- Jharkhand’s Khunti district has in the past decades seen a lot of deforestation and it resulted in huge damage to the environment despite a sizeable number of small and medium sized water bodies for crops.
- Ajay Sharma, the founder of NGO Sewa Welfare Society, started construction of innovative check dams in 2018 and two years down, they have managed to significantly solve the problem of water scarcity and also helped farmers to save water for their crops, helping at least 8,000 farmers across 70 villages in the district.
- The bori bandhs are a very simple concept. The contractors while providing cement often leave gunny bags and the same bags were reused after filling them with sand or soil and used to make embankments. They are usually made on small rivulets and other water bodies and are usually 30 feet wide wherein the gunny bags filled with sand and soil are put atop one another and adjacent to halt the flow of the water.
- The journey hasn’t been an easy one, started off with the hope of funding the cause at a mere Rs 2,000 slowly started catching on and Shama eventually managed to convince some of the locals to build 5 bori bandhs in the Tapkara block in the summer months of 2018. It helped to save rainwater during the monsoon and that inspired several other locals in the nearby villages to volunteer to do the same for their fields and local water bodies as well.
- The villagers built 118 dams in 2019 but last year due to the pandemic situation, they could only manage to build 40 bori bandhs.
- The stored water in bori bandhs helped for sustainable production and made farmers engaged in agriculture from being unemployed. The villagers have reaped immensely from the bori bandhs as after the first crop is harvested. Crop diversification made possible from traditional crops like paddy, wheat, mustard to grow more crops such as corn, watermelon and other vegetable produce.
- Union Jal Shakti Ministry identified Sharma’s efforts and facilitated him with an award of excellence and also earned rave reviews from the local district administration for his continued efforts to better the lives of the villagers.
74,011 total views, 149 views today