From the Beneficiaries: Testimony from Kharota for the HP-FES Project

22 Sep, 2020

By Balvinder Singh, President, Village Forest Management Society, Kharota

“We look forward to successful bamboo plantation and less water scarcity in the area through the project activities”

Place: Kharota, Kunihar Forest Division, District Solan, Himachal Pradesh

Local communities residing in Kharota (known as Bhanjra community) have been dependent on bamboo since a long time. Their ancestors have been weaving bamboo baskets and selling them. Presently, these community members cut and collect bamboo from nearby forest areas as per the prevailing forest department’s settlement rights. However, the residents do not have the right to sell bamboo stick bundles. Since the cash return from selling baskets is very low as compared to the effort made to prepare them, the young residents have gradually shifted from making these baskets to working in companies nearby to earn a better livelihood. According to Mr. Balvinder, “One person can make 2 bundles of vegetable bamboo baskets in a day and earn only 100-120/- INR (1.2-1.45 Euro) by selling them. One bundle consists of 32 pieces and the rate per basket costs 3-4/- INR (0.036-0.048 Euro), which is a small amount compared to the effort that we put in”.

Photo Credits: Shubham Sharma, Forest Guard, Kharota beat

Photo Credits: Shubham Sharma, Forest Guard, Kharota beat

Kharota, is one of the demonstration sites of the Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Services (HP-FES) Project, which is implemented by GIZ, in collaboration with the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department (HPFD), on behalf of the BMZ. It lies in Undemarcated Protected Forest (UPF) in Kharota beat of Surajpur forest block, Kuthar Range and Kunihar Forest Division in district Solan. The vision for the HP-FES project period is to plan and implement soil and water conservation activities, to set up baseline information and systems for measuring springs/rivulets and pond water flows, plantation of multi-purpose fodder yielding broad leaved species, protection of plantation against grazing and fire maintaining the fire line. Degraded and denuded areas are being brought under regeneration and plantation. Rules for protection and usufruct sharing should be followed along with strengthening the capacities of Village Forest Management Society (VFMS). One of the major project activities being implemented by HPFD through VFMS at this site is, afforestation of 1-hectare bamboo plantation and 3 hectares plantation of broad-leaved species in UPF Kharota. These areas are protected by barbed wire fencing and RCC fence posts. The community members should watch and ward the plantation for at least 5 years, for their successful establishment. Another important intervention being carried out is soil and water conservation which is intended to conserve and recharge water to be utilised down streams for irrigating fields. This can enhance crop production in the area and help in reducing water scarcity, which is faced extensively by the local people, especially during dry seasons.

“According to the prevailing conditions and interaction with the user group, it will be beneficial if there is a provision in the Participatory Forest Management (PFM) rules of giving rights to the registered VFMS for extracting and selling bamboo clumps from the plantation areas in open markets to get good returns. The user groups will be encouraged to raise and protect more bamboo plantation and get better income generation opportunities. It will also encourage the young Bhanjras to revive the old nature-based practices and focus on Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) by enhancing good stock of local bamboo plantation to get raw materials sustainably”, stated Mr. Satish Negi, Divisional Forest Officer, Kunihar

About the project: The Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Services (HP-FES) project aims to integrate the Forest Ecosystem Services approach into the state forest management of Himachal Pradesh. Capacity development initiatives are taken up by the project to improve forest-based livelihood options for the communities residing in the project areas of the state. Kharota is one of the 9 selected project sites. Read More

©GIZ/Aashima Negi


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