By Jitendra Singh Khangarot
The water problem in the villages close to Rajasthan’s Sariska forest emerged around a few decades back when villagers resorted to cutting of trees for livelihood. With this, what was once a dense forest gradually changed into a site for illegal mining. Besides destroying the natural beauty of the place, these activities also rendered the area water scarce with the water table dropping with each passing day.
Sehgal Foundation in collaboration with Coca Cola India Foundation is working in the area to improve the challenging environmental conditions by sensitizing people to conserve water and increase groundwater levels by installing water harvesting structures.
Villagers, including the members of Samra panchayat, came together for the cause. They gathered to organize Vriksh Raksha Yatra — a rally for creating awareness on protection and conservation of Mother Nature. The villagers took part in an awareness march from Hameerpur to Natata villages of Alwar, Rajasthan, during which they tied rakshasutra (safety band) on peepal (sacred fig) trees and took a pledge to save them. The group raised slogans to plant more trees and talked on the relationship between environment and mankind.
Chajuram, an active member of Village Development Committee, said, “If a community realizes what the problem is, it will take corrective measures. We need to plant more trees and impose a complete ban on cutting of trees. A penalty on cutting trees is also being considered, if someone goes beyond the ban.”