Monday, March 12, 2007

Kechala, District Koraput, Orissa

Kechala, District of Koraput
Some general information on the State of Orissa
The State of Orissa, at the tropical climate, is at the East of India, the Bay of Bengal. The coastal plains rise carefully to the hills where is the Kechala project, with 900 meters of altitude. One finds there many ores and Orissa is a large iron exporter. But the State is often destabilized by natural disasters. In 1999, a cyclone devastated the coastal areas. Officially, 9 ' 500 people died but it is estimated that this number is closer to 50 ' 000. A million people lost their housing (compared with the tsunami of December 24, 2004, this number can appear low but remains nevertheless important). The waves flooded up to 15 m inside the country, destroying with the passage all the cultures. The salinity of the grounds and the damage caused with the system of irrigation caused a dryness. Many villages were famished. Floods and dryness continue to prevail.
Tribal population
62 groups of tribes formerly lived in the State of Orissa. Currently the “Adivasis” (or natives) constitutes more of the quarter of the population. Many Adivasis were integrated, but certain tribes remain nevertheless with the variation of modernity, being withdrawn in the forests and the hills. Khond, with the number of a million, live in south-west (where is the Kechala project) in the neighbourhoods of Koraput and close to Sambalpur in the North-West.
The influence of the tribal culture on the Indian culture is recognized little. But it is claimed that the first Buddhist communities took as a starting point their way of life, based on the equality, the absence of castes and the respect of any form of life. Many Hindu deities (such as Shiva and Khali) correspond to the deities of the tribes. In the same way, the languages oriya Bengali are languages which developed from those of the tribes crossed with the Sanskrit.
Tribal habits, ritual and beliefs became tourist attractions, which one can see in the museums. One also organizes days for Indian tourists, who come to see how these cut tribes of the world live, which can appear somewhat unhealthy, this more especially as it is especially the turn operator which profits from it!

Introduction to the Kechala project
A very new program of rural development is born in 2004 in the State of Orissa. The name of the project, Kechala, is that of the village close to the place of construction of the site, which one can see besides on the photograph of the title page of this file.
The place to establish the program is in the District of Koraput, inside the State, lost in the hills, to 900 m of altitude, where 3 to 4000 people live belonging to ethnic tribes, dispersed in 7 cut villages of the rest of the world, without work, education, latrines and practically without suitable assistance of the government. The only road in very bad state giving access to the tribal village of Kechala, circumvents the immense stopping Upper Kolab Reservoir built in the years 1970-1980. No regular means of transport connect Kechala to the town of Koraput. To traverse the 100 km separating the village from the city, it is necessary to hope 3h in the jeep. It is besides much easier and pleasant to cross the lake of the stopping in the boat.
It is one of the poorest areas of India, but also very beautiful, preserved of any pollution. In spite of the stopping, there is no electricity in the villages. Electricity is exported in the cities.
When the stopping was built, the government gave the choice to the moved natives, to receive grounds or money. 80% chose to receive ground; they thus succeeded in rebuilding a life elsewhere. The 20% remainder, which preferred to receive money, very spent quickly and currently live in the total destitution. It is the case of the inhabitants of the 7 villages which occupy us of which Kechala.
To survive, the natives cut the wood of the forests, which they sell at a ridiculous price with Koraput (transport by boat), thus creating a problem of serious deforestation in all the area. The landscape became lunar. They cultivate moreover some grounds, making a harvest per annum in an area where the climate allows harvests all the year.
The tribal population, not feeling constant, sinks more and more in alcohol produced on the spot, starting from the plants.
The majority of the inhabitants never left their village. Until last October, when the initiator of the project, Pranjal Jauhar, decides to offer a voyage to ten young people from 20 to 35 years, in New Delhi, none the inhabitants had never seen a true city, nor of plane, supermarket, escalator, computer etc Thanks to this voyage, the population initially very reserved vis-a-vis the newcomers, agreed to cooperate with the installation of the new program of development.
Tigers and bears still live in the area with complete freedom, and of the snakes. That I knew it only after having spent one night under stars, on the veranda of the only room in cabin the male team…

The project
The goal of the project is to build a school for a new conscience, a boarding school for young Indian students. The students will come from all India and all social layers. The first year will include/understand 3 classes. Gradually, of the additional classes will be added, until 12th. Education will be not-conventional. Parallel to the school course, the children will be implied in an environmental work.
For being able to build the school, it is necessary to place the team, to improve the access to the site, the communication (CH. 1) to start to plant trees and to cultivate the fields (CH. 2), and to help the villagers (CH. 3).
1. The site of the program
A building is currently in construction. Finished, it will include/understand 15 parts including 12 rooms, an office, a kitchen and a canteen.
Transport and communication:
The access to the site must be made easier. The disalignment of the only access road is too important for the trucks. It should be made uneven over a length from 300 to 400 meters.
The workers must be able to move more easily to reach Koraput and the various villages. For that, the acquisition of 2 motor bikes, the construction of 2 boats to cross the stopping, jackets of rescue (it is rare that the Indians can swim), of bicycles etc are necessary.
The installation of 2 cordless phones with antennas is essential.
For drinking water, two deep wells must be built. One close to the building in construction; a second close to the workshop which will be born soon. The workshop will shelter the instruments and the equipment necessary to the program. A garden contiguous to the workshop will be used as seedbed.
2. Plantation of trees and culture of the fields
The site of the program is on a ground of approximately 100 ' 000 m2, acquired into 2004 thanks to the personal funds of Pranjal Jauhar. Only one tree was preserved wild cut of the natives. It is necessary to start by retimbering. The whole will be entirely closed with barbed wire to protect the young trees. To prevent that the natives do not cut the trees, it is initially envisaged to plant trees which carry fruits and nuts, which will nourish them.
It is also envisaged to cultivate fields, and the this all year.
Wells of irrigation for the plantations of trees and the fields are necessary.
It is also envisaged to equip the site with solar energy of which 90% of the cost will be dealt with by the authorities.
3. Contribute to Adivasis (indigenous population or tribes)
Wells of drinking water and irrigation must also be built for the villagers,
To give work to the natives, a cashew nut factory is envisaged. Natives will be sent in already existing factories to learn the trade during 2-3 years before integrating thereafter the factory which is intended to them.
A medical aid with the villagers is also envisaged. Volunteers also should be trained.
The education of the children will also be done. The best pupils will be able to integrate the primary school envisaged in the second time and which is the initial goal of the program.
III. Initiator of the project and the team: Pranjal Jauhar, Indian, 38 years
Studies: licence trades about it with honors, 1989
Meerut, University, post rank in trade, 1991
Seminar of management in catastrophe with Indira Gandhi Open University,
Professional experience
From 1986 to 1990: Teacher with Mirambika Free School Progress, celebrates for his innovating methods of teaching and research in education.
Dice the beginning of the Nineties: Member of the Trust Sri Aurobindo, New Delhi, Secrétaire of Auro-Reflected Service and member of the Management committee of education at the school Sri Aurobindo. Person in charge for accountancy, financial transactions, legal investments, expenditure, taxes, businesses; person in charge for construction of the buildings. Mr. Jauhar also developed the hands-on training (vocational training) of the Institute Sri Aurobindo de New Delhi.
After the cyclone, which devastated the coasts of the State d' Orissa in 1999, Mr. Jauhar, as a representative of the Company of education of Sri Aurobindo, took part in the rebuilding of 20 school buildings. After the cyclone, it to the site went immediately, accompanied by a medical team. Drugs and food were distributed. During several months, it supervised work of rebuilding of the schools. This program was financed by the DDC, Switzerland.
The team which works with Pranjal Jauhar, is made up of 8 young people from 25 to 35 years, enthusiastic, all originating in the State d' Orissa, having followed a university and/or practical training to the school Sri Aurobindo in New Delhi. And an American having worked during 4 years with Ushagram. All without exception required to belong to the program. Currently, they are implied in the construction of the 1st building, which will be used of housing and starting place of the program. Each one of them will take then other functions in relation to its competences and its interests.
Organization responsible for the program
Name: Service Society Auro-reflected,
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi 110016
Ashram Sri Aurobindo de New Delhi was recorded in 1956.
Service Society Auro-reflected was creates with an aim of setting up of the varied programs.
Members of the Council
President: Mrs. Tara JAUHAR
(girl of the founder of Ashram and aunt de Pranjal Jauhar)
Vice-president: Mr. Triyugi NARAYAN VERMA
Secretary: Pranjal JAUHAR
(initiator of the program of Kechala)
Members: Mr. Tapan Pramanik
Mrs. Shukla HALDAR
Mrs. Kamlesh MOHINDREA

1 comment:

  1. How about some recent links on this project...