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Urban wetlands meet
CSE initiates a core committee

  

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Null and void?
A success story?
The flouride menace
 

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Lake in news
From the courtroom
To save this tal
Operation Baikal

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Stories from Dewas
Meerut meet
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Doosra dasak
Glimmer of hope
History rewritten
HLL harvests
Water soliders
The kiwi connection
Exploring Ahmednagar

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For my home....

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Bamboo-supari pits
Countering flouride
Techno tit bits

CSE'S LATEST DESIGNS

Meet the new harvesters!

JAL YODHA

T R Sureshchandra
Arun Mathur
Shivanajayya
K G Vyas

R Ramani

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Recharge maps
Bank loans for RWH
Harvesting in Nilgris
The Vengaivasal model

'Water wisdom' in schools

JAL BIRADARI

No to bore wells
Ghagara revived
Jal bhai, Jal bahen

NEWS FROM GUJARAT

Charting future
City's pride

CLASSROOM

FUNDING AGENCY

WATER  WISDOM

NEWS FROM ABROAD

WATER IN NEWS

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Vol. 4   

No. 5

October-November 2002

 

For my home...

7-face.jpg (5054 bytes)Bhupal Singh, a villager from Nahi Kalan, Raipur, Uttranchal, shares the story of his village's efforts of not only initiating a ban on limestone mining but also in sustaining a campaign to protect its forest and water. Since 1980s, the village has not faced any water-related problem. (For details: Bhupal Singh, Tel: 0135-659302)


Q: How did it all start in the 1980s?
A: There was a steady depletion in groundwater table due to limestone mining. The impact was reflected on the forests as well. The seasonal river Bidalna, was often running dry. But as villagers were getting work, few complained. It all started when the young people protested. But their queries were stonewalled by the mining contractor. He was just interested in his profits. So, we decided to fight for our land and rights. The support from Sunderlal Bhaugana and Chipko Andolan was encouraging. The Supreme Court order in late 1980s banned all the mining activities in the entire region.

Q: What was the result?
A: Mining stopped. The villagers' response was mixed. Some felt that they have lost an additional source of income. But most of them were happy. The awareness and contacts with the outside world improved - renewing our determination to protect the resources. Vividhara, a voluntary group of young people from the village is encouraged by Delhi-based volunteers from different backgrounds. Through this group we are able to voice our region's concern at different levels.

Q: What was your next move?
A:
The group decided to motivate villagers to protect the forests from fire and migratory goats, at the same time ensuring sustained use of the forest resources. In 1990s, for the first time in forty years, villagers came together to stop forest fires. The village women took a firm step and restricted the entry of goats in their forests.

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Hilltop johad (left), Main village water source (right)

Q: Why did forest conservation get priority over watershed conservation works?
A:
We took up issues on a priority basis. Protection of forests is essential. The region receives about 3,500 to 4,000 mm of rain, annually. The terrain is characterised by steep slopes. Dense forests are a pre-requisite for effective development of our water resources. Due to these works, the overall soil moisture and vegetative cover enhanced. We desilted four ponds and constructed three on the flat sloping hilltops. For more works, money was needed and it was not available.

Q: Nahi Kalan was included under the European Union's watershed project. How was the experience?
A: It was a missed opportunity. Due to lack of information, villagers treated it as a normal sarkari scheme providing short term employment. It was only when the project was winding up, we realised its significance. Then, with the help of a good officer, we got works done on the panchayat land and the main drinking water source of the village was secured.

Q: What are you doing to sustain these works?
A: This year when the entire state is under drought, our region has enough water to drink and irrigate. Annual income of the households has improved, inspite of the fact the change in cropping pattern -because it suits our environment. Organic farming is practiced. But due to lack of basic infrastructure like roads people are migrating. It is this problem that we want to address, now.


Copyright 2002 Centre for Science and Environment
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