Housing - As Sedentism replaces Nomadism

Historically, the nomads have never had a permanent   address or a house. Their nature of work never allowed them to stay put at a fixed location for long. And because their life of perpetual wandering helped them earn living, they never felt the need to belong to one place. They belonged to the society, the society took care of its service providers and entertainers, they hosted them at regular intervals, provided them with cash and kind for the work they did.  It was a long sustained symbiotic relationship between the settled and nomadic communities. But with the advent of machines and industrial production, the need and value of the services provided by the nomads gradually diminished and so did the need for them to wander!!

Today the nomadic communities survive in the most pathetic living conditions. They now need land to settle down for good, to raise their families in safe and secure environment. These families have no land to stay or to till. They are neither accepted in the villages nor is the administration pro-active towards providing permanent land for residency. With the land becoming premium the resistance towards allotting land to the nomads is constantly increasing. The applications for the land are either met with delay or maddening silence. We have numerous instances where the applications have been pending for almost 10 years. Amidst all the gloom and despair, there are good days too when the villagers have shown willingness to embrace the nomads and share land with them. A lot of credit also goes to the few good humans in the admiration and local bureaucracy whose compassion has kept our faith alive.

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Number of houses built
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Families receiving residential plots.
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Families receiving partial assistance
and technical support to build houses

Achievements

  • Our collective endeavor has resulted in construction of 880 homes.
  • We have also tried building 17 well-rounded settlements with facilities of power, water and sanitation units.
  • Our constant lobbying has resulted in increase of government assistance for construction of house under Pandit Dindayal Awas Yojna from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 70,000 to now Rs. 1,20,000.
  • Over the years, VSSM’s work at the grassroots and convincing advocacy has resulted into ease in obtaining documents like ration cards, voter cards, enlisting in BPL list, caste certificates and likes but acquiring land to build a house remains the most challenging aspect. Land has become a priced possession and window to instant riches. There are numerous dynamics that influence the official decision to allot the land and mitigating through these communal and political barriers remains the toughest task we tackle.
  • There are thousands of applications still pending with at various stages.