Achievements so Far:
1) Nagya Mahadu Kathkari was a tribal leader who participated in the Chirner (Uran Block, Raigad District) Satyagrah in response to Mahatma Gandhi’s Non violent Quit India Movement (25 th Sept 1930). Nagya Mahadu died at the age of 21 in a police firing. In 1995, Ankur Trust found out that his name was not included in the State government’s memorial for freedom fighters. In a participatory research to understand Kathkari’s role in the freedom struggle, Ankur Trust found that Nagya’s grandson was still living the life of a semi bonded labour.
In 1997, on the eve of the Golden Jubilee of India’s freedom struggle, Ankur Trust did a campaign to recognize Nagya as a Kathkari freedom fighter. In 2001-02, the tribe collected money and carved his name on a plate and placed it in front of the memorial. In 2002, the state government included his name in the list and now 25th Sept is celebrated every year as Kathkari’s Martyr Day and it has given them a platform for social justice.
2) In 1995, Ankur Trust started an Ashram for the children of poor and migrant Kathkari families. This was the first batch of a literate generation of Kathkaris. Three girls from this group have become NM Nurses and one boy has finished his post graduation.
3) In 2006-07, due to Ankur Trust’s intervention, the state government acknowledged the existence and issue of bonded labour especially among the Kathkaris. The bonded labourers were released and rehabilitated by giving them goats, cattle and money for opening small shops.
4) The Land Tenacy Act of 1956 (land to the tiller / house to the tenant) was not issued by the state government for 48 years. Even though it was finally done in 2000, it was not publically announced. Ankur Trust studied the Act and published a book titled Homestead Land Rights (Rahil Tyache Ghar).
100 cases were filed in the name of women agriculture worker in 2003 in Pen Block which was the start of Women’s Homestead Land Rights Movement in the state. On 8 th March 2005 (International Women’s Day), the first 100 land rights title were given out to these women. The movement gave a platform to 76 lakhs women agriculture workers to claim their rights.
Ankur Trust was recognized for this work and the Secretary received 18 awards at the district and national level and by Women and Child Welfare Department of Maharashtra.
5) More than 2000 Individual Forest Rights claims have been filed in Raigad district till date.
6) After the massive cloudburst in 2005 and the ensuing floods and landslides, Ankur Trust supported and organized communities to create agricultural land for people who migrated. This was done through ‘Shramdaan’ and 150 katjkari families now have a rotating fund for their livelihood which is managed by the tribal leaders. This has created a structure where they decide how the capital is used especially during times of need.
7) Since 2009, Ankur Trust has been organizing the people of Dodamarg and Sawantwadi blocks to face Public Hearings for EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) of various power and mining projects. We have helped organize people against these ecologically disastrous projects by bringing experts to the villages. A state level consultation was organized on the MMDR bill and also carried out a campaign to save the Western Ghats. During Maghav Gadgil’s visit for the WGEEPR, people campaigned and demanded to declare their region as eco-sensitive. To get this onto the public domain, a signature campaign was also done.