DSC07800Two PRAs were conducted as part of the environment scan on 15th February and 21st October 2002. It was initiated to develop an understanding about the community and to arrive at the broader objective of development.

Dakor is one of the holy places of pilgrimage in India. It is situated on the banks of the river Shedi in Thasra taluka of Kheda District of Gujarat. It is 33 kms from Nadiad and 30 kms from Anand. It is on the Anand-Godhra broad gauge railway line and connected to Nadiad and Godhra by a state highway. The S.T Bus services connect Dakor with all major cities of Gujarat.

In the olden times, the area surrounding Dakor was known as HIDAMBA VAN. According to people of Dakor, ‘The God Shankar’ came to Dakor and he left his arrow. Today this place is famous as Dankan Mahadev. The temple of Ranchhod Rai was built in 1772 by Gopal Jagannath Tambavekar at the cost of Rs. one lakh. Today this has become famous and a holy place for the Hindus of Gujarat.

There are all types of religions – mostly Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Thakors etc. The population of Dakor is 75000 with area of 8000 sq. meters. Dakor has not developed as an industrial place but the people have jobs, business, farming and diamond policing work. The main crops include bajra, cotton and tobacco. Commerce in the district includes trade in cotton and tobacco. The district is home to a thermal power station, near Dhuvaran. Balasinor Fossil park is one of the three largest dinosaur sites in the world.

Concerns of the Area

In the entire Kheda district water is a major concern. Water for both drinking and agriculture is insufficient. Drinking water problem becomes severe in the summer season. The only source of drinking is ground water and it is fast depleting due to over dependency, insufficient rainfall, lack of conservation and dry climate. Earlier drinking water was provided through pipeline but due to depleting ground water and erratic electricity this is discontinued. The only source left for drinking water is wells and hand pumps.

No perennial water sources are available. Water for irrigation is also scarce in this region although government provides water from wells on rental basis. Apart from the government wells the rich farmers dig private wells, which leads to pressure and over dependency on ground water.

The pattern of rainfall is erratic in this region and inadequate. Whatever water remains after rainfall gets evaporated due to dry climatic conditions of this region.

Agriculture is one of the main sources of income in this area. The land used for agriculture is black soil and fertile. The land is plain in nature. People mostly cultivate cash crops and some food grains for consumption. Among cash crops Tobacco is widely cultivated. Most of the families have some agriculture land. The upper caste families have large land holdings (50 to 100 bighas)

The major problem in agriculture is lack of water for irrigation for small and medium farmers. Although the government provides water for irrigation (rental basis) it is insufficient for a second crop. Big farmers have private wells, which provide water for three crops. The over use of water by big farmers leaves the small ones with inadequate water since they are not able to deepen wells on a regular basis.

Most of the farmers do Kharif crop and those farmers who have access to water do a Rabi crop also. In Kharif crop Bajri and Tobacco are the main crops where as in Rabi Wheat is cultivated.

In this region people have two primary livelihood options. One is agriculture and the other is animal husbandry. People do not migrate to other places from this region as after agriculture animal husbandry generates income. For the land less wage labour is the major source of earning apart from selling milk from buffaloes.

The wage labour is very cheap in the villages (Rs. /- per day). This is a result of supply exceeding demand in case of labour availability. Due to the constant drought after Kharif crop most of the male members take up wage labour. Many of the people work in the Tobacco refinery factories without any protection and it leads to health hazards.

Natural Resources:
The natural resource base is weak in this region. Land loosing its fertility due to over use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Ownership of land of lower caste is less and loss of fertility affects the livelihood directly.

There is no forest or vegetation cover existing in this area. There are wastelands in each village and the grass on it is used for fodder.

Water sources are depleting in an alarming rate. Over use and limited sources are the main causes for this factor. Lack of adequate rain also adds to the cause. There are no mechanisms developed to conserve water or to adopt new irrigation techniques by which maximum utilization can be done.

All the sample villages have primary schools. Schools have necessary infrastructure for functioning. Most of the schools are up to 7th standard and after that children go to near by villages or cities for further education. Transportation facility for students in this part is good by which the rate of discontinuance due to lack of facilities is less.

People give importance to education. People are literate and most youths are graduates. However for persons of the lower caste the problem of education starts on completing primary school. Most cannot afford higher education. Education is only directed towards employment and lack of employment opportunities reduces the motivational level to being educated.

Unemployment is the biggest problem faced by the youth in this region. Most of the youth after finishing education are unemployed and this leads to frustration. Once they are educated they find it difficult to go in for agriculture.

After the Kharif crop most remain unemployed, as there is not much work available in the villages and in near by cities. In a month a person gets 8 to 12 days of employment. In a year getting two months of full time employment is a difficult proposition.

In this area no self-employment process was started by the youth. This happens due to lack of knowledge, financial constraints, lack of market knowledge and lack of motivation among youth to start their own enterprise.

In these villages there is no weekly market. Villagers depend totally on Dakor for their requirements. For trading of the entire agricultural product, middlemen come to the village and purchase all the products from the farmers.

The major problem regarding marketing is the unstable price and erratic behavior of market especially for cash crops. They are not eager to cultivate new variety of cash crops or cash crop as a whole due to market fluctuations. In the case of bumper crops the prices nose dive and the farmers are unable to recover the input costs. Due to lack of access to market and presence of middlemen farmer are not able to get their due profit and hence are not very enthusiastic to try new crops.

Health & Hygiene:
Health is another disturbing factor in this area. Some villages are near the main city (Dakor) and they receive good facilities for treatment. In some villages Tribhuvan Das foundation provides medical facilities. In some villages PHCs exist, however the functioning is inadequate. Transportation is available during the day, at night tractors or private vehicles are used to carry patients to the near bye health centre.

Due to the unhygienic and unsafe working condition in the tobacco factories people suffer from tuberculosis. Due to non-availability of work people cannot demand medical and other benefits. The immunization of children is fair as the ANMs visit these villages.

Lack of sanitation causes health hazards in the villages. Villages do not have proper drainage facilities causing the wastewater to gather near the homes. It results in mosquitoes to breed and spread malaria. There are deaths due to cholera, malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis. In the monsoons the death rate due to these diseases increases (15 to 20 deaths in the last five years). The deaths due to diseases in monsoons are the fall out of lack of drainage systems.
Gender Discrimination:
The situation of women is not encouraging, although they contribute equally in earning of livelihood for family. Mostly they are limited to the household and animal husbandry activities. The control over the resources remains with the male members and they take the decisions regarding utilization. Women do not have property rights especially in the case of death of the male partners. The relationship between caste and class groups is rigid. Strong caste differences can be observed. In some villages there is restriction in religious places for lower caste people.

There are nationalized as well as cooperative banks. People avail crop loans and loans for animals; however the link between banks and poor people for loans is not very encouraging. People often depend on informal sources for their credit requirements.
The informal source of credit is available from the upper class people. The requirement for credit arises during the agricultural season and during festivals. The interest from the informal source of credit is 60% to 120% annually. Assets need to be mortgaged with the moneylenders.

Local Self Governance:
Every village has a gram Panchayat and gramsabhas are organized and people come to share their views. The composition of the Panchayat committee is a collection of people from different villages. Women members are also part of the village committee.

The most significant aspect is the poor participation of the rural poor in the entire process of decision-making. People feel that those who are well off take the advantage of all the benefits and they are not aware of any development work given to their respective villages. But in some villages people feel that the Sarpanch and Panchayat are working well under various limitations. They are aware that the Panchayat can play a major role in the development of the villages.

We will work with the marginalized population so as to vitalize them with a sense of responsibility, values, leadership and citizenship through education, training, building strong Christian and Human communities, and to work towards sustainable development by enhancing their leadership and communal harmony and developing their livelihoods.

After formation of objective tree, community members chose the following areas of intervention for better quality of life for the target group.
1. Focus on youth between age 15-25
2. Leadership training, communal harmony training
3. Instilling a sense of responsibility
4. Sustainable Development
5. Youth to be revitalized so that they can become agents
6. Become responsible citizens and leaders
7. Livelihood and employment for the underprivileged
8. Education for old
9. Building vibrant Christian community
10. School education to be directed so as to create leaders
11. Leadership and value education in the school.