Western Region Region Lok Awaas Yatra
The kutch trail is one of the three routes being explored by the Lok Awaas Yatra in the western region. The trail has a strong focus on post disaster rehabilitation and disaster safe construction. The range of experiences proposed under this trail demonstrates disaster management and speedy construction using locally available materials. A variety of building materials ranging from compressed earth blocks to ferro-cement building elements are included in the trail. The trail also has a strong focus on people based processes for sustainable habitat development.
The participants will also get to visit the rebuilt town of Bachau in the trail. A brief description of the projects proposed for visit is given below:
1. A holistic village development: Nagavaladiya, Anjar taluka
Nagavaladiya village project, initiated under the ASHA reconstruction project, is a project of Efficor along with technical consultancy from Development Alternatives (DA).This project focuses on owner driven earthquake reconstruction. Almost 275 houses were built after the bhuj earthquake in 2001, using disaster safe and sustainable technologies. This village has a Panchayat ghar, a Primary school, an Aanganvadi and a Temple. Each set of house consists of a toilet, a verandah, a kitchen attached to the living space, and a bedroom. The house is made of concrete blocks and ferrocement channels. There is provision of electricity and water supply as well. The reconstruction involved participation by the community in decision making process as well as the construction. This has helped the local villagers to be trained in speedy construction and disaster management. This project has also helped in developing delivery mechanisms for disaster situations
2. Artisan’s village: Rudramata
This project demonstrates a village habitat development model with emphasis on the traditional craftsmanship of the local artisans. Using their inherent skill and knowledge, the artisan’s decorate their own bhunga’s (a traditional kutch house is called bhunga) using the local material available. This has led to revival of the old traditional crafts and showcases the capability of the local artisans. The project was initiated by Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan(KMVS), along with participatory processes by the community. The bhungas are made of compressed earth blocks rotated to achieve a circular form. The roof is made up of Mangalore tiles with a wooden understructure. People of the village are also using solar lamps for lighting their houses at night.
The interior decoration is all done by the locals. With traditional mirror work, they create inlays on the walls. Handicrafts like bags and bedcovers etc are also made by the villagers which are further sold in the market, thereby creating a sustained livelihood for themselves.
3. Drinking water protection: Karnata
Drinking water in a semi-arid region and desert is a precious resource. A substantial amount of time, human energy and money is spent in collection of water. Despite most of the people being connected to the water grid, people still have uncertainties in their mind about the reliability of the water supply system.
Sahjeevan, a NGO, along with financial assistance by SDC has been advocating for decentralised drinking water schemes for villages. Karmata a village located in Abdasa district of kutch is one such village which has been tested for the existing water sources and their development for water protection. The village has been provided with viable options of ground water recharge as well. An intensive research was carried out on type of soil and rock formation, on the basis of which new water sources were developed. People of the village always complained about the bad taste of water and refused to believe that they can get better quality of water. Sahjeevan along with the efforts of the village community developed new water sources and now the village has good quality water. Other issues related to water management & rain water harvesting were also catered to. Now the village has their own solar based water pumps.
4. Baniari, a village relocated
Baniari village, 15 kms from Bachau is a village of 47 Dalit families. This village was located at the edge of a Rann because of which the soil condition was poor. As a result the family’s dependant on agriculture for their livelihood decided to move towards Budharmora and settle there only. Harinagar –is the new name of the settlement. The villagers their purchased small piece of land from their own contribution and divided in to sub plots of 200 square meters and also made provision of future extension and community place. They approached UNNATI for technical and financial support to build houses. This was best opportunity to develop comprehensive community development project in consultation with the community where construction of houses was considered as an entry point. Maitri - MBT of Pune was approached for financial support.
A team of 11 youth was provided training to produce cement stabilized soil block. After training they were engaged through rate contract to supply blocks and thus livelihood opportunity was created for the victim families along with housing construction. Within nine month of time all the houses along with the infrastructure was completed and families moved in to new houses. Later on during the last four years people managed to bring electric power supply, drinking water pipe line and primary school up to standard seven through their own efforts .Settlement is well maintain and overall environment of safety and solidarity is maintained with the same spirit of unity.
5. Technology park: Shikara
An initiative of UNNATI, the technology park, located in Shikara is a resource cum learning centre for the village communities in Bachau Taluka. Its key role is technology transfer and the knowhow of disaster safe construction. The technology park demonstrates various construction technologies to ensure seismic and cyclone safety. The technology park serves as a very good model for capacity building of the community through the showcase of stepwise procedure of various disaster safe technologies used in construction along with promotion of use of renewable energy for electricity generation. It is a self learning process which does not require the presence of experts and their technical assistance.
6. Gram Punarvasvat Setu Kendra: kabrau
Setu, meaning ‘bridge’, emerged as a network of nodal point for facilitation of the relief and rehabilitation process in Kutch after the 2001 earthquake. As an information providing system, Setu has evolved in a material management node to an institution coordinating and facilitating development interventions and promoting community – based disaster preparedness. The Gujarat government recognised the good performance of these sub-centers and released a resolution stating its decision to set –up earthquake rehabilitation centers, each for a cluster of ten to fifteen affected villages. The funds were provided by the UNDP and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The wider objective of SETU is to respond to the needs of the community by providing essential backward and forward linkages. The Setu team collects the information analyses it for emerging issues and formulates its strategy in response to the issues identified. The current focus areas are Panchayat, education, health and special groups.