Indore: Shyama Sunder Paliwal too believes the real India lives in villages. Moved by this belief, he is touring the country and educating villagers on how to make villages a better place live in. Environmentalist Paliwal played a leading role in transforming Piplantri village in Rajsamand into a model village by kick-starting a practice of planting 111 trees on birth of every girl child.
The purpose of this initiative was to save girl child and increase green cover of the village at the same time. Today Piplinatri has more than 4 lakh trees, of which nearly 3.5 lakh are an outcome of the initiative undertaken in 2005. “These trees not only helped in increasing underground water level of the village but also generated employment in Piplinatri village itself,” Paliwal told reporters here.
The former sarpanch of Piplinatri was in the city on Monday to address a workshop organised by School of Economics, Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya. Sarpanchs from many gram panchayats attended the workshop. “We mostly plant elovera, mango, awala (gooseberry) and neem trees, products of which are high in demand in market. This led to increase in income of villagers. As our village has been declared as a model village, many tourists come to see it. Tourism provided employment to local villagers,” Paliwal said. Explaining 111 tree plantation programme, Paliwal stated that he had started this programme in the memory of his daughter Kiran, who died a few years ago.
“As many people of the village were reluctant to accept the girl child at that time, I came up with the initiative planting 111 trees every time a girl is born and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up. Rs 21,000 is collected from the village residents and Rs 10,000 from the girl’s parents and this sum of Rs 31,000 is made into a fixed deposit for the girl, with a maturity period of 20 years. As the trees are planted at the time of birth of the girl, she ties rakhi to the trees on her birthday considering them as her brothers.
“This practice is going on for past 12 years in our village where now average 60 girls are born every year,” he said. Paliwal said that the state government had directed all gram panchayats in Rajasthan to implement Piplantri model into their respective villages. Positive results have started coming out of 170 villages where this model is implemented.
Paliwal stated that the Madhya Pradesh should also implement Piplantri model but added that he observed that the state is not ready for it as of now. “Once, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan had visited Piplantri and appreciated our model for saving girl child and environment at the same time. She had said that he would be sending sarpanchas from her constituency to our village but nobody showed up,” he added.