22 September, 2020

The Black Buck Stops Here

Villagers form the vanguard in revitalising India's natural resources

The Black Buck Stops Here
Drought-prone villages that now have surplus water, once-starving farming communities that today produce enough to export, barren hills now covered with verdant forests, rural stretches from which migration to urban centres has stopped. Wishful thinking or celluloid fantasy? Not quite.

Hiware Bazaar, near Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, started harvesting rainwater and revegetating the hills around it in the 1980s. Prior to this, it had to beg authorities to send water tankers in summer. Today, it provides clean drinking water to all its residents, and irrigates much of its agricultural land. All village children now attend school and health facilities have improved considerably. Several hundred villages in the Alwar district of Rajasthan have achieved water self-sufficiency and increasing agricultural stability through water harvesting structures promoted by the Tarun Bharat Sangh.

Marginal farmers (many of them Dalit women) in seventy-five villages in Zaheerabad area of Andhra Pradesh's Medak district had to migrate elsewhere for work....


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