Here’s an opportunity to help villagers in remote Himalayas of Himachal …… ..read on to support community initiative for change Project managed by: Lok Vigyan Kendra This initiative is supported by The Voice of Himachal
The people of Charda Panchayat, like lakhs of others in the hill state of Himachal, are dependent upon the collection and sale of wild herbs for their survival - for paying the village trader and moneylender
The natural herbs in their own vicinity disappeared years ago as neighbors competed with each other resulting in premature harvesting and over exploitation – another common problem across the state
But there is no other choice – with little agricultural land and few other opportunities, the poor are forced to seasonally migrate to Lahul valley, where itself the availability of herbs is diminishing rapidly
Now they trek over treacherous passes for 2 days to search for herbs in another valley – accidents are not uncommon and 2 persons have even died while ferrying their backloads
Two years back, the distressed villagers of the Kut-Batoa village with the help of Lok Vigyan Kendra (LVK – an NGO) started a unique initiative
For the past two years they have been replenishing their forests with herbs that once grew in abundance there and have formulated mechanisms to protect them
The ultimate goal is to establish sustainable practices while harvesting produce* for sale and to use a part of every produce to replenish newer areas to make the initiative self perpetuating in the long run
* The first harvest is expected in the year 2009
Buoyed by the initial success of the initiative in Kut-Batoa, two more villages, Mahua and Binola, are ready to start similar initiatives this year. We hope to expand this initiative to increasing number of villages every year
This is a part of a larger state wide effort to promote bio-diversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods through advocacy for facilitation of legally recognised village level institutions for the management of the forests
However, there are other immediate challenges that threaten to undo the livelihoods security and ecological balance of the hill state. Road construction is one of the most serious amongst them
Roads are being constructed in large numbers but the basic norms of construction are diluted resulting in bad quality roads and the debris being dumped over the lower slopes – destroying grasslands, forests, fields, livelihoods and swamping houses
Most of this damage is avoidable – if norms are adhered to. Roads are considered as lifelines by the people and political representatives – the reason for no outcry despite the trauma (and permanent damage) they cause. Officials often blame the damage after rains on ‘cloud-bursts’
We have been trying to highlight the damage done through research, public awareness, photo-documentation, RTI applications and the print media. There is a need to intensify these activities. An immediate goal is to investigate the numerous ‘cloudbursts’ that have happened recently and explore their connection with road construction
Currently, these programmes are entirely running on public donations/voluntary effort. We hope that with your support we shall be able to create a lasting impact. We appeal to all to contribute generously to this cause. All denominations matter.
Contributions to LVK are eligible for exemption under section 80 G of the Income Tax Act.
All donations, big or small, are welcome. You can make the donations through :
a. Indian Postal Orders (IPOs ) drawn in favour of The Secretary, Lok Vigyan Kendra, Palampur.
b. Demand draft drawn in favour of Lok Vigyan Kendra and payable at Palampur.
c. Bank cheque favouring Lok Vigyan Kendra.
Details of expenditure incurred and report of activities are sent to all contributors as a practice.
Please send your contributions to :
Lok Vigyan Kendra
C/o Dr. Charanjit Singh,
Ghuggar Chowki Road
Village Ghuggar, PO Palampur,
Himachal Pradesh. 176061
Tel: 098160-25246 (Rahul); 098160-89920 (Prakash)
Lok Vigyan Kendra is an NGO that works to promote hill specific livelihoods through supporting peoples' initiatives in forest management and small producer enterprises. We believe that the people have the capacity to improve their living conditions given proper motivation, information and facilitation. Bringing together individuals in a disparate society and catalyzing processes that let the people help themselves is our primary modus operandi.
Chamba is amongst the 50 most backward districts of the country.
The Charda panchayat is situated in the Churah valley, home to economically impoverished people, surviving mostly on agriculture, animal rearing and herb collection, who live in the backdrop of the stunning Pir Panjal mountain range of the middle Himalayas.