Bachagaon goes green again

Bachagaon goes green again

 The Bachagaon village forest committee has become a model to other VFCs by providing firewood to villagers and also converting land into an acacia  plantation.
In an experiment, the VFC has developed acacia plantations in the region, but in the future, the committee hopes to plant valuable species, which can help sustain resources in the region.

Bachagaon is a tiny village in Sirsi taluk (Uttara Kannada district) and has 88 hectares of forest land, out of which 60 acres of land had been encroached. Realising the importance of trees, the villagers formed a committee to conserve forest land. The committee, which comprised 30 members in 1995, has now gone on to greater strengths, with a membership of 200 people, belonging to 180 families of Bachagaon, Hittalagadde, Basalekoppa, Arekoppa, Hosakoppa and surrounding villages.

The villagers planted 80,000 acacia plants on the 88 hectares of land, which have now grown into big trees.

The committee had tendered 28 acres of plantation for thinning (which was fit for cutting) to the Mysore Paper Mill at Bhadravathi. 

As per the agreement, the tendered company should cut the tree four feet above the ground. Also, only twigs and branches which are less than 15cm of diameter should be handed over to the company, the agreement points out. Consequently, the villagers get enough fire wood and the VFC provides timber free of cost to villagers. The only condition laid by the VFC was that villagers had to collect firewood on the day decided by the committee.

The VFC had decided to plant acacia so as to control forest theft. But later it realised that the plantation created a problem of fodder for the cattle because grass didn’t come up in the acacia plantation. The VFC has therefore planned to plant valuable varieties such as cashew, jackfruit, tamarind, mango and the like across 28 hectares which would be congenial to the growth of fodder. “The forest was a paradise for thieves.

We protected the plantation by way of constant vigil. Our forest land is free from theft now. Because the village has many poor families, we provided wood for construction free of cost which controlled theft. In the beginning, the VFC didn’t expect any income but to the joy of villagers we got Rs 4.5 lakh by selling trees in the first phase. The income would be spent towards the uplift of the village,” explains VFC President Ibrahim Nabi Sab. The villagers laud the president who has been instrumental in the protection of the plantation. 

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