When residents of an area or community decide to band together for the environment, incredible things happen. In July, 100 newspaper hawkers formed the ‘Maa Shri Yamuna Seva Samiti’ and worked in unison to clean the waste dumped on the Yamuna river banks. Similarly, many people have joined hands to reforest their hometowns in Samastipur district of Bihar.
11,500 residents of the Harpur Bochaha village have successfully turned their flood and drought-stricken land into a lush, green oasis. They accomplished this by digging many ponds and building a 3 km canal to water the lands in addition to planting 17,000 fruit trees.
This initiative has improved the per capita income in the village from Rs. 552 to Rs. 1,664 and boosted the literacy rate from 46% in 2001 to 65% at present.
Panchayat head Prem Shankar Singh told News18, “Our village had been losing its trees very fast during to recurring floods and drought. When I first became the Panchayat head in 2001, there were a few trees left here. It was worse for the farmers who found it hard to cultivate as the village turned into a wasteland.”
The authorities have applauded the dedication and efforts of these villagers by felicitating them with a ‘Panchayat Empowerment‘ award. They’ve also been included in the shortlist for the ‘National Green Panchayat’ award.
NDTV quoted Ganga Sagar Singh, Block Development Officer of Vidyapati Nagar saying,
“The government cannot do everything. Public participation is essential for development. This Panchayat is proof that milestones can be achieved by taking the first step. The village has proved that nothing is impossible when people work together.”
We hope that this reforestation success story is emulated in all parts of the country and the dwindling green cover is restored to all its glory.