Charda in Himachal needs help to restore forests and livelihoods


The People of Charda need your help to restore their forests and livelihoods… after nearly having lost it all.

Collecting Medicinal herbs for sale is the main source of cash for the people of high altitude areas of Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. The money is used mainly to clear the debt from the local trader/shopkeeper for provisions supplied during the year. These rare herbs are mostly root crops and it takes 3 years for the plants to mature from seed. The alpine forests of Churah region of the district have been severely depleted of these plants due to over extraction by the collectors. Now the needy collectors have to trek to far off Lahaul, across difficult passes, to bring back 30-40 Kgs of dried herbs. For some, it becomes the last journey they ever take.

Winds of change
Last year the people of Kut-Batoa village in the Charda Panchayat took up a pioneering endeavor to turn back the tide – they came together and reintroduced into their forests, medicinal herbs that were once found in abundance there. Through facilitation by Lok Vigyan Kendra (LVK) they have instituted mechanisms to ensure that the herbs would now be protected and harvested sustainably, thus providing livelihoods support for the future. Their last year’s plantation of herbs has shown good survival and promises a good harvest two years from now. Sensing the success, they now they want to enrich more of their forests with the rare herbs. Following their lead, people of the nearby village Mahua, intend to take up similar interventions in their own forests.

Once the villagers come to a consensus, all it takes to reintroduce herbs in forests is labour and planting material. While the villagers contribute with the labour, the planting material has to be bought against cash. This is an input for which the people of Charda panchayat are looking for outside support. They need a total of Rs. 45,000/- to buy seeds for plantations this season (Rs. 25,000 for Kut-Batoa and Rs. 20,000 for Mahua village). Since there is no other source available, this money is being raised exclusively through public donations. All donations are exempt from income tax under section 80G of the Income Tax Act.

How will your donation help
Every 50 Rupees donated by you would let the villagers plant 25 plantlets this year which in the long run shall help the people of Charda rejuvenate their forest wealth and regain a respectable means of local income. The success of this initiative would inspire many other villages to take up similar eco-restoration efforts. All donations, no matter how small, would make a difference and are welcome; please indicate if you would need a receipt for your payment. You can make the donations through :

a. Indian Postal Orders (IPOs) drawn in favour of The Secretary, Lok Vigyan Kendra, Palampur. You just need to go to the Post Office, buy them(check sale timings – usually sold till 3:30 PM), write the name, sign and send. Low on commission for small amounts.

b. Demand draft drawn in favour of Lok Vigyan Kendra and payable at Palampur.

c. Bank cheque favouring Lok Vigyan Kendra.

About LVK
Lok Vigyan Kendra(LVK) is a small NGO that works to promote hill specific livelihoods through supporting peoples’ initiatives in forest management and small producer enterprises. We believe that the people have the capacity to improve their living conditions given proper motivation, information and facilitation. Bringing together individuals in a disparate society and catalyzing processes for the good of the community and ecology is our primary modus operandi.

Chamba is amongst the 50 most backward districts of the country
The Churah valley is home to economically impoverished people, surviving mostly on agriculture, animal rearing and herb collection, who live in the backdrop of the stunning Pir Panjal mountain range of the middle Himalayas.

Please do not forget to write your name and address at the back of the draft/cheque

Please send your donations to:
Lok Vigyan Kendra
Chanakyapuri Colony
Ghuggar Nala Road
Himachal Pradesh. 176061
Tel: 098160-25246 (Rahul)
E-mail: lvk[AT]navrachna[DOT]org .

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