Just deal for rural women
Kamal Joshi
Tribune News Service

A women adalat in progress at Dhari in Yamkeshwar block of Pauri Garhwal district. A women adalat in progress at Dhari in Yamkeshwar block of Pauri Garhwal district.
A women adalat in progress at Dhari in Yamkeshwar block of Pauri Garhwal district.
Tribune photos: Kamal Joshi

Kotdwar (Pauri Garhwal), November 13
“Apni Adalat does not breach community amity as is the case when litigation filed in judicial courts,” claims Ganga Devi.

She supervises the proceedings of Apni Adalat at Kashyali village. And the crowd gathered there to get disputes resolved agrees with the claim.

The formation of Apni Adalat by the Mahila Samakhya, a women organisation, an indication of legal awareness attained by women on gender issues. It also shows the respect earned by vigilant and aware women.

Women, especially those with rural moorings, are not too aware of their rights. Most lack the confidence of voicing the atrocities committed on them. Without legal awareness, women cannot make effective use of their rights.

“It has been often observed that even educated women, somewhat aware of their rights, are afraid to assert their rights because of pressure from the patriarchal society. They have to surrender because they are dependent on men, economically or psychologically. This prevents them from approaching the courts,” explains Geeta Gairola, state project director, Mahila Samakhya.

“Even if a woman overcomes these hurdles and decides to fight for her rights taking legal recourse, the absence of resources comes in the way,” she says.

The Mahila Samakhya works for woman empowerment. The organisation forms mahila sangh at the village level to impart information to women on various subjects like health, education, Panchayati Raj etc.

They are also encouraged to discuss issues pertaining to domestic violence, common property resources like community land and forest and water resources. At the sangh level, women resolve various personal or community issues competently.

But there are many issues or disputes which cannot be resolved at the sangh. For such issues, the organisation provides legal awareness and education to the women.

Very often, even this does not help. “In our judicial system, the process of justice is time-consuming and expensive. Lack of resources and the tedious process results in denial of justice to woman in the true sense.

“In such circumstances, women are either compelled to compromise with her oppressor, remain a victim of oppression and keep mum. These conditions ultimately break them,” says Preeti, district coordinator of the organisation for Pauri district.

The success of Nari Adalat prompted the Pauri unit of the organisation to replicate the experiment and it set up adalats at the Yamkeshwar development block.

Coordination of Apani Adalat is generally done by the legal core team of the mahasangh. At Nari Adalat, any woman who seeks justice submits in writing her problem with the mahasangh office or at the place where the Apni Adalats are conducted. The Nari Adalat team scrutinises the application and at times discuss the issue with the applicant.

They send a notice to the opposite party asking the party to attend the Nari Adalat on a certain date. Views of the disputing parties are heard and the root cause of the dispute ascertained. Then with discussion and analysis, relief is given to the aggrieved party.

Sita Dabral, resource person for the organisation (Pauri) says: “The uniqueness of these adalats is that discontenting parties are not smeared as accused or accuser. Both are made to sit together to discuss the cause of the dispute and made aware of the cause of the problem.

“From inputs given by Apni Adalat members, they are told of the basic reason for the problem and justice is provided to the victim with the approval of both parties in an amicable atmosphere.

”By resolving issues in such a manner, neither family relations become tense nor there are any negative effects in social amity ”.

Raj Rawat, chairperson of the State Women Commission, says this initiative of the Mahila Samakhya has been a great help to the women. “I am greatly impressed,” she says.

Seeing the maturity of mahasangh members and their success in delivering justice, even men began to bring their disputes to these adalats. In several instances, the Nari Adalat has succeeded where panchayats failed.

Prashant Baduni, panchayat block pramukh of the Yamkeshwar, is all praise for the Apni Adalat. “The Apni Adalat is a boon for economically weak women. They cannot seek legal help even if they know their rights. They cannot afford the court expenses.

“For these women, the Apni Adalat, whose decisions are respected by the community, has provided them speedy justice”.

As the Nari Adalat began dealing with issues related to the community and nor just the gender, they came to be known as Apni Adalat. At present, seven Apani Adalats are being conducted in Nainital and Pauri districts.



Book lovers’ retreat
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 13
Since ages books have been man's best friend. And Dehradun, being a hub of educational activities, has always attracted book lovers.

A fine book and a steaming cup of coffee makes our day. BNM Narayan’s Books and Music is a store with a difference. Here one gets to enjoy the perfect ambience.

"A book lover is always on a lookout for something novel and a combination of varied books and coffee lightens up the atmosphere", says Gautam, the store caretaker.

The store not only has books on several subjects, but it also sells quality cigars. The store keeps the famous cuban cigars for the elite.

"Though the concept is new, we have regular clients who relish the ambience. The price range of the cigars is Rs 100 to Rs 1,500. We give freedom to our readers to explore, enjoy their time and finally pick a book," says Gautam.

The main attraction is the store’s cigar lounge where customers can browse through a book, smoke a cigar and sip coffee. The serenity allows one to decide on books at leisure.

"It's very different from other stores. No one in Doon has this kind of a lounge. I enjoy my time being here, and once in a while I can afford it too," says Rohan Raj, a regular customer. Interestingly, the store owner believes in communicating with the customers.

"We have not marked book sections because we want our customers to interact with us and direct their queries to us. Lately,on the recommendation of our customers we have added books of their choice", says Gautam.



Not by tax incentives alone
Vikas Vasudev
Tribune News Service

Roorkee, November 13
The industrial estate in Roorkee has turned into an eyesore. The industrial belt of Bagwanpur - Iqbalpur witnessed unprecedented growth following the announcement of the tax incentive package in the year 2003.

But successive governments in the state have only concentrated on ensuring that the tax holiday is extended beyond 2010 without bothering to develop the belt.

Lack of infrastructural facilities in this town has become a nightmare for investors and locals alike.

The indifferent approach of successive state governments is evident from its bad roads, poor water drainage system that results in water logging, absence of health service, inadequate and frequent power failure, besides lack of good schools and recreational facilities.

"The government has set up an industrial estate here, but unfortunately no significant development has taken place as far as infrastructure and basic facilities are concerned. The internal roads are a mess, a major obstacle to transportation and also the main cause for frequent accidents," says an industrialist.

AP Garg, president, Uttaranchal Industries Association says: "We have been approaching the state government and the authorities concerned time and again and requesting them to solve the problems encountered by industrialists, but to no avail.”

The authorities have surveyed the industrial belt including Bagwanpur, Iqbalpur, Jabreda and adjacent areas for providing the necessary facilities, but nothing concrete has been achieved on the ground so far.

Sources say the public works department has earmarked construction of 23 small and big roads in the belt, besides proper drainage system and a power house as immediate requirement.

"Its high time that the state government takes steps to resolve the issues, otherwise it would be a difficult task for them (state government) to stop industries from shifting elsewhere once the tax holiday is over," warns Garg.



‘There must be balance between home and career’
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 13
It has been an eventful journey for Dr Ranjana Malik, a trained physician, she is now engrossed in social work.

She works with a trust created for bright but economically weak students. The trust provides them the opportunity to continue with their studies. Beginning with just 16 children, it has now 400 beneficiaries on its rolls.

“It is a private trust that ensures meritorious students coming from economically weak families do not face hardships in continuing with their education. We ensure that they stand on their feet on completion of studies.

“We do not take funds from the government; the emphasis is on private funding with intensive monitoring to ensure the children get enough avenues and the process of education does not stop mid-way.

“For now, our activities are restricted to a few places in Haryana,” informed Dr Malik, wife of Gen Ved Malik (retd).

Her association with Dehradun brings back fond memories from her childhood days spent at Astley Hall, followed by schooling at St Thomas School.

“What I learnt at school has served me well. After all, it is here that our personalities take shape, values of fairplay and honesty are imbibed which we carry throughout lives.”

So much has happened since. Dehradun has grown manifold. So did she feel disconnected when she visited the marketplace here ?

“It certainly has grown, barring the cantonment area. The city has expanded and there is a lot of rush and traffic on streets. I wanted to visit Rama Market but could not due to packed schedule, yet I will be carrying back to Panchkula bakery products that have not changed,” informed Ranjana.

Looking back, she is a satisfied person. “ I’ve always had my feet placed firmly on the ground. I am satisfied with what life has had to offer. My children are 

“I think women can be true achievers if they are conscious of their duty towards society and strike a balance between home and career,” concluded Dr Malik.



Handcarts on roads pose grave threat

It seems despite the write-ups in newspapers about the unsanitary conditions in the city and the commotion created by councillors at the municipal board meeting on Tuesday, precious little is being done to address the problem.

The city roads are a nightmare and potential deathtraps for commuters. The pot-holed roads lead to frequent breakdown of vehicles. Handcarts pose another hazard on roads. They jam traffic and overloaded carts are a threat to all around.

There number is growing and a legislation is a must to regulate them. The civic authorities have initiated some action on the matter. Let us see, if they are able to curtail the menace.

The city roads are particularly dangerous for schoolchildren crossing road
after school hours in the afternoon. The rush outside schools is maddening
and unregulated.

At some markets, shopping is impossible with no parking place and overcrowded streets. Life in the city is becoming increasingly difficult. This is sad. The city was once known for its leisurely pace and serene environs.

While it is natural that a capital of a state sees a lot of activity, it must be ensured that its residents get quality living. Hope something will come out in the end.

Gigi Pathak, Dehradun

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