When Basanti Devi entered the village of Bachwadi in Uttarakhand’s Takula block on one of her routine visits, she knew that something was wrong. Instead of the normal hustle, groups of men stood about talking quietly. She asked them what the matter was.

Basanti and the Gram Panchayat
Basanti Devi was on a  secure enough footing with the men of the village to ask them what was troubling them. After all, for the last five years she had been visiting them regularly. Her visits enabled the creation of women’s groups, helped them open bank accounts and generally allowed them access to a better, more dignified life. Inspired by her, the women of the five villages in that gram panchayat had pledged to protect their forest and stringently applied measures to minimise lopping. As a result of this, today the once-degraded forest was coming back to life. This  also resurrected the once-diminished stream that issued from the forest. If this were not enough, Basanti-di’s entire life and her long association with the Lakshmi Ashram were proof that she could be relied upon. Read more..

Courtesy: India Water Portal

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