Uttarakhand villagers to celebrate eco-Diwali for wildlife

Dehradun : In a rare show of goodwill gesture to the wild life, about two dozen villages along the periphery of the Rajaji National Park, have decided to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali this year and not burst loud crackers or light very illuminating firecrackers, as both are known to disturb the animals and put them in a state of panic.

Though the initiative for the eco-friendly Diwali was taken by the Park authorities, and initially they too felt that it was asking for a bit too much from the villagers, but they decided to go ahead and least have a get together with the villagers on the issue and decided to approach the matter differently, with the focus not on the festival but the wild life.

Park authorities said that they asked the villagers first not to fire rockets and other crackers that are highly illuminating and have sparks flying on the pretext that there were dangers of fire to the forests, which could of course spread to the adjoining villages.

The villagers agreed, saying that it was a fire hazard to the village itself and would be better to avoid such crackers.

Eco-friendly Diwali around Uttarakhand Wildlife Park

“We then thought of picking up the issue of crackers that make loud sounds, telling the villagers of the impact that it had on the wild life and the animals running here and there in panic or running for shelter. The focus was animals this time with the twist of why not just have ‘diyas’ (earthenware lamps) burning and make it an eco-friendly in a truly traditional way”, park wildlife wardens said.

Park authorities said that though it took some convincing, but the response from the first village they went to was very encouraging, and using them as the launch pad, they went to other villages.

“We were surprised that the villagers from the first village we had gone to joined us in convincing the other village and so the chain for an eco-friendly Diwali spread”, say the wildlife wardens.

They said that normally every year during Diwali there was a high alert in the Park for not only fire, but even poachers make the most of the occasion.

“The sound of a gun fire is often drowned or confused with the sound of burning crackers and the Park staff cannot even make out from which direction the sound had come as there are similar loud sounds all around and the poacher can make good their escape with the kill”, they pointed out.

Admitting that the wildlife would be much better off in the absence of the highly illuminating lights and loud sound of crackers, they said that it would not have been possible but for the cooperation of the villagers.

“We are really grateful to them in understanding the problem and willing to do away with the crackers for an eco-friendly Diwali”, the wardens maintained.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor (Uttarakhand) at Himachal Media. Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

3 Comments

  • Reply November 11, 2012

    Muktadhara Ray

    awesome. True heroes!

  • Reply November 11, 2012

    Asha Rawal

    wow great

  • Reply November 12, 2012

    Roni Kumar

    Inspiring people!

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