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Komal Lochan Jani
A concerned villager, he mobilised his village Kursala in Kalahandi, Orissa, to overcome its persistant water shortage. The result is evident. The village, which used to face a drinking water scarcity in the month of January, now has adequate water for irrigation even in May and June.

Dawn arrived in Kursala in the early 1990s, when, appalled with the depleting water status and growing poverty and migration, an educated villager Komal Lochan Jani decided to take action. He knew the groundwater levels would improve only if rainwater is used for recharging. Jani has also heard that a good vegetative cover (including grasses and forests) facilitates the recharge process as this cover acts as a filtering medium. Thus, he started by mobilising the youth to work for the conservation of forests that were vanishing. Gradually, the people of Kursala took up his concern and initiative, and they worked together. Intensive plantation work (including fruit-bearing trees) was taken up. About 50 small ponds were built and sustainable water management practices were sacredly adopted. Kursala has not only broken the cycle of irregular rains, drought and migration but have recently handed over 492 acres of forest back to the state as well.

For details:

Komal Lochan Jani / Amrinder Kishore
The Indian National Trust for the Welfare of Tribals (INTWOT)
7/C - 7/230, Rohini,
New Delhi 110 085
Tel: 27046583, 27055172
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P. R. Mishra
Sukhomajri, Haryana
Parasu Ram Mishra
Parasu Ram Mishra, the man behind the Sukhomajri experiment, passed away on March 25, 2000 in Palamau, Jharkhand. He was 75.

A leading soil conservationist at the Soil and Water Training Institute, Chandigarh, Mishra spent most of his years converting Sukhomajri and other villages of Palamau from drought-prone poverty-stricken hamlets to self-sustainable units of prosperous economic activity.

When Mishra embarked on the Sukhomajri project in the early 1970s, the village was riddled with ecological problems. The land was sparsely vegetated and it could sustain only poor crops. Soil erosion caused heavy runoff and soil loss. Even though the region had an adequate 1,100 mm of rainfall, groundwater levels were low.

Mishra's intervention was to change all that. Today, Sukhomajri possesses a forest wealth estimated at Rs 90 crore.

The transformation of Sukhomajri from a barren land into a green belt was due to a model of sustainable development called the Chakriya Vikas Pranali (CVP) that was developed by Mishra himself.

The CVP's basic strategy is to make a one-time investment of cash, plants and technology and to convert it into a self-sustaining process of production and reinvestment from a common village fund. The investment in what Mishra calls a 'multi-tiered, multi-rooted, multi-layered' planting cycle guarantees year--round employment for all members of the village society ("students" in CVP terminology) and returns - in the short, medium and longer terms - from grass and vegetables, fruit trees, and timber respectively.

A typical block of 8 or 12 ha of pooled land is divided by water-retaining tie-ridges into smaller quadrants and literally filled with plants, intercropped to maximise the symbiotic relationships of nitrogen-fixing and nitrogen-hungry species. Yams and other tubers go underground, pulses, beans, fruits, bamboo and timber spring up from the earth, the different root systems carefully grown together to prevent overcrowding and to maximise use of groundwater at all levels.

For details:
Chakriya Vikas Foundation
AT & PO Barwadih

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Narayan Hazary
Kesharpur village, (Nayagarh) Orissa

Narayan Hazary is an ardent believer of the Panchayati Raj system. He advocates the concept of ‘village democracy’ in Kesharpur village. The list of his achievements is endless: He started a village-level school in 1954; he set up the Despran Madhusadan Library in 1957; he established Pragati Shishu Sangh, a children’s organisation; and from 1972 he spearheaded the Buddhagram Environmental Movement (BEM) to regenerate the forests. BEM was aimed at regenerating the green cover of the barren Binjagiri forest and Malati hills. The forest and the hill are finally regaining their cover. Meanwhile, Hazary teaches political science in Nagaland but remains the guiding force behind all activities in Kesharpur village.
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Ranjit Kumar Pattnaik
Agul, Orissa

Ranjit Kumar Pattnaik is a household name In Angul district of Orissa. In 1988. he went on a padyatra across 600 villages In Angul to raise awareness about the Importance of natural resources. Pattnaik established the Youth Association for Rural Reconstruction. Initially aimed at fighting against pollution of the Brahmani river by Industries. Pattnaik has also been Instrumental In forming village organisations to save forests and sanctuaries In the state.

for details:
Ranjit K Pattanaik
Department of Planning and Research
Youth Association for Rural reconstruction
P O Boinda
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