Women Power: Female surveyors lay down 'law of the land'

Mar 07, 2014, 06:36 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Varsha Bhoite and five colleagues — among 500 female land surveyors recruited in the past year by state — have broken into a largely male bastion, by appraising 8.65 hectares of land in Haveli Taluka

“Some of the male employees from our department kept telling me that I would not be able to perform the difficult task of surveying land. I was, however, confident that if men could do it, why couldn’t I,” said Varsha Bhoite, one of the 500 female surveyors, recruited over the past year by the state government. Breaking al barriers and fighting against all odds, Bhoite and five of her colleagues are surveying 8.65 hectares of land in Phulgaon village of Haveli Taluka since February 26.

Walking tall: The surveyors explained the process to villagers Pic/Mohan Patil

This is the first time that any female surveyors have started fieldwork since being recruited. However, it is not a stress-free process for these six women, who have to travel to Phulgaon every day, which is nearly 50 kilometres from the city.

For good measure: Surveyors measuring a small plot in Phulgaon village. Pic/Mohan Patil

“Previously, I was only involved in demarcation and surveys of small plots. This is the first time that I am surveying an entire village, said Bhoite, who left a relatively cushy job in the IT field to pursue her passion in a field dominated by men.

“The day I accepted this job, a few male counterparts tried to discourage me. However, my seniors motivated me to move forward,” added Bhoite.

A 20-year old trainee surveyor in Phulgaon, Nisha Bendhari said that her family always supported her to take up this job. “Their backing encouraged me a lot, and now I can even survey 30 acres of land on my own,” said Bendhari, with a sparkle in her eyes. While Shilpa Jawak, who is special deputy superintendent of land records (Pune city), said, that when these surveyors would finish their work, her job of conducting an inquiry would begin.

“The survey work is to demarcate the open and reserved space in a village. However, determining the ownership of the open space is my prerogative,” said Jawak. She added that before commencing work on the land survey, the surveyors conducted meetings with villagers and told them about the importance of the process.

“It was a remarkable decision by the state government to include women for this male- dominated occupation, and I am glad that they are doing their job with honesty and utmost dedication. These female surveyors would now inspire other women, who want to take up this career,” said Chandrakant Dalvi, settlement commissioner and director of land records.

>> The survey work is to demarcate open and reserved spaces in an area
>> Surveyors met villagers and told them about importance of the process
>> Phulgaon village is about 50 km from Pune city

Ground rules

In the past year, the state government had recruited 1,800 people on posts of surveyors lying vacant. 30 per cent of the posts were reserved for women and, accordingly, 500 female surveyors were hired and deployed in various talukas.

Sarpanch speaks
Kantaram Vagaskar, sarpanch of Phulgaon, said that the survey would solve the issue of ownership of properties in the area. “We don’t even have a map for our village. That’s why locals are unaware about the boundaries of their plots. Due to the unavailability of maps, it’s impossible for us to get loans for construction. This survey will change all that,” he said.

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