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Oct 7-9: Field Visit - The land mapping initiative in Gujarat under the Forest Rights Act India Sunday, October 07, 2012

A field visit to Dangs district, in Gujarat, and a workshop to assess the land rights initiative under the Forest Rights Act, October 7 to 9, 2012
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Land Rights - Implementing the Forest Rights Act

Mapping Land, Documenting Evidence and Filing Land Claims

A participative approach involving local people, identifying the needs and harnessing information technology tools to meet those needs

Field Visit
A workshop to assess the land rights initiative

October 7 to 9, 2012

Right to Property

Base Camp:
Action Research in Community Health and Development (ARCH)
Ozarpada Road
Village Nagaria, Dharampur
District Valsad.
Phone : 02633-240409

Dharampur town is located at 20.53°N, 73.18°E. It has an average elevation of 74 metres. It is  just about 30 km from Valsad town. Located in the foothills of Sahyadri mountain range, on the banks of the Swargavahini Rive, Dharampur is a small but beautiful town of about 20,000 people. The small principality of Dharampur was created in 1262 as Ramnagar, it later became part of the Bombay presidency during British Rule. The principality was integrated with Indian Republic in 1948. It is now a tehsil, within the Valsad district of Gujarat state.

ARCH has been working from 1980s in the tribal areas of Gujarat on the issues of Health, Education, Rehabilitation of the people affected by the Narmada dam and Forest Rights. It started its work in Narmada and Vadodara districts, but from mid 1990s has also established a centre in village Nagaria, 5 km from Dharampur town, where it is running Community Health and Education programs for the benefit of the people of surrounding villages. ARCH's work for the recognition of the land rights of the tribals under Forest Rights Act has largely been in Narmada and Vadodara districts, but from the past few years it is also working with the tribal communities of neighboring districts of Tapi, Dangs and Valsad in coordination with other local NGOs and groups.


Tentative Itinerary

October 7, 2012: Arrival of participants

Nearest train station is Valsad which is 20 km from Dharampur town. Alternative rail station and nearest airport is at Surat (120 km).  From Valsad station, there are regular public bus service available from Dharampur (every half and hour). Also, autos are available from Dharmpur Bus Stand to ARCH camp in Nagaria village about 5 km away.

12.30 pm: Lunch at Dharampur

Session 1: Introduction and overview

2.00 pm: Welcome and Introduction of the participants
2.15 pm: Brief background about the plight of villagers, particularly tribal communities living in and around forest areas. Their social, economic and political conditions. (Ambrish Mehta)
2.30 pm: Overview of the campaign for forest rights, and the enactment of the Forest Rights Act, 2006. (Trupti Parekh)
2.45 pm: Ownership of Property and Political Participation (Barun Mitra)
3.00 pm: Implementation of FRA, and the initiative to help the people map and document their land related claims (Ambrish Mehta)
3.30 pm: The role of GPS and IT in this initiative

4.00 pm: Tea break

Session 2: Brainstorming

4.30 pm: Demonstration of the website
Right to Property - Implementing FRA

5.00 pm - 7 pm: Identifying the issues and the challenges - community participation, capacity building, technological interface, building the network, replicating the initiative, database management, web interface, etc.

8 pm: Dinner

October 8, 2012: Field Visit

A visit to the Hanvantchond Village in Dangs District. The village is about 70 Kms from Dharampur, and would be about one and a half hours drive. Lunch will be at the village.

8.30 am: Departure Dharampur for Hanvantchond
3 pm: Departure Hanvantchond for Dharampur

Session 3: Taking Stock

6.30 pm - 8 pm: Questions and Clarifications related to the field visit

8 pm: Dinner

October 9, 2012: Discussion to assess the initiative, suggest a road map, capacity to expand the scale and scope, possibility of replication in other areas

Session 4: Roundtable discussion

9 am - 12 noon: Discussion on various processes, regarding the administrative issues, management of data, GIS capacities, IT interface. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses, and suggestions on possible ways of improving the operations.

12.30 pm: Lunch

Session 5: Roundtable discussion

2 pm: Discussion on the prospect of expanding the scale and scope of this initiative, building a network, inviting others working among tribal communities to join hands, exploring the prospect of raising funds and revenues to make this initiative self-sustaining in the long run.

4 pm: Tea break

Session 6: Conclusion

4.30 pm - 5.30 pm:  A road map for the future

7 pm: Departure

Moderator: Mohit Satyanand, Liberty Institute

Sponsors: This workshop is being organised by ARCH and Liberty Institute, in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann - Foundation for Freedom

Contact Persons:
For additional information, please feel free to contact our hosts at
ARCH, Baroda
Ambrish Mehta,
Mobile: 09825411540
Email: m_ambrish[AT]hotmail.com

Trupti Parekh,
Mobile: 09427591540
Email: truptiparekh1[AT]hotmail.com

Barun Mitra,
Liberty Institute, New Delhi
Email: barun[AT]LibertyInstitute.org.in

Right to Property <http://FRA.RighttoProperty.org>
Liberty Institute <www.InDefenceofLiberty.org>
Empowering India <www.EmpoweringIndia.org>


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This article was published in the Liberty Institute on Sunday, October 07, 2012.
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