By Jitendra Singh Khangarot
The water problem in the villages close to Rajasthan’s Sariska forest emerged around 2-3 decades back when the increasing population of villages started cutting trees for livelihood. The dense forest of one-time has changed to site for illegal mining and cutting of trees. Besides destroying the natural beauty of the place, the man-made activities have rendered it water scarce. The water table in the region is falling with every passing day.
Jaldhara team of Sehgal Foundation is working tirelessly in the area to improve the challenging environmental conditions. The not-for-profit organization, in collaboration with Coca Cola India Foundation, sensitizes people and motivates them to conserve water. Another objective of the foundation’s work is to increase groundwater levels.
Few village intellectuals are also concerned about the falling water levels. Together with them, Sehgal Foundation has organized a devoted Vriksha Sarakshan Yatra, a rally for creating awareness on protection and conservation of Mother Nature. Along with Sehgal Foundation members and village leaders, some Samra Panchayat residents also took part in the rally. The participants of the rally marched from Hameerpur to Natata villages of Alwar after tying rakshasutra on peepul trees and taking pledge to save tree.
The objective of rally was to pass a message—Not to cut tree but plant more.
The rally went through 6 villages in Samra Panchayat. The participants of the rally met villagers, including farmers, laborers, students and teachers, and discussed the problems caused by illegal mining and cutting of trees. They sang songs, hailed slogan, and held discussions to spread the message.
Audience was enthralled looking at the energies and commitment of participants. The folk songs about the problems of environment were enjoyed by many. At the heart of discussions is the relationship between environment and humanity.
Mr. Chajuram, an active member of Village Development Committee (VDC) said, “If community realizes that there is a problem in the village, the committee will try to alleviate it by taking corrective measures. We would plant more trees and impose a complete ban on tree cutting. A penalty on cutting trees can be considered, if someone goes beyond the ban.”
Participants were warmly welcomed in all the villages and arrangements of refreshments were made. Several platforms were created for participants to discuss the issues with villagers and address them. In Samra and Natata villages, local teachers arranged a school meeting with approximately 800 students. The participants discussed the importance of trees with students, who were keen to hear about environmental issues. All students took pledge to protect trees and to spread message to save tree in their village.