Trilochan Punji

Trilochan Punji

Work area : Balangir district, Odisha

Trilochan Punji has been a SRUTI Fellow since 2013. He has been associated with movements such as Chasi Mulia Sangathan, Shramik Adhikar Manch and Lower SuktelBudi Anchal Sangram Parishad which have successfully claimed peasant, labour, tribal and dalit rights over natural resources and wage entitlements. This has established Punji Bhai as a focused and powerful grassroots worker. A practicing advocate, he organizes legal trainings; provides legal assistance to local communities and represents their issues at state and national level platforms. He was one of the founding members of the Gadhamardan Surakshya Action Committee and worked as its convener for 3 years.

Zindabad Sangathan was formed in 2000 and is now active in 269 villages of Balangir District with a vision of building a mass organization of vulnerable communities to enable their political assertion. Working in collaboration with state and national-level solidarity networks such as Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Campaign for Survival and Dignity, Pashchim Odisha Visthapan Pratirodh Samanwaya Samity and other like-minded groups and individuals.

Beyond his involvement in these movements, Trilochan has actively participated in the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in collaboration with local organizations in Nuapada, Bargarh, and Kalakandi. Despite the abundance of natural resources in these districts, they grapple with severe malnutrition, migration, and drought. Deforestation and soil erosion have exacerbated ecological imbalances, intensifying poverty and hunger in the region.

Trilochan’s commitment extends to unorganized labourers and migrant brick kiln workers, for whom he tirelessly works to secure social security protection and establish connections with various government programs. His efforts include establishing linkages with the Building and Other Construction Worker Welfare Board in Odisha. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he played a pivotal role in rescuing migrant labourers and facilitating their safe return to their villages.

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