By Debika Goswami and Sagar Siddhant
Haryana government’s Mahatma Gandhi Grameen Basti Yojana program allots 100 square yards of free residential plots to below poverty line (BPL), scheduled caste, and “backward” class families. However, in 2010 and 2011, thirty-two villagers in Rangala Rajpur village of Ferozepur Jhirka block, Nuh, who were sanctioned these plots, had their land illegally confiscated by several influential people of the village. Despite tireless efforts since then by the assignees, and their repeated discussions with the village sarpanch (head of local council), the actual beneficiaries could not procure their land. They did not know whom else to approach for assistance in this predicament.
Rajina, a BPL legal beneficiary, learned about Citizen Information and Support Centre (CISC), operated by Publicis Sapient and S M Sehgal Foundation, from a relative from Jaisingpur village of Nuh block. Rajina called CISC’s toll free phone number 1800 1202575 on October 11, 2020, to seek guidance. The CISC facilitator advised Rajina and her fellow villagers to contact the office of the Deputy Commissioner.
On October 12, 2020, Rajina and other community members visited the office of the Deputy Commissioner in Mini Secretariat, Nuh, and submitted a formal letter requesting assistance.
Within eleven days, the Deputy Commissioner directed the Block Development Panchayat Officer (BDPO) to resolve the issue.
By the end of October 2020, under the aegis of BDPO, the 3,200 square yards of encroached lands were cleared and recovered in the presence of police, and subsequently handed over to the legally entitled beneficiaries.
Rajina, who has lived for more than a decade in a small two-room house with nine family members, now dreams of constructing her own home on the allotted plot with adequate space to accommodate her family.
(Debika Goswami is program lead, Local Participation and Sustainability and Sagar Siddhant is field associate with S M Sehgal Foundation)