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Technological and Institutional Variables in the Evolution of Rules for Community Plantations of a Scheduled Caste in a Backward Area of Gujarat (Working Paper, no. 918)

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Pastakia, A.
Conference: Designing Sustainability on the Commons, the First Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Duke University, NC,
Conf. Date: September 27-30, 1990
Date: 1991
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5559
Sector: Forestry
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): community forestry
common pool resources
caste system
land tenure and use
Abstract: "This paper examines the nexus between new technology, an open access land resource, and the institutional set-up for establishing and managing tree plantations as a common pool resource. For the Vankars, Scheduled Caste people of a coastal saline region of Gujarat, this means participation in struggle at several levels in society. This land is owned by the State Government. It is open access land managed by the Village Panchayat. The Vankars combined their knowledge of local resource with the techno-managerial inputs of an external Non-governmental Organization (The Behavioural Science Centre, set up by St. Xavier's College in Ahmedabad to engage in rural development work) to evolve a new technology for making these lands productive. Some land was acquired on long-term lease from the Government on individual basis and also on group basis. In either case they soon realized that reclamation and management of such degraded lands called for pooling together of the land as well as other resources. The setting up of a chain of cooperatives in different villages in this region from 1979 onwards and their subsequent federation into a Cooperative Union in 1989 is the realization of a dream shared by the leaders of an oppressed community and their counterparts in the external agency. The paper examines the evolution of rules for using usufruct, providing labour and protection, processing of wood into charcoal and marketing; in three cooperatives selected on the basis of land productivity as a criterion. The mechanisms for sharing set-up costs and maintenance of the plantations, the problems of fostering unity and the perceived stram of benefits realized by three members vis-a-vis the NGO are summarized. Implications are drawn for building institutions around common pool resources."

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