Kasulamma 1

 

 

Kasulamma a woman in her sixties is a native of Gaddibandalu village, district Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Hailing from a poor tribal family, economic hardships forced her children to migrate to the nearby cities in search of work. Being old, it was not possible for Kasulamma to move to the city with her children and she was left all alone to fend for herself. Her husband had passed away a few years ago. Owning no land, Kasulamma worked as an agricultural labourer on others land in nearby villages. She earned a meager amount of Rs.60 on days when work was available – normally only 15 – 20 days in a month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crippled by poverty, many such marginalized families in the village shared the same fate as Kasulamma. They had no land of their own and cultivated others land on a daily wage. Kasulamma and several other villagers were eligible to receive a land patta under FRA as they had lived in the village for a long period. Due to lack of awareness they were unable to claim their rights. The Government bodies too had paid no attention towards increasing knowledge of the villagers about their rights or even helping them get their entitlements.

 

 

However, when IGSSS under the livelihood program PEARL started its intervention in the village, they mobilized these villagers and sensitized them about their rights under the FRA (Forest Rights Act) following which the villagers applied to their respective Panchayats for their piece of land, entitled under the FRA.

 

 

villagers

 

But the Panchayat Secretary refused to accept their applications. Nonetheless, undeterred by this refusal, Kasulamma and her fellow villagers met the MRO (Mandal Revenue Officer) and Sub – Collector and put forth their rightful demands. The MRO finally agreed to conduct a survey and on the basis of the survey conducted, 10 villagers including Kasulamma received an average of 2 acres of land each through the Revenue Department.

 

 

 

 

Kasulamma started cultivating her own land. ORRC (Organization for Rural Reconstruction) the implementing partner of IGSSS, also helped her get 2 kg of pulse seeds from the Agriculture Department free of cost. She started planting red beans and white beans on her land and was able to harvest a good crop.

 

 

Her children worked as construction workers in the city, barely earning 150 rupees a day, struggling to survive. As the yield in Kasulamma’s land consistently improved and her economic condition became a little stable, she asked her children to come back to the village. They now work alongside Kasulamma on her land and also help sell the produce. Good harvests and market linkages improved the economic condition of the family so that they now no longer need to migrate or work as daily wage labour for subsistence. Today, Kasulamma is living a joyful and content life, staying under one roof with her family by her side.

 

 

 “Life was a burden to me and I had no strength to pull further… but channami (Channami is the Community Organizer of ORRC) came as a blessing from God to our village. Now I too own a piece of land.” – Kasulamma.