Shifting Cultivation Network

Jhum field (17)

Fresh Shoots appearing after the burning of the Jhum filed. Photo: NESFAS/Kegitar Lyngdoh Lyngkhoi

Many of the communities in contact with NESFAS reiterated the continuing importance and relevance of shifting cultivation in food security and the sustainable livelihood practices of indigenous peoples and its role in biodiversity conservation. Regretting the lack of understanding of many mainstream development workers, researchers and policy makers of the value of shifting cultivation to these local communities, many of these communities agree with the views of more informed researchers and policy makers that shifting cultivation is indeed a flexible, dynamic, low carbon emitting, energy efficient and sustainable.

2 Responses to Shifting Cultivation Network


    Implementation Agency: AWARD –NGO, West Godavari
    Duration of the Project: 3 years (initially) Organic Farming
    Location of the project: Buttaigudem Madal, West Godavari District
    Budget for the Project: 24, 64,500-00
    West Godavari is one of the coastal districts in the north coastal region which is having most tribal belt and lied in the hilly area which is underdeveloped and most of the marginalized people are settled and living in miserable conditions. Though govt. and other agencies are working in the district but neglecting about the hilly area which is most vulnerable. AWARD is working for the last 25 years in the operational area and though did few activities and could not sustain the meets of the needs. The people are migrating and deforestation is happening in the area which causes more environmental problems in the near future. Hence this proposal was generated for enhancing livelihoods for the tribal people through Sustainable Agriculture through Agro- Forestry Program on Hill Tribal Land watershed management and supporting technologies and creating a self sustain mode and capacity building for the farmers to engage them in the agro based products and increase the soil fertility and production as well as eventually increases the livelihoods for the beneficiaries.
    Brief information about the project location:
    Sex Ratio Density Growth Rate Rural (%) S.C (%) S.T (%)
    Buttaigudem 996 349 – 100 12.2 25.2
    West Godavari 991 371 21.06 79.20 16.2 2.3
    Andhra Pradesh 972 241 23.82 73.21 14.9 5.9
    India 929 267 23.50 76.40 15.8 7.8

    The ratio of Women to Men at 996 to 1000 in the mandal is slightly higher than in the district and the state and considerably higher than the figure for the whole country. This is probably due to large scale of migration of men to other district and urban conglomerations in search of work.

    It can be seen that urbanization is proceeding far more slowly than in the rest of the state with 80% of the total district population classified as rural. Buttaigudem Mandal is entirely rural with high hill tribal population.

    The percentage of scheduled caste population within the Mandal at 12.2% of the Total population is lower than that in the district (16.2%) or the state (14.9%). However the Tribal Population is 25.2% of total in Buttaigudem Mandal as against 2.3% in the district, 5.9% in the State and 7.8% in the country.
    The main tribes found in the area are Koyas, Sugalis and Konda Reddies, which are the most backward of the tribal and live in deep forest of interior hilly areas. Sugalis are the most developed group among the tribes, but their population in the project area is very thin. Hence the Koyas are the major tribe among the selected target group.

    Occupation Pattern:
    Out of the total geographical areas of 37018HA. is under forest (75.44%) and only 5631HA. (15.215) is the net area shown. Agriculture in the project area is both under irrigated and rained conditions. “PODU” or Shifting cultivation is commonly practiced by the tribal and is legally permitted. The yields are low and un-economical. Paddy is the main crop grown. Vegetables cultivation is practiced by some farmer to a limited extent. However the land is owned mostly by the landlords and taken off communities. Landlessness among the Tribal in the target area is high. Cases of land alienation among Tribal is quite common despite legal prohibition. Most of the target community depends on Agriculture labour (Both men and women) for their livelihood.

    The Agriculture Wages Lean Season Peak Season
    Men Rs. 80/- to 100/- Rs.100/- to 120/-
    Women Rs. 50/- to 60/- Rs.60/- to 70/-

    The Agriculture wages in the target area relatively low when compared with the rates existing in the neighboring Krishna District, and Easy Godavari District which are at least 40% higher than the above rates. This is due to the fact that the landowners get the supply of labour from other districts (temporary migration).

    Other Occupations:
    Collection and selling of minor forest produce like Gum, Honey, Tamarind, Fuel Wood etc., is a major income generating activity for Tribal. The produce is sold to middlemen and in this way most of the Tribal are being exploited by non-tribal, sheep and Goat rearing are other Income Generating Activities at the house hold level by the communities. Tribal carrying a Sheep, Goat, or a Hen to sell or barter in the nearby market is a common sight. There are no other rural based industries in the area.
    The Primary Health Center (PHC) is located at a distance of more than 30 – 35 kms. From the target villages. The situation is worse for those living in the interior villages in the hilly and forest areas. The Tribal superstitions and customs complicate the delivery of health care, particularly to women and children, many pregnant women were died while carrying the Primary Health Centre. The diet is very poor with very low protein and vitamin component.
    Hill Tribal are chronic sufferers of water – borne diseases as they are not assured of potable water. Women have to trek long distances to fetch head loads of water. It is a pathetic sight when they walk through fields, putting to test their balancing skills. Most Tribal families are dependent on streams, rivulets and open wells for their daily water needs.
    Due to bad climate region, every year about 60-80 deaths from Infant to Adults between Augusts to November rainy session arise diseases like Malaria, Viral Fever, Diaries, Dengue, and Mosquito related, contaminated water from streams, Arrack in the deep – forest several other things will be caused directly for these deaths.
    Literacy Rate:
    Village Male Female
    Buttaigudem 26.70 9.80
    West Godavari 38.60 29.60
    Andhra Pradesh 56.24 33.71
    India 63.86 39.42

    Andhra Pradesh is the least literate among the 4 Southern States. Literacy in West Godavari District is lower than that in the state both for Male and Female. Literacy rate within Buttaigudem Mandal is lower than that in the District.

    People are mostly agricultural laborers. Infect Barter system is prevailing in some villages of this area. Target people are exploiting by the tradesmen, non-tribal and even some educated groups.

    Tribal people do PODU Cultivation. Because of their economical insufficiency, tribal go to work in non – tribal lands as agricultural laborers. The main crops cultivated in these lands are maize, chilies and other seasonal crops.
    Male agricultural laborers are paid Rs. 80/- while the female workers are paid Rs.50/- per day. For children it is much less. There duly wages are extremely not enough for livelihood and they cannot save even single N.P.
    They usually take loans from Tradesmen, Land Lords and from non-tribal at high interest rates, for performing festivals and meet the contingencies.
    They believe superstitions; follow traditional customs, which these habits are most dangerous to their livelihood. The follow “Koya Custom” and their main festivals are three” Pacchi Panduga, Amavasya Festival, and Bhoodevi Festival.
    1. Pacchi Panduga:
    This is nothing but worshipping of their Goddess in order to get her blessings. They usually harvest vegetables in their lands as alternative crops to Paddy and Chilly. They don’t use their vegetables, either for their homely purpose of for making, until their clergyman’s order. Community Clergyman declares ‘One Day’ as auspicious (Every Year) to perform this festival and which vegetables offer to Goddess as gift, in order to get her blessings. After this they enjoy whole day-by-day taking Alcohol and Non Vegetarian dishes.
    2. Amavasya Festival:
    This festival performs in summer, which is the season for Mangoes, Cashew nut and Toddy. Tribal do not consume these seasonal Fruits and toddy until the Clergyman orders.
    3. Bhoodevi Festival:
    This festival also performs is summer and for the festival Men Tribal go for hunting together, hunt some animals and celebrate the whole day taking Alcohol and non vegetarian dishes.
    1. Land Problems.
    2. Exploitation of Tribal by Non-Tribal.
    3. Deforestation.

    1. Land Problems:
    This major issue in tribal Villages. As you might be aware, as serious war between Tribal and Non Tribal’s is going on especially in Tribal areas of West Godavari District Buttaigudem, Jeelugumilli and Polavaram Mandals). Since most of the land (90%) at tribal area is enjoying by Non Tribal, the dispute raised between Tribal and Non Tribal. Infect, although the laws relating to protection of Tribal Land exist in Tribal area (1 of 70 Act and so on) 90% of land in this area is enjoying by Non Tribal because of the mistakes done by the forefathers of the present sold out by the forefathers of the present Tribal generation. But the Act which was introduced by Government for Tribal land protection in 1970 (1 of 70 Act) clearly reveals, that Tribal Land should be in the hands of Tribal only and no one is entitled to purchase this Tribal land existence) in some cases. So basing on this a severe war between Tribal and Non Tribal in going on.
    2. Exploitation of Tribal’s by Non-Tribal’s:
    As you might be aware that Tribal are being exploited by Non-Tribal in many ways. The following are the structural causes for exploitation by Non-Tribal.

    1. Illiteracy
    2. Lack of Knowledge on Governmental Programs
    3. Civilization
    4. Alcoholism
    5. Superstitions

    For instance, in general, tribal farmers take loans from Non Tribal for their Agricultural purpose in rainy season, due to their financial constraints. For each hundred rupees, they have to repay that amount with one Bag of harvested crop. For example, if the farmer produces the Red gram, with taken loan amount of Rs.500/- from Non Tribal, the Tribal Farmer has to repay the principle amount Rs. 500/- and 3 bags of Red gram as an interest after 3 months or 4 months (duration of the Crop is 3-4 months). If we calculate those 3 bags in rupees, it comes around 75% interests per month. In this way Tribal formers are being exploited by Non Tribal due to financial constraints.
    3. Deforestation:
    It is a known fact, that Tribal Traditional Agricultural practice is PODU or shifting Cultivation. Most of the forest in this tribal belt is deteriorated by this kind of traditional cultivation. To stop this kind of agricultural practice of tribal. AWARD Introduced Agro forestry Program on Hillocks where forest was defenestrated due to PODU Cultivation.
    To curb this problem AWARD has proposed the project to be implemented in 10 villages of tribal at west Godavari district through agro forest program to enhance the income levels of the target people.

    About Fifty five kilometers west of Rajahmundry town AWARD target villages are located. Rajahmundry town is one of the major towns in Andhra Pradesh, and the town is connected with rail. Bus and air ways from the capital of Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad). From Rajahmundry. It is about 55 Kms. to Koyyalagudem, where AWARD has its own field office. The targets villages of AWARD are surrounded by forest clad mountains, intersected by High way root along with villages are scattered. The remote villages of tribal’s of tribal’s are well known for koya custom in this tribal belt, and the villages are also surrounded by big hills in the area.
    Villages have its own system of village Government and its own court for settling disputes. Tribal’s in this region have their own language “Koya” which does not have script and has its syntax and vocabulary and it is not understood by any non – tribal and other than tribal’s. Tribal’s also speak Telugu the tribal dialect and use it in their dealing with non – tribal’s only Koya language is spoken in their village.
    Tribal house are recently built by the Government in brick pattern houses, after hitting of recent Godavari floods in 1996. Usually, the house is surrounded by Bottle gourd, Coconut and Drumstick, plants, outside of house is used as byre for cattle sheep and goats. There is only one caste in the village Tribal Community, Konda, Reddies, and some non-tribal are residing in less number say about three or four families.
    Tribal men take wives from their own community usually, but sometimes they wish to marry non-tribal, especially non tribal men rather than non-tribal women.
    Again the most interesting feature of the village is its political and judicial organization. The Headman/Clergyman of the Community is the Chief of judicial issues. The power of Government at these villages rests on the shoulders of Clergyman/Head man of the community and the Headman of the community is the supreme of the religious activities in these villages.
    Village meetings are held at the village elementary school in the centre of the village leader’s means community heads gather and sit in a group. The village “Talari” calls the villagers by using noise of drum and requests them to attend the village chavadi for meeting. All decisions and discussions would be taken place in full public hearing of the community. The public listens to the arguments or evidence in a case and hears how a decision has been reached. If the public agreed the opinion of Headman and decision will be firmly taken into action.
    Purpose of the Project:
    Target People: 100 Hill Tribal women (Thrift Group)
    Villages: 10 Upparilla, Munjuluru, Chintapalli Kannarappadi, Gennepalli, Geddepalli,Etalakota,Ravvavarigudem , Kopalli & Urinka
    Problem: Deforestation through Podu cultivation.
    Description of the Problem: Environmental Problem.
    As you might be aware that Tribal do “PODU” or shifting cultivation. This is nothing but deforestation of the forest. In fact, this kind of cultivation has been practiced by Tribal for the past centuries and it is a traditional cultivation. They will deforest ate the forest land according to their requirement and cultivate that piece of land for cash crops. After getting harvest from that land, they will go for another piece of land applying the same procedure, leaving the old piece as barren. Because of their traditional belief they won’t do cultivation in old one. In this way, entire forest in Buttaigudem Mandal has been deteriorated year by year, this is very harmful to the environment as well as it creates opportunity to frequent occurrence of floods, and lack of soil conservation measures. This project immense help for the climate change long – time, the life of the proposed Agro – Forestry Program not less than 100 years giving profitable yield to the women beneficiaries and this small help is enough for a Single mother to start Sustainable Agriculture and earn a regular income, helping her provide nutritious food, clean water, proper shelter and education for her children.
    S.No. Village Name No. of Families Total Population No. Acros Target Group
    Primitive Tribal Group
    1. Upparilla 186 297 10 (P.T.G)
    2. Munjuluru 156 216 10 (P.T.G)
    3. Chintapalli 248 398 10 (P.T.G)
    4. Urinka 226 285 10 (P.T.G)
    5. Kannarappadu 386 445 10 (P.T.G)
    6. Gennepalli 275 323 10 (P.T.G)
    7. Geddepalli 196 245 10 (P.T.G)
    8. Etakalakota 389 454 10 (P.T.G)
    9. Ravvavarigudem 487 523 10 (P.T.G)
    10. Kopalli 169 231 10 (P.T.G)
    TOTAL 2,718 3,417 100

    SlNo Name of the Plants Income per actor
    1 Mango 25,000
    2 Cashew 27,000
    3 Block Fruit 20,000
    4 Jack 18,000
    5 Red gram – Under Cultivation 5,000
    6 Black gram – Under Cultivation 4,000
    7 Samalu – Under Cultivation 3,600

    Block Fruits and Jack Plants are plantation around the fencing of each acro 20 plants 100×20=2000
    Village wise Total Plants for 100 across x 80 plants 100×80=8000
    TOTAL 10,000
    AWARD will supply 10,000 saplings to the women beneficiaries through the nursery rising by the women beneficiaries through women SHG concept for 100 across in hillocks
    We had in depth discussions with tribal women about this problem in various villages’ level meetings. Initially they were reluctant to take up this programme and finally 100 tribal Thrift group women have come forward on their own to implement this program on hillocks which are located at their village.
    Tribal woman have decided to implement this program on hillocks where PODU cultivation is taken place. The entire 100 acres of village community land was deforestated due to shifting cultivation. These patches are located in different places. The following plants are suggested by tribal women in this program. They were earned lot in this cultivation previously
    1. Mango
    2. Cashew
    3. Black Fruit
    4. Jack
    PROGRAM DESIGN: 100 Tribal women (Primitive tribe groups-PTG) will take up the 100 acres of Agro-Forestry Team’ which will be headed by President & Secretary those who are elected by 100 women. President & secretary will be responsible of maintenance of maintenance of records and accounts of the program and make efforts to implement the program more effectively. Agro-Forestry supervisor will give suggestions & guidance to the Agro- Forestry team President & Secretary and then they need their assistance.
    1. After 4 years Agro-Forestry Program will start giving yield to the women and out of this activity they will get income.
    2. Since they are getting income, they will not cut down the trees for their Podu cultivation.
    3. Inter crops like Red grams, Black grams and Samalu will also grow at this land and women will also get some income through promotion of Millets.
    4. Promote Social conservation measures
    GOAL: Convert 100 across of underutilized degraded land into productive land within a period of three years.
    • To convert 100 acres of underutilized degraded land into productive land within a period of two year.
    • To provide gainful employment to a good number of people connected with this program.
    • To Generate vide spread awareness regarding Hill – forest waste land development (Agro-Forest) and its objectives.
    • To involve local Target Community beneficiaries in it’s planning and decision making.
    • To assets the local organization in developing more effective models in planning, maintenance and protection of Environment through Agro-Forest Development.
    • To make the Hill tribal woman aware of their environment.
    • To make efforts to stop shifting cultivation or PODU cultivation.
    • To create supportive income for Hill Tribal women..
    • To Collective efforts/collective action promotion among the tribal women.
    • Model to the other nearby villages and ultimately support’s in reducing global warning.
    • Deforest ration by tribal’s will be reduced and in turn it will lead to environmental protection.
    • To reduction of PODU cultivation as well as shifting cultivation and cut down the trees.
    • To convert 100 acres of underutilized degraded land into productive land within a period of tow year.
    • To promotion of sustainable agriculture through Agro-Forestry programme.
    • To reduce the deforestation and in turn it lead to environmental protection.
    The total project beneficiaries are belongs to scheduled tribe community (P.T.G). They are living in hilly area which nearby hillocks. They are primitive tribe groups P.T.G. and they are called konda Reddy’s. These people are not yet developed, because they are in far away in root conveyance, these people are mainly depend upon PODU cultivation and shifting cultivation, has been practiced past centuries and it is a traditional cultivation. They will deforestation the village community land according to their requirement and cultivate that piece of land for cash crops. After getting harvest from that land, they will go for another piece of land applying the same procedure, leaving the old piece as barren. Because of their traditional belief they won’t do cultivation in old one. In this way, entire forest in Buttaigudem Mandal has been deteriorated year by year. In the same circumstances we proposed the Agro-Forestry Programme through this we can stop the deforestation.
    This proposed project will reduce the deforestation and in urn it leads to environmental protection. Reduction of podu cultivation and shifting cultivation and cut down the trees. Generate vide spread awareness regarding hill forest waste lands development (Agro-Forest) and its objectives. Generation of employment in unseasonal and create supportive income for the beneficiaries. To provide gainful employment to a food number of people connected with this programme. To convert 100 acres of underutilized degraded land into productive land within a period of 2 years.
    1. Supportive income to tribal woman apart from their daily wage
    2. Generation of employment in un season.
    3. Environmental protection, Community based mitigation and adaption in water resources, agriculture, and forestry and degraded land use productive land.
    4. Unity among tribal women.
    5. Collective action.
    6. Check the flash floods.

    Duration of the Project : 3 year

    13. Project Cost:
    S.No Item of Work Local Contribution Total Amount
    A. Program Cost :
    1 Community Agro-Forestry program
    • Land Development
    • Digging of Pits
    • Contour bunding
    • Seeding
    • Watering
    • Fencing
    • Follow up
    @Rs.25.000/-x100 acres (Local contribution will be in the form of Sramadan. Agro-Forestry team will make efforts to mobilize assistance from ITDA & THRIFT)


    2 Awareness Camps on Environment
    @Rs.15.000 x 4 camps — 60,000-00
    3 Training on Sangha Concept
    @Rs.200 x 100 members x 3 days — 60,000-00
    4 Training on Community Nursery raising
    @Rs.200 x 100 members x 5 days — 1,00,000-00
    5 Training on Agro-Forestry Concept
    @Rs. 200 x100 members x 5days — 1,00,000-00
    6 Formation of women sanghas (SHG)
    @Rs.60,000×6 sanghas — 60,000-00
    7 Consultancy for Resources Persons for Training@ Rs.4,000×13 days — 52,000-00
    B. Administrative Cost:
    8 Agro- Forestry Supervisors Salary
    @Rs.6.000x2x12 months — 1,44,000-00
    9 Village Animators Salary
    @Rs.4,000x4xAnimatorsx12 months — 1,92,000.00
    10 General Travel & Conveyance
    @rs.2.000x 12 months — 24,000-00
    11 Stationary, Postage & Communication
    @Rs.2.000×12 months — 24,000-00
    12 Audit expenditure — 15,000-00
    13 Preparation for end product
    (Final Report) — 15,000-00
    TOTAL 8,21,500-00 32,86,000-00

     Total Project Cost = 32,86,000-00
     Local Contribution 25% = 8, 21,500-00
     Grant Request from Donor = 24,64,500-00
    Keeping in view of the pouncing danger to Environment. We have submitted this project proposal to UNDP. As we mentioned in our project proposal. Shifting or Podu cultivation, a traditional practice of hill tribes is a major threat to environment, Due to this Podu cultivation entire forest in this belt has been deteriorating and vanishing, we had a series of meetings with tribal and come to a conclusion, that until and of traditional practice, Keeping in view of this point, we have introduced this Agro-Forestry Program on hillocks, (where tribal left the land on hills ) Agro-Forestry Program consists of Mango, Jack and Cashew type of fruit bearing plants. These plants will at least take 80 to 100 years to give yield to beneficiaries, As and when they start giving yield from this, they cannot cut down the trees, as they will get yearly income. In this way, somewhat, we can reduce the traditional cultivation of tribes, This program is therefore economically and environmentally viable and sustainable, In regard to social aspect, tribal will come together and collectively they can put their efforts for land development Digging, seeding and so on, Once collective efforts started, it will definitely lead to collective action which will help their co-villagers and their respective village development. As far as our understanding is concerned with regard to UNDP/GEF SGP India. It mostly supports the environmental development programs and sustainable deve3lopment program for minimizing Global Warming.
    15. Out comes:
    1. Deforest ration by tribal will be reduced and in turn it will lead to environmental protection.
    2. Woman tribal will get income Rs.25, 000 to 30,000/- Per acre every year after 4 years.
    3. Collective efforts will be generated.
    4. Environmental awareness among tribal women will be created.
    5. People will definitely start this kind of program me with much interest in years to come.
    6. Other nearby village’s exposure.

    COMMUNITY AGRO-FORESTRY PROGRAM: It is a successful program and to avoid the Podu & shifting cultivation of tribls. This program will be more useful for both, I.e,. Beneficiaries and friendly to environment. COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE ACTION: By this program, collective efforts/Action by tribal will be generated and this kind of efforts /Action will in turn put forward against to the social evils prevailing in the society.
    Total requested funds from DONOR WILL be released in two installments through Union Bank of India – Koyyalagudem Current Account No. 329501010011012. The second installment of funds will be released depend upon mid-term evaluation report (6 months) and performance of the program.
    To enhance community member’s participation in the consultancy it is relevant to increase their participation in both monitoring and assessment of the interventions. It is possible to identify active and energetic community members who can be trained and oriented towards their involvement in both regular monitoring and assessment of the activities. This brings transparency and increases interest in the projects. Tools like Participatory Rural Appraisal and pictorial charts can be utilized to increase their participation.
    The quarterly reports will be reporting to our Supervisor by village Agro-Forestry team. Our Programme Supervisor has sending those reports directly to the Executive Director of AWARD and again checks the reports according to the project guidelines will send to the DONOR agencies.
    1. Increase out comes the number of fruity yield plants in different variety
    2. Use the soil conservation measures.
    3. Reduction of Podu cultivation and shifting cultivation.
    4. Increase the knowledge in women about environmental awareness and keeping the soil conservation measures.
    5. Reduce deforestation and it leads to environmental protection, climate change Mitigation and Adaption
    6. Unity among tribal woman and collective effort generated

    AWARD is very careful about evaluation of programs. The future of the concerned Project and the lessons learns by the evaluation will be helpful in planning the future Projects. Quarterly evaluation will be conducted either by AWARD or Friendly Organization. Evaluator deputed by the DONOR Organization the records, files and monthly reports as well as field will be open for any interested person.

    DATE: 10/09/2016 P.venkateswara Rao
    Executive Director


    Hill Tribal Cultivation in these pieces Samalu, Red grams and Black grams which are their family maintenances, these crops will come in three months in Rainey season. Promotion of Millets in hillocks.

    Community based mitigation and adaption in water resource, agriculture, forestry and degraded land use productive land.
    We aims to identify initiatives related to conservation of water, land and forest resources reflecting mitigation and adaption goals aimed at increasing resilience of communities, to tackle challenges arising out of climate change.
    The global movement for tribal people’s rights. We help tribal peoples defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures.
    Environment and Climate Change
    While climate change and environmental degradation are global phenomena, poor people and poor countries are generally the most vulnerable. This is because they rely heavily on their environment for their basic needs, such as food, water and fuel. We support poor communities so they are better able to cope in the face of these growing challenges.
    Sustainable Development Goals
    The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 Goals, agreed by the world’s 193 countries in 2015. The Goals represent an ambitious plan to eradicate poverty, address environmental degradation and climate change, and build a more peaceful, fair and sustainable world. They succeed the Millennium Development Goals.
    • Human communities enjoy a sustaining relationship with the natural environment.
    • People who live and visit here are willing, enthusiastic stewards of the region’s natural resources and beauty.

    with regards

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    Darshil Panchal
    Managing Partner
    (+91) 96387-80377
    SK Engineers

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