Kolkata- At a time when West Bengal is hitting the nationwide headlines for all of the fallacious causes, there may be at the very least one space the place the state has been acclaimed nationally as a mannequin. And that space is minimising the impression of more and more frequent and premature cyclonic storms in coastal areas.
Besides being accepted because the nationwide mannequin for systematic and scientific mangrove plantation to cut back the impression of cyclonic storms on coastlines, this challenge adopted in Sunderbans space scattered over the South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal has additionally grow to be an exemplary instance of girls empowerment.
In July this 12 months, the ‘Sunderbans model’ was accepted nationally by the Union Government as an Rs 200 crore challenge named ‘Mishti.’ Now, in depth and systematic mangrove plantation will probably be achieved on the Indian shoreline proper from Gujarat to Odisha to minimise the impression of cyclonic storms.
At the identical time, the spirit of girls empowerment that was adopted within the ‘Sunderbans model’ can be being replicated within the nationwide mannequin of ‘Mishti’ the place women-dominated Self-Help Groups (SHGs) will probably be entrusted with the duty of plantation and upkeep of mangroves alongside the coastlines.
Encouragingly, six coastal states specifically Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Kerala individually approached the West Bengal forest division by the top of final 12 months to buy 9 forms of mangrove seeds for his or her states.
A workforce of consultants from West Bengal additionally visited these six coastal states to coach their counterparts there on the plantation, nurturing and upkeep of the mangrove saplings.
According to consultants, the speciality of the mangrove plantation are the stilt roots that develop from the stem nodes and be part of the soil substratum, therefore offering mechanical help even to weaker stems. That is why the mangroves are in a greater place to bear the impression of cyclonic storms and don’t get simply uprooted.
Though the West Bengal Government and the ruling Trinamool Congress have taken the credit score for the ‘Sunderbans model’ being adopted nationally, nevertheless, the beneficiaries give the true credit score to a gaggle of environmental activists.
The protectionists, underneath the aegis of the Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS) began a mission in 2007 to realize everlasting and concrete safety from the ravages of cyclones.
The initiative began underneath the banner of ‘Project Green warriors’ concerned girls from three villages within the Sunderbans space in South 25 Parganas, specifically Dulki-Sonagaon, Amlamethi and Mathurakhand.
Before the start of the challenge, though the state forest division practiced mangrove forestation in July yearly, nothing remained by winter for the reason that plantation was monoculture in nature.
Lack of monitoring was additionally a purpose for the fast wiping out of the plantation undertaken by the state forest division earlier than 2007.
However, after ‘Project Green Warriors’ began in West Bengal involving 150 village girls, there was a change within the method in direction of systematic mangrove plantation as a long-term resistance instrument in opposition to cyclonic storms.
The volunteers of NEWS together with the 150 SHG girls began educating the native individuals to keep away from sure practices like cattle grazing within the mangrove plantations or fishing net-dragging that had been uprooting the crops and resulting in soil erosion. This in depth and parallel train resulted in a great yield between 2008 and 2009.
The constructive impression of the challenge on Sunderbans was felt in May 2009 throughout Cyclone Aila. Its tail touched Sunderbans earlier than it moved on to Bangladesh. While the remainder of the Sunderbans was severely affected by Cyclone Aila, the patches of land the place the mangrove forestation was achieved underneath the challenge was completely untouched.
That was an eye-opener for everybody, and NEWS began mobilising funds, doing risk-mapping and between 2010 and 2015 over 18, 000 native girls had been concerned within the challenge.
Over 4, 600 hectares of land scattered over 183 villages in 14 neighborhood growth blocks within the Sunderbans areas was introduced underneath large-scale mangrove forestation.
Later, mangrove plantation was additionally included within the 100-day job challenge underneath the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, guaranteeing that the safety of the coastlines continued unabated.