Uttarkhandis take to yatras to spread awareness

Dehradun: Environment and the rights of the hill people may be a burning issue, but two organisations here, Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO) and the Akhil Bharatiya Sarvodaya Mandal feel that more immediate is the need for highlighting the issue of jal (water), jungle (forests) and jameen (land).

And both the organizations intending bringing awareness about this to the farmers and other stake holders involve

Green Clean UttarakhandThe Sarvodaya Mandal intends taking out a ‘Rashtriya Swaraj Abhiyan Yatra’ from the city on Nov 20, which will culminate at Rajghat in Delhi on Dec 9. The members participating in the yatra will also undertake a 48-hour fast at Rajghat.

HESCO on the other hand intends taking a lengthier ‘cycle yatra’ from Jalpaiguri in Bengal to the city here.

The ‘cycle yatra’, which will also start on Nov 20, will pass through 50 districts and seven states before culminating at the Uttarakhand capital in the last week of December.

The areas of focus are the fact that in the last decade over 1.80 crore hectares of agricultural land have been diverted for construction of express highways, special economic zones, dams, hydro-electric projects, industrial areas and the spread of various cities, where  residential localities have now come up.

The rivers and streams of the country, which till a decade back were signs of prosperity for villages and its residents and also the hub of many cultural happenings, have not become a source for earning more money for the rich, as they pur up power and other projects on the rivers and streams.

There are also claims that a lot of psychological pressure is being put on the farmers, which is forcing them to think in terms that agriculture is no longer a sustainable, leave aside prosperous proposal, which is forcing them to sell their land.

President of the Sarvodaya Mandal, Uttarakhand, Sureshbhai claims that the ‘abhiyan yatra’ is to make the farmers aware of the fact that agriculture can still be a viable vocation and to put pressure on the union government to do away with such policies which will help the capitalists exploit the natural sources of the country at the cast of the farmers.

Padam Shri, Anil Joshi said that the deteriorating conditions of land, forests, water and agriculture resources in the country is a matter of concern.

“Even farmers are abandoning agriculture for other trades, which is a dangerous trend for the country in the long run”, said Joshi.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). 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.

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