Dadhutoli Lok Vikas Sansthan
Ufrakhal, Paudi Garhwal, Uttranchal
Ufrakhal village, located in the midst of Chamoli and
Almora region, was once considered one of the most backward areas in India. Today, it is
completely transformed. The person responsible for this change is Sachidanand Bharti. He
started first by mobilising women to conserve forests. Then, his task became simple, as
the villagers began to understand the need to conserve water, land and forest togther in
an integrated manner.
Initial setbacks like, dying of the saplings instigated Bharti to find a solution.
After discussions with the villagers, it was decided to dig small pits near the newly
planted saplings to collect enough water during monsoon. The idea clicked. Today, the
trees of Baas, Kaafal, Amaat, Chir, Awala amongst many other species are the most precious
jewels of this forest. Next, he encouraged the villagers to dig 1,500 small pits (Jal
Tarais) in the forests of Gaadkhark. The impact was immediate and evidently inspiring.
Today, a number a small nallahs (drains) have become perennial, which culminate
into a big nallah known as Gaadganga.
Sachidanand Bharti is a media shy person, who is working selflessly for the community
and nature. The works are carried out without any external financial assistance. By simply
mobilising what the community has to, or is willing to offer, Bharti has motivated even
the local postmen to deliver the message of conservation and prosperity. Anupam Mishra
from Gandhi Peace Foundation is his inspiration.
The Shri Ram School
D 3 Street, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 57
Head of the Environment and Value Education Department of
Shri Ram School in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, Madhu Bhatnagar, has developed a student force
to protect the environment. Known as Green Brigade, this club has been on the
forefront of various campaigns like anti plastic drive, anti cracker drive, fighting for
banning the mongoose hair for the paintbrush and promoting rainwater harvesting.
"Catch 'em young" is what she believes in i.e., empowering the
students to spread awareness amongst families and society. She adds, "The most
intractable environmental problem marches towards a solution when everyday people get
Under her command the school has implemented rainwater harvesting system in the
complex. The roofwater is diverted through pipes to a recharge bore well. The works were
completed in May 2000, and are yielding rich dividends. In the year 2002 the groundwater
table has registered a rise by almost four meters. The quality of the water has also shown
considerable improvement. It is also one of CSEs five model projects.
The school is actively involved in spreading the awareness around. "We have plans
to assist similar projects in municipal schools and in the ridge area, just behind our
school", proudly disclosed Bhatnagar. And, for this purpose, she has also approached
the chief minister of Delhi, Sheila Dixit, to provide funds under the states
Naullahs of Kumaon
With the advent of piped water supply, naullahs, a
traditional water harvesting system of Kumaon, Uttranchal, vanished from the lives of the
local people. But the unpredictability of this modern-day facility has driven them back to
their time-tested water wisdom.
In the Himalayan region, the nature of the water harvesting structures varies with
water availability. Naullahs are primarily found in the most water scarce regions.
They are not only well-known for their water holding capacity but for the beautiful stone
carvings on the pillars and walls of the structure, as well.
Naullahs are baoli (step wells) like structures located in the
downstream. Used for domestic purposes, the structure is narrow from the base and widens
as one reaches the top. It is enclosed from two or three sides. The entire structure is
made of stones - in such a manner that the percolating water could easily seep in and get
collected. Many a times, when the source of water source is far away, channels are made to
bring it in. The naullah construction requires specific knowledge and experience.
Any unplanned tempering could lead to complete collapse as is visible at many places in
Almora. An attempt to modernise destroyed these structures.
Generally, a mandir (place of worship) and chabutras (place to sit) are
built around the naullahs. As per the customs, newly wedded couple first visit the naullah
to pray for prosperity. The practice of planting trees like pipal and badh
is also common ensuring a green belt around the structure.
Pahar, Parikrama Talla Dhoda,