village A rural organisation breathes
life into the listless people
Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Briksha Mitra Sangha
a rural voluntary
The Bangladesh war in 1971 destroyed the forests around Melaghar village.
A large number of refugees from across the border took shelter in
the forests. Population pressure on land increased. There were more
agricultural labourers than needed. There was wanton felling of the
then abundant sal, teak and bamboo forests. Within a decade there
was not a tree in sight.
Subodh Sur, a young graduate, formed a group of 15 youths in his home
village Rudijala in Melaghar block and started spreading environmental
awareness among the people. From 1984 onwards, informal meetings and
discussions were held. Finally, in November 1987, the Acharya Jagdish
Chandra Bose Briksha Mitra Sangha (BBMS) was formed.
The BBMS encouraged the plantation of trees in private lands. BBMS
also planted bamboo saplings in a makeshift nursery. In the early
1990s, the Tripura government adopted the joint forest management
(JFM) programme. In association with the BBMS, the forest department
launched the pilot JFM project in 1991-92. It started with 135 families.
"Today, we have some 340 families involved in the project,"
A total of 13,000 ha of land has been afforested so far. The groundwater
level has also risen. BBMS has also established a school in Melaghar,
where youth from all over Tripura are taught the basics of JFM and
how it can be replicated elsewhere.
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