Lambani thandas lack basic infrastructure even after these were made revenue villages

Davangere Taluk

They are nomadic tribes who belong to Rajasthan.According to an article in Hindu there are 40 lakh lambanis in the state of Karnataka.

Kalibai, a 70 year old woman residing in Jog village does not have a toilet in her house. There is just a small space made in one corner of her house to take bath. She has a small hut like house made of bamboo sticks .The condition of the house is so bad that a sudden wind or rainfall will blow away the house. The only source of electricity in her house is a single diya kept on a wooden shelf. Her husband works as a farm labourer and  has a 2 acre corn field where half of the corn was destroyed due to scanty rainfall last year. She has already lost her daughter in her womb. Her second daughter will give her board exams this year but due to lack of electricity her studies get hampered. They have written a complaint three times to the Chinikatte gram panchayat but no one has responded and delayed her complaint every time.

At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to digitalise the economy, rural parts of Karnataka stay in darkness. Surendra Niak, a farmer from Hose Joga says that when they approach the KEB (Karnataka Electricity Board) the officials said that “The electric supply will be provided after you pay the money for putting electric meter in your house. With no option left they steal electricity from adjoining houses and electric poles by putting a wooden stick .When KEB comes for inspection they cut all the illegal electric supplies taken from nearby electric poles. He further adds that the services are only provided to people who are influential and have political connections. There is no electric supply from morning to evening because the villagers use a huge amount of electricity.

Half of the villagers dont have electric meter

Water scarcity is a major issue in Jog and the adjoining villages. These villages are mostly inhabitated by Lambanis also known as Banjaras.  Suragondanakoppa, a village in Honnali taluk has four borewells but still faces water shortage because three remain unfunctional throughout the year due to scanty rainfall.  People have to walk   2- 3 kilometres to fetch drinking water.

People who have their own bore wells do not face drinking water problem.  Sarakya Niak, a resident of Chatnahalli says that the main problem is the motor pump is on at 1 am at night just for one hour so they cannot store sufficient water. The topography of the villages denies them rainfall as they are located in the semi-arid region of the state. He further added that the bore well in the village has been dry for 2 years. There is no water to cook food as well so they turn to the bore wells in the farm lands which generally remain dirty. The water table has eventually gone down as many bore wells have been drilled so far. The Tungabhadra River also flows till Honnali town and dries as it reaches these villages. Though Chatnahalli has been turned into a revenue village it has not received the basic facilities.

TalukNet annual GW availablityExisting gross GW draft for all usesAllocation for domestic and industrial use for next 25 yearsNet GW availability for future irrigation developmentBalance GW irrigation potential availableStage of develo pment %
Honnali10145.25446.92661.534619.455751.7854

 Ground water resources and categorization of Davangere district as on 31st March 2004

The Project Director of Karnataka Thanda Development Coperation says the water table is already depleting as many borewells have been drilled so far. The Tungabhadra left canal dries up when it reaches these villages so they are trying to link the Umapati River a small tributary with a dam nearAnjanapur and divert the water into these areas. They are also trying to build small pickup dams and distribute water into the dry lakes.

Another major problem is sanitation. According to a report by Chinakatte Gram Panchayat the houses which come under it have 1,121 toilets while the population of these houses is more than six thousand as per 2011 census. As a result most people defecate in open attracting flies and mosquitoes. Proper drainage is also missing. These drains are built in such a way that during heavy rainfall the drain water enters the houses as they are built on low lying areas.

In 2009 the state government founded the Karnataka Thanda development Cooperation to provide them with basic aminities like proper cc roads, electricity, drinking water supply, employment, and skill and training centers. The co-operation also decided to build a worship place for the Lambanis and sanctioned 2 crore for the development of Sevalal Devasthana. Every year devotees come from across India to celebrate the Sevelal Jayanti on 15th February to commemorate the birthday of Sat Guru Sevalal. An article from The Hindu reported that in 2009 the state government has made a proposal to convert 500 tandas into revenue villages. The then revenue minister G Karunakar Reddy said that the work to turn these into revenue villages has been going on for some time. When thandas are converted into revenue village a sum is allocated to the gram panchayat for all round development of the village.

Most of the villagers do not know about the facilities they can avail due to lack of education and awareness from the Banjara Abhirudi Nigam. This issue was totally denied by the president of the thanda co-operation as he says that under Haribhuja programme awareness has been created in all the thandas since past three years and explains what schemes the thanda nigam and the other departments are providing.

The common occupation of most villagers there is working in construction sites or as farm labourers.  Some villages don’t have a single school so the children have to travel 5-10 kilometers to study .The entire thandas which comprises of more than 11 villages just has 10 schools. During the regime of BJP, BS Yedurappa promised to build a residential school for Lambani girls, reports a Hindu article.

When asked about the difficulties of providing facilities in the tandasI, the Project Director of Karnataka Thanda Development Cooperation replied in a strange way that until and unless the villagers give a letter concerning the facility they don’t get it. Here lies the irony as most villagers are uneducated so they don’t bother about such things. He further added the first priority of the villagers is to give them education so that they can look into self employment opportunities rather than ranting for government jobs. The state government has allocated 15 acre land to build a Banjara school so that they don’t have to travel long distances to study. The existing ITI needs to be developed as it needs more staff. There is lot of problems but it cannot be solved at once. Work is going on to build a Banjara training and cultural park which will include schools, ITIs , kasuti training centers and markets and will promote their diminishing culture and traditions.

The Alemaris and Lambanis have come from different parts of India and settled there. They started building houses on unauthorized land as these lands are either own by the government or the forest department. Sometimes land is given to them on lease for agriculture but instead they built houses on those lands. According to data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, 43 lakh hectares of forest land  were converted for different purposes between 1951-80. Soon after the government formed the Forest Conservation Act 1980 which says in no case encroachments which have taken place after 24.10.1980 should be regularised and immediate action should be taken to evict the encroachers . According to a report by the Karnataka Forest Department more than 24 thousand cases of encroachment have been reported.

The people  do not have ownership of the houses and the government is trying to come up with a plan to give them ownership in coming few months. Eventually the houses which are not owned by their owners have insufficient faclilities. All the previous governments have been unable to understand the problem and those who understood it did not bother to look into it. A report in The Hindu says, there are almost 3,351 thandas in the state and the government has allocated Rs. 1000 crore for overall development of tandas.

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