Dudhai, first village to get biodiversity award in the country

DEHRADUN: Nestled amidst picturesque mountains, Dudhai village of Dehradun district will be remembered as the first village to get the best Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) in the country. The award was given away by the union environment minister Prakash Javadekar in Mumbai on May 22 on International Biodiversity Day in the presence of members of United Nation Development Program.

Rakesh Shah, director Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board said, "BMC of Dudhai village has successfully curbed rampant mining activities, nipped forest fire in the bud and, also shared benefit over their bio-resouces over their commercial use. They are reinvesting the money in creating a herbal medicinal garden in the village. This BMC will also train other BMCs’ in implementing Bio Diversity Act".

According to Kishore Nautiyal, technical consultant, Board has to form 8000 BMC across the state, out of which 850 have been constituted so far. "In each gram panchayat BMC has to make a People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) which has details of all the species of flora and fauna as well places of cultural heritages in it with the help of technical consultant. We have prepared PBR for Dudhai which has 75 species of tree, 60 of medicinal plants, total 406 vegetation and 201 species of fauna," he said.

He further added that this register is a document which can be transferred to next generation for knowledge and, is also handy for legal procedures as well as springboard to deliberate upon any species for commercial gains.
Local gram panchayat who are members of BMC has been given supreme power. No outsider or even forest department can take away anything from the revenue or reserve forest, which come under the domain of BMC without their permission. The Act has been made so stringent that any offence has minimum six months of imprisonment and is non-bailable where bail can only be accessed from National Green Tribunal," he said.
The most challenging task was to control the mining in the village. Rajesh Mall, BMC head of Dudhai village said, "Due to rampant sand mining our agricultural fields, situated on the banks of seasonal river, were caving in. The entire village was unanimous in prohibiting mining so villagers fought it tooth and nail and, also took turns for night patrolling."
He said, in the first incident of forest fire, the villagers created forest line and did not let it spread out. They sensitized every one and did not let forest fire happen again. The BMC also permitted Oberai industrialist of Dehradun to start lemon grass farming on 20 bigha village land, on which they have begun getting Rs 1500 in a year. Mal said, their next target is to levy fee over big orchards which contractors are using for commercial purpose.
The villagers are so protective about their trees that Mal convinced the regional official of environment ministry to cut down the length of the road, which is to be build through the village from 20 to 3 km in order to save felling of trees for road building.

Source: Times of India, May 28, 2016.