‘Stand’ on Water
‘Stand’ on Water (Fight With Sand Mafia – Save The River)
Sand Mafia were destroying the river ecosystem in village Birolay and something needed to be done, and fast. Tanishka Forum members took the bold step to confront the sand cartel and by voicing their opinion in the local village council and taking help of Rural Development Officer, the women raised the whole village to stand against the environmental criminals. The rest is history.
Raising a voice against the sand cartels and saving the river ecosystem, in turn, saving their livelihoods, the agricultural output.
Since ages, civilizations have prospered on the banks of rivers. Rivers not only satiate the thirst of the populace, but also help with agriculture and industries. However, dredging rivers for sand has become a lucrative business. This business is carefully organized through cartels and is controlled by the most powerful people in the rural sector. These people are often thugs and illegal businessmen who try to dominate sand dredging at various sections of the river spread over different rural areas. Villages on the banks of such rivers fall into ruins as the river ecosystems are destroyed. The village of Birolay was one such village that relied heavily on the river for its livelihood option – agriculture.
Tanishka women from this village realized that the agricultural output was directly proportional to the health of the river and dredging it for sand was ruining the water quality and also killing the river. The ladies took a bold step of confronting the sand mafia, something that even the men in the village hadn’t had the guts to do. The women first voiced their opinion in front of the village council and sought public participation and support in fighting off the mighty environmental culprits. Then they approached the state government to extend support, which it did by appointing a Rural Development Officer who stood by them through this entire journey. This officer also made future plans with this forum to create bunds and store water in order to bring back the past glory of the village.
After a gutsy standoff, the women have won; they have stopped the sand trade from touching their village. The state government took notice of this initiative and have conferred an award of ‘Peaceful Conflict Resolution’ on this Tanishka Group.