PATNA: In a unique campaign aimed at protecting the fast-depleting green cover, authorities in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand have asked the tribal villagers to surrender their axes to avail the benefits of free LPG connection with cooking cylinders as well gas stoves.
The bizarre idea has been launched in the Dalma wildlife sanctuary in the east Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. The sanctuary is spread over in 193 square km.
“First surrender your axes before availing the LPG connections,” the local authorities have told the villagers.
However, the villagers are unwilling to give up their axes which they say are used not only to cut firewood but also as a protection from wild animals.
“Keeping axes at home are a must to protect from wild animals. Who will save us after we give up our axes?’ asked a village headman Pradeep Singh Deo. “Yet we will think of handing out our axes if the government gives us the free LPG connections first,” he added.
Authorities launched the scheme after finding the tribal villagers ruthlessly felling trees for cooking food and other purposes. As per reports, Jharkahd has been losing 10 percent of its green cover every year.
Villagers in the sanctuary have been chopping trees for the purposes of cooking. “It is a common practice underway since ages. But things would change drastically once the idea comes on the surface,” a local forest department official Chadramauli Kumar told the media today.
According to official, they have decided to provide a cooker to each women residing in the 85 villages of the sanctuary, apart from free LPG connection. More than 30,000 villagers stay in those 85 villages.
Majority of villagers come from Below Poverty Line. The government plans to target only those villagers under the plan but the villagers are yet to show interest in free LPG connections due to the unique condition attached with the scheme.
Story courtesy: GULF NEWS, DUBAI