warmth. This added to pollutionand breathing problems. MeeraRajesh, an information technology
employee who lives nearby and  provided succour to the displaced,says: “Sadly, not many know of whathappened to these persons despite
extensive media reports on the issue.And some people believe that the
residents of the Ejipura quarters
deserve their plight.”The local MLA has promised
(belated) that the government would create alternate accommodation for the uprooted inhabitants, in a distant
location. It is difficult for the evicted to
move to some other neighbourhood asit takes them further away from their 
 place of work. There is expenditure
and effort involved in shifting and settling down in a new environment,and often there are socio-cultural
adjustment issues. The cost of livingcould be higher in the new locality.Significantly, the affected persons are
compelled to fend for themselves untilthe proposed alternate government
housing is ready. Thankfully though,
there are concerned individuals
and groups united under the ForumAgainst EWS Land Grab – Karnataka
who are trying their best to reach out
to the evicted.Ironically, the nearly 15 acres of 
land acquired in Ejipura will nowhave shopping malls and movie
theatres. Building all this will require
inexpensive labour from communitiessuch as those that had dwelt in
Ejipura. It’s one of life’s ironies that
 people who build houses and mallsfor others are not even guaranteed the
 basic necessities. In this case (as in
many others), the land was acquired unlawfully and forcibly by a private body in collusion with BBMP evenwhile the relevant matter of land allotment was being resolved in the
High Court of Karnataka.Illegal land grab (about 20000 acres
 between Bangalore and Mysore) isa reality even along the Bangalore
Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) where thousands of small
and marginal farmers and labourershave lost their livelihood with hardly
any compensation or prior notice.Residents of Pilagonahalli, a village
south of Bangalore with a populationof around 10000, impacted by the
BMIC, reveal, “We settled here
about a decade ago when we heard that vacant government land was
available. Over time, some of us
constructed a room or two according
to our affordability. Some of us evenhave land titles. The main attraction
of this place is that we can save on
Pilagonahalli has no public water supply or government medical
centre. There is just one governmentschool for students up to Class VII
and a solitary
Some parts of the village are at anelevation and the road going down is
rocky and poorly lit at night. People,often former police officers hired bythe Nandi Infrastructure Corridor 
Enterprise, the company that built
BMIC, harass the locals and forcethem to vacate their homes. The
government and police have barelytried to alleviate the grievances of thecommon persons but never hesitate toregister baseless complaints against
them. Public transport is unreliable
and available only at a distance from
the main road. Vehicles and extensive
construction have contaminated theair and the Gottigere Lake, the main
source of water in the area.
 New 'home' in a pipe - a picture that speaks louder than words.The demolished Ejipura site is a picture of desolation and hopelessness.
   P   h  o   t  o  s  :   P  u  s   h  p  a   A  c   h  a  n   t  a

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