CHHOTA UDEPUR, AUGUST 10, 2009: Listening, learning and planning—August 8, 2009 was a day for all these at Lok Seva Kendra, Chhota Udepur. The atmosphere was festive as 178 SHG leaders from the surrounding villages came to LSK to attend a three-hour session on the provisions of the NREGA and the ways in which to access this Act. The resource persons—Fr. Mayank Parmar and Mr. Nikunj Parmar from DRISTI, Kapadvanj—explained the details of the NREGA and also described how villagers in their work area have benefited from this law.
Their session was followed by a talk from Mr. A. K. Solanki, the Taluka Development Officer (TDO) of Chhota Udepur. He assured the people that they could approach the taluka office for any help or complaints regarding the implementation of the NREGA in their villages. He also went on to describe some of the other government schemes formulated for adivasi areas and extended his support to the people in their efforts to claim their rights.
After this, Fr. James Tuscano concluded the programme by urging the SHG members present to take up leadership roles in their community. He emphasized the importance of speaking boldly and openly to both, government officials as well as fellow villagers. Surely, under the able guidance of Fr. Ranald Lopes and his social work team, the people of Chhota Udepur taluka are on their way to securing their rights under this law and building a more secure future for their communities.