Helping the tribal poor realise their right to land


By Narayan Sahu, Sangita Patra

3 August 2020

Tula Pradhan, a widowed, single mother of two, gets support from Gram Vikas to gain land ownership and benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Vikas Yojana.

Gram Vikas helped Tula Pradhan get her entitlements to land and a pucca house.

Photograph by Narayan Sahu

Tula Pradhan from Koinphulia village in the Ganjam district of Odisha is the sole breadwinner for her family. A widow and daily-wage labourer, she stays in a temporary house on the government land. Every year, during the rainy season, the gusty winds blow the roof away, the rainwater drenches all household items, including the stove and fuelwood, making it impossible for her to even cook for the family.

She got to know about enlisting as a beneficiary of the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana, a programme from the Government of India for housing support to rural poor. However, Tula was unable to benefit from it as she did not own land. Her frequent visits to the Panchayat Office did not help her in finding a way out to access the benefits from the scheme.

Tula’s case is representative of many landless villagers in rural Odisha, and their difficulties in obtaining housing rights.

Gram Vikas started its work to support local communities to claim their legal rights to land under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. Local communities get trained on the Forest Rights Act, and coordinate with local government bodies, authorities, and Forest Rights Committees executing the roles and responsibilities as envisaged under the Act.

Narayan Sahu, from the Gram Vikas team, learned about Tula’s situation. He followed up the matter with Teshildar, who further raised it with the district collector. The issue received due attention from the authorities. The revenue inspector did land identification and verification according to the set protocols.

Tula received the patta for her land in the year 2018-19 as part of individual rights under the Forest Rights Act. With the title of patta, Tula became eligible to avail the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana last year.

Tula and her children are eagerly awaiting the day to shift into their pucca house, a place they can call home.


Santosh Kumar Rout, Coordinator-Documentation, with Gram Vikas, supported in the data collection. Priya Pillai edited the story.


Narayan Sahu is a Field Expert, and Sangita Patra is a Thematic Manager in Gram Vikas.


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