Located in the foothills of the Aravalli, Alshigad village in Udaipur district of Rajasthan has been subjected to continuous deforestation and soil erosion for a long time. It was in the wake of this situation that the concerned villagers decided to act on it. Soon, they were joined by their brethren who had migrated to the cities but had returned to the village following the lockdown.
Motivated by Goonj and our partner organization, 120 locals worked under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ initiative towards the digging of 80 trenches. Though the area had a reservoir, due to the presence of predators in the water, they were forced to depend on other water sources to meet their needs. For them, the underlying idea of making trenches was to collect the rainwater to meet their agricultural needs and to also recharge the village groundwater system.
The enthusiastic group also went into the digging of 171 holes for the plantation of saplings of local variants of trees. An excited Basati Lal said, “These saplings are like our kids. And until they grow big, it is our responsibility to take care of them like our own children.” For the locals, this will solve the problem of soil erosion apart from preventing the eroded soil from settling at the bottom of the reservoir of the nearby dam. Moreover, such a step will not only ensure the protection of the local variants of trees like neem, mango, lemon, sitafal, but will also have a favourable impact on the livelihoods of the villagers. In the words of another participant, Bhimraj, “We are farmers and this earth is our mother and for a long time, our mother earth was without proper clothes. Today, we are extremely happy to have planted these trees.”
Story teller – Dheeraj Sharma; Partner organisation – Pukaar Foundation, Udaipur