It's a common word among the tribals of Patalkot valley. "Chaitua" a word derived from Hindi means beginning of summer,
whereas "Palaayan" means migration (an act of migration in the beginning of summer).
Why Chaitua Palaayan?
There are lots of employment opportunities in this region but tribals are forced to leave their home for Chaitua Majdoori
(Labourism). Villages are silent, no folksongs, no folkdances; locks are there on the doors. Lots of tribals have migrated
to cities like Bhopal, Raisen, Hoshangabaad, Pipariya etc. in search of money/ food. Numbers of tribals are leaving their
home for the need of their daily requirement i.e. food, finance and future security. No attempt has been taken so far from
the government agencies to stop the Palaayan of tribals. Villages in Tamia region viz., Kathotia, Thanakheda, Sidhouli, Satalva,
Umarwa, Banki, Beejhadhana, Loutia, Bhainskho, Bamdi, Markadhana, Dhendhu, Bailpathar, Pipariya Rajguru, Gaildubba, Kareyam,
Rated, Chimtipur, Chhindi and Jaitpur are among the places from where the tribals are roving away to another nearby cities.
Thousands of tribals leave their home in the beginning of summer for harvesting crops in other town. They meet rich farmers
there and work in their fields. In return, they get 5% of total harvested crop. This 5% earn is the total gain that they get
in Chaitua Majdoori. Chaitua Palaayan is generally observed during Jan/ Feb each year. According to Mr Kuldeep Singh a hotel
owner from Bijouri village and Mr Ramu Verma a bus driver from Pipariya Rajguru, more than 30000 tribals have migrated from
here to various cities in search of employment this year.
Palaayan is need of the hour, says tribal from Banki, Mr Sukhram Dhurve and Sunder Uikey. They say, "Neither land is
there for cultivationnor Government is paying any attention for our food security, we dont have money. There is no permanent
employment security for us." It was really hard to reach inside the villages of Patalkot valley before 1990. That was the
time when this region was not accessible by common men. Development moves initiated by the government. Few non-government
agencies also started working here. The Government has made roads and other transport facilities but tribals are not satisfied
with these attempts. "Roads are there for us but only road can not be a sign of development, we do need jobs, employment security."
Says Sumran Tekam of village Bijhadhana. Muniya Bai from Bailpathar, who just came back from Chaitua Palaayan, said that she
needed money to return loan that she took from the village chief. She was helpless earlier. She opted to move away from home
because she had no job to do and she was unable to arrange to the money. She used to collect forest produces like Amla (Emblica
officinalis), Mahua (Madhuca india) and Harra (Terminalia chebula) before Palaayan. The money she used to get in return was
even lesser to have food for a day. She was facing a tough time. Finally she decided to go somewhere out for arrangement of
money. When asked to her, "how does she feel to leave her home?" she replies "I had to return the loan otherwise the village-chief
would have taken her home away from her. Now, after coming back to home, she has paid the loan. She thinks there should be
some financial help or employment facility from the government.
Tribals are angry upon local politicians. According to them, "they (politicians) are opportunistic fellows. They come
to us during elections only. They give us money, cloths and woods for voting in favour of them. But, they forget us as soon
as the elections are over. Politicians are not serious in our concern. How long we will be dependent upon forest produces?
We need certain job opportunities".
Few Facts and problems:
- The state government during the last three years took various drought relief actions. Government had sanctioned rupees
40 crores for 1582 rehabilitation work in various drought affected areas of the district. Most of the work was done is tribal
pockets of the district. Tribal migration was lesser during last 4 years. Almost 50 thousand tribals got work during the period.
This year no such kind of work was allotted to the tribals therefore the migration rate increased. Tribals are angry because
they don't have any work to do.
- No direct fund has been raised to promote the livings of the tribal who survive here.
-NGOs those who are working for development of Patalkot and its population, are more interested in their self- development.
Lots of money has been granted so far from the Government agencies to these NGOs but results can be seen on the field.
-There is a greater hope for eco tourism but Government is not making proper initiatives. The whole Patalkot valley
lacks proper infrastructure. It should be promoted as a Tourism Spot.
I used to visit this place almost every month. The whole valley is facing so many problems. Deforestation is on its
high. Forest officers, politicians, few educators and few NGOs entered in their life, they have destroyed their lifestyle.
These people have started getting funds for the rehabilitation of these tribes, but the work done so far is just opposite
to the work done so far on papers. Everyone who is attached and related to this field has observed the changes in recent years.
The situation is really very bad now. They were happy before the involvement of government officials and other people. The
interference made by people belonging outside of Patalkot made their life like hell.
Presently, it is the need of the hour to provide basic facilities to these tribes but in a properly managed way. Palaayan
should be stopped completely so that the culture and rituals of tribes of this region remain live. The culture of these people
should not be killed; the system of curing disorders should not be exploited. Government should take initiatives for employment
for tribals in their home village. Funding facilities should be given to them for cultivation in their field and use of wasteland.
Government should establish an agency for collecting forest produces brought by tribals so that they can enjoy the actual
rate. Back doors should be shown to the mediators and brokers. Tribals should be promoted for cultivation of medicinal plants.
In this way, they can have their own way to earn the money, so that, next time they wont migrate. Chaitua Palaayan would be
stopped in this way.
..is to spread knowledge on plants and their ethnomedicinal importance. I am trying to put information on the uses
and conservation of medicinal plants of the valley. But, so far, just like so many, biodiversity of Patalkot is also threatened.
I am documenting the medicinal plants found here.
What I think:
- Government should develop, with the participation of the peoples
concerned, coordinated and systematic action to protect the rights of these peoples and to guarantee respect for their integrity.
- Recognition and, wherever practicable, assistance should be given
to these tribals in respect of their cultural identity, religious practices, linguistic abilities, origin, traditional knowledge
or other characteristics.
- The desire for rapid economic development had some harmful consequences
on our environment, sustainable technologies can be introduced.
What should be the right way to develop/ uplift these tribals?
How much money for the development of the valley has been sanctioned so far?
Which one is the main agency looking into the developmental processes in the valley?
What is the exact role of Patalkot Development Authority?
What is the role of Forest Department in conservation and documentation of unique fauna and flora of the valley?
The whereabout of the money allotted to the Panchayat?
Role of village chief/ local politician?
- Dr Deepak Acharya