Case Studies



Interviews of Two Women Residents of Sanjay Nagar

Interviews Conducted By Ms. Preetiben Patel of SEWA Bank

Champaben of a age of 40 years, said that she married in a very young age. Her husband and father-in-law were daily quarrelling with each other. She felt that under such condition it was better to live separately from her father-in-law to avoid quarrels. But the question that was agitating her mind was that where to go and how to live outside the home. In her young age she had never went outside excepting going for school. She was now tired and determined to leave home. She went to her mother's home. She said she used to go to her maternal brother's daughter living in Sanjay Nagar and was telling to her about family's unfortunate incidents. During her visits she was repeatedly enquiring for a place in Sanjay Nagar. Inspite of her sister's advise that Sanjay Nagar has no facilities, she decided to change the place. Ultimately, she purchased a place in Sanjay Nagar by paying Rs.5000/-.

For constructing walls of the house, she took clay from adjoining farm and used plastic sheet for ceiling. She thus constructed a kutcha house. She said her husband was not keeping well and she was pregnant. Her mother-in-law once came and forcibly took away her husband with him. She was now alone in the home. She was not knowing any work she had no money. She had also to look after her health. She mortgaged her home for Rs.2000/- and again went to her mother's place. Out of this amount she spent Rs.1800/- for her delivery. When her child was of just 10 months and 10 days, she started selling vegetables near Raipur Mills. She was saving Rs.2-3 out of her daily income which was credited in her account.

Once she was selling grapes in Manekchowk. Manguben a worker of SEWA collecting union's subscription came in her contact. As she was educated, Manguben suggested to her to join SEWA to educate her other female members of the area. She then joined SEWA and started attending its office at 12.00 noon after feeding her child and was working upto 3.00 p.m.

In SEWA, she started attending Education Class, Trade Committee and Area Meeting. As she was regularly attending all the meetings, other workers were impressed by her work and sincerity. In 1990 she was elected in the Executive Body of SEWA and undergone for a leadership training. She was daily coming to SEWA Bank and educating other ladies about the working of bank and the advantages of opening accounts with it. She encouraged a large number of ladies to open accounts. In 1991 when insurance scheme was started , she explained the scheme to her colleagues and within one month she could pursue 1000 ladies to take insurance policies.

She was feeling that it was not good for a married woman to live in mother's home. In 1993 she released her home form mortgage by paying Rs.2000/- out of her savings and again started living in Sanjay Nagar. Since she came to Sanjay Nagar, she was very much disturbed by seeing difficulties and hopeless living conditions of the people of that locality. She was particularly not happy that ladies of Sanjay Nagar had to go to adjoining Rabari's chawl for washing their clothes, cleaning cooking wares and removing cow dungs just to get one or two buckets of water. As ladies generally do not go to burial places, children were asked to go there and get water from it.

Looking all these difficulties she was very much upset. A meeting of some of the leaders of Sanjay Nagar was called and they went to Municipal Corporation for demanding for civic facilities. She spent from her pocket for 3-4 water taps. But this arrangement for 200 families was inadequate. People had to make queues and were daily fighting each other for water. One illegal connection was also taken by spending Rs.600/- which was later disconnected by corporation.

There was also no facility of drainage in Sanjay Nagar and they have to throw garbage and effluent in pits and kharkuvas. There was a problem of removing used dirty water which was over flowing on the roads. Cowdungs thrown nearby was adding to the repulsive conditions of the whole area. There were public toilets but they were also used by people of the adjoining chawls and were not properly cleaned and maintained with the result the whole area was looking like a very filthy and dirty place. In monsoon it was a horrible scene and lot of mosquitoes and insects were seen. The whole area had thus no facilities of water, drainage and toilet.

Once Uttaraben and Nirajbhai of Slum Networking Programme came to this place and gave information about slum restoration programme. They said if all agree to join this programme, it could be implemented here. Initially people had no trust in it and were not prepared to join with it. They were misguided by rumours that such activities are not for their advantage and under such programme their slums would be demolished. Because in the past they had received notices for removal of slums and this time they were not sure as to whether their slums will not be removed. They were also sure as to whether their slums will not be removed. They were also smelling some political motives for influencing their votes in elections. They were also feeling that by such programme Arvind Mills was trying to get back its land occupied by Sanjay Nagar.

People of Sanjay Nagar were explained in detail about the objectives and advantages of the networking programme. A letter of Municipal Commissioner Mr. Varma showing the willingness of AMC in joining with this project was shown to them. The y were informed about how much will be spent for the programme, what facilities they will get and what contribution they will have to make towards the expenses. Slides of similar programme implemented in Indore were shown and some confidence could be created in them. A meeting with Mr. Asnani, Dy. Municipal Commissioner of AMC was also arranged to appraise them about various facets of the project.

Some anxieties were seen in the people for the burden of expenses. They were not sure how to contribute Rs.2000/- by each family as a share for the project. SEWA Bank staff worked hard to educate them for opening of bank accounts with it for making saving which could be utilised for making contribution. Initially they had no trust in such accounts and were feeling unsecured about their money deposited in the banks. But once they were given bank's passbooks with entries in it of their amount deposited, it created a trust in bank's services. In reality they had neither trust in their leaders nor in the management of Arvind Mills. When they had seen that the work has already started in Sanjay Nagar, every one came forward t open their bank accounts and started depositing their contributions. Out of 181 families of Sanjay Nagar 118 families paid their contribution fully, while others demanded for loan which was arranged through SEWA Bank, inspite of its bad experience in the past.

Before Amenities

The street lanes in Sanjay Nagar were narrow and there was no lighting facilities. There was a danger of drunkards. Ladies could not sleep outside. The slums were haphazardly built without ventilation. Everywhere there were pits and hollow surfaces. The homes were without flooring and a lot of mosquitoes and insects were seen particularly in monsoon. There was no system to clear garbage which was getting accumulated in trenches and pits mixed with dirty water. Children were playing in such rotten places and were frequently getting sick. In absence of regular cleaning of streets and even houses, the whole atmosphere was unpleasant and filthy. People were explained about the implications of such conditions and dangers of spreading epidemics of different kinds.

After Getting Amenities

After getting amenities they are now feeling happy with widening of streets. Hand carts are now coming inside. People themselves are keeping roads clean. Mosquitoes are not seen. There is dust bin for every 20 houses which has helped a lot in solving the problem of garbage collection and disposal. Public toilets are demolished and each house is provided with individual toilet which has helped in improving cleanliness of the location. After providing drainage lines and kharkuva, pits and trenches are removed. Street lights are also provided. Each slum is now built of pucca construction and they have been assured that their slums will not be removed or shifted elsewhere. A Health Centre is also started which examines patients on every Wednesday. Medicines are given with the result fatal diseases which were common are now controlled.

Nobody is now teaching each other for keeping cleanliness both in and outside their homes. People themselves have become civic minded to keep cleanliness. They now understand that civic services should be properly used and maintained. Garbage should be put only in dustbins.

Habits of people have been radically changed. Everybody in the family now takes bath before going for work. Formerly people did not like to come to Sanjay Nagar for living. People's mental and economic frame-work has been now considerably changed. Everybody wants to make saving. They went to add more amenities in their homes and for that many families have taken loans from bank.

Laxmiben Chimanbhai Patni

She is of 40 years age. She purchases fruits from wholesale market of Kalupur and selling it in Jamalpur. She earns Rs.30-35 daily. Champaben a SEWA Worker once told to her that a programme of rehabilitation has come to your doorstep. She advised her to open a bank account which could be used for getting better facilities. She can attend her children better and their health could be improved. The problem of fund for doing business could be solved. Ultimately Laxmiben opened a account in SEWA Bank and got a loan which helped her a lot in meeting business needs and increasing civic amenities. She is now saving Rs.10/- everyday and paying Rs.125/- every month towards bank loan. She has now built a confidence that if she could regularly pay her bank loan she would be able to get another loan for constructing a pucca house.

Before Receiving Amenities

Fortunately people had to go for toilet on open land outside chawl near Anil Starch. Males and unsocial elements were harassing ladies going for toilet and making their cruel jokes. Their behaviour was shameless. Ladies were thus feeling ashamed and were put under embarrassing conditions.

There was no facility of water in Sanjay Nagar. Even drinking water was not available. They had to go to Anil Starch for it where they were daily quarrelling with Rabaris, Thakores, Harijans etc. They were not allowing them to take water. After abusing like anything and calling them Vagharis with harsh words they were allowing people of Sanjay Nagar to take only 1-2 buckets of water.

In Sanjay Nagar garbage was accumulating near home which was creating a lot of dirtiness and mosquitos with the result it had affected the health of people. They had to remove this garbage in the adjoining open lands which was spoiling the surroundings and causing epidemics like Malaria, Typhoid, TB etc.

In absence of lighting facilities they were facing a lot of difficulties for cooking in the evening and attending other household work. Ladies were unnecessarily beating their children. In absence of lighting there was always a risk of thefts and danger of falling in trenches of kharkuva. Because of kacha roads a lot of garbage was lying on them and water was over flowing which was creating mosquitos and causing widespread diseases.

There was no facility for drainage with the result pits were dug near the house in which people were taking their bath, washing clothes and utensils etc. They were removing the used water of pits by buckets and discharge them in open grounds nearby. This had affected their health for which they had to spend a lot for medical treatment.

After Receiving Amenities

Now each house had its own toilet with the result ladies have not to go outside. This has stopped unpleasant incidents of harassment to ladies.

As each house has been provided with separate water tap, people have not to stand in queue and there is now no incidents of quarrels. Atleast problem of drinking water is solved and so also they are getting water for washing and other domestic use.

Everybody now puts garbage in dustbin kept near the house which has helped in removing surrounding filthy atmosphere. Persons from AMC now collects the garbage. By providing lighting facilities ladies can do work in the evening and prepare meals thereafter. This has also minimised the risk of thefts which have become common.

Because of pucca roads, accumulation of filthy materials and garbage on roads have been minimised. People are now able to meet and sit together in the evening on the roads, which are free from garbage.

With the construction of drainage lines, pits and trenches are filled up as there is no need to throw garbage or water in them. This has helped to control diseases.

In short with the provision of basic amenities, the risks of epidemics are minimised which has reduced the expenses for medical treatment. There is no an overall improvement in the quality of life in Sanjay Nagar and people are feeling happy.