People of a village in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district have settled their water and land disputes through mediation, instead of going to courts.
On July 19, Hanumangarh sub-divisional officer Surendra Rajpurohit declared Araiyawali as the first litigation-free village in north Rajasthan. “The village has set an example for people of other villages by settling disputes through mediation in a peaceful atmosphere,” he said.
The Community Mediation Centre, set up in the village by Jodhpur-based NGO Libra India six months ago, played a key role in settling the disputes. “The state’s water resources minister inaugurated the centre at Araiyawali village on January 15 this year,” said Sanjeet Purohit, managing trustee of Libra India.
Villagers had disputes over distribution of canal water. The mediation centre came to know that they were linked to land disputes. “Therefore, it was decided that the centre will also strive to settle revenue- and land-related disputes to maintain harmony in the village,’’ said Purohit.
Villagers identified 13 people who were willing to solve their disputes amicably. The revenue lok adalat, organised at the village centre on April 15, identified 42 cases that could be resolved through community mediation.
The sub-divisional officer appointed mediators and they were given training and facilitation; the disputes were resolved through mediation.
‘At the beginning, we thought that the solution to disputes was challenging, but slowly mutual understanding developed and with collective cooperation, we were able to make our village litigation-free,” said Ramkumar Godara, a mediator.
Libra India representative Akshay Singh said, “There is no provision in the Rajasthan Farmers Participation in Management of Irrigation System Act-2000 for settling pre-litigation disputes. In such a situation, mediation will prove to be the right path.”