Saguna Vansauvardhan Tantra (SVT) is defined as, “It is a simple, low cost and effective technique which stops wildfires by converting the inflammable dry grass into organic manure and fixing of atmospheric carbon, promoting natural production of earthworms and soil aggregation, completely stopping soil erosion, there by initiating water infiltration, thus once again regenerating greenery and biodiversity on degraded lands”.
Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF) has undertaken responsibility to work on four hills near Neral to prevent forest fire and start greening of the hills during May 2018 to May 2019. By now almost 60% work is completed and hence a evolutionary one day workshop was invited for the experts and like minded NGOs in the presence of Dr Afroz Ahmad, Member (Environment & Rehabilitation) Narmada Control Authority.
We believe that this is a small beginning of a giant revolution of “Regeneration of degraded hills and mountains”.
Some of the key notes which were discussed and agreed upon by the group were:
- Shri Jeet Singh, PCCF (R&D wing), Maharashtra Forest Department, Pune congratulated both the SVT team and Neral Forest Department team for the work done so far and was very happy that the project he helped start has progressed in the right direction. He exhibited deep knowledge of the technique which was evident from the interactive session wherein he was able to provide answers to the queries put forth. We are very proud about our this partnership with the Maharashtra Forest Department.
- Some of the important facts which were put forth by Shri Jeet Singh was that around each year 30-40% forest catch fire in India and out of which 99% are man-made. He also confirmed that Maharashtra ranks 5th in India for forest fires. He also stated that Forest Land which the public neglects and treat it as ‘Stepson’, should be treated as their own. There are many initiatives taken by the Forest Department to curb these fires and SVT, he believes, is one of the important technique which will be successful.
- Anil Nivalkar presented the SVT model and also the SVT team’s impressive research and work done so far. The most striking fact we were proud to present was our team of 10 SVT Sevaks in two months were able to plant 40,000 plants over 23 kms of difficult terrain and conditions. The ease of the technique was confirmed by Mr. Parshuram Agivale (tribal SRT Farmer and SVT Sevak) who stated that the contour created by Glyphosate helped them to plant with speed (as the work is time sensitive) and efficiently. Similarly, the plants selected for the model were appreciated by everyone, especially the multi beneficial ‘Karvanda’ which according to Mr. Parshuram Agivale, within three years will automatically create the right environment for the forest to grow on these hills.
- Glyphosate was also an important topic discussed during the program, as few people had reservation about use of chemicals. Mr. Shekhar Bhadsavle stressed again that this age-old weedicide is one of the safest and widely used chemical in the world. On his farm this weedicide has been used 3 times in a year for more than 12 years without any negative effects. Mr. Navinchandra Borhade (Agriculture Department) also reiterated the same fact but also added Tobacco and Alcohol which are consumed regularly by vast population are confirmed to cause cancer as well numerous other diseases and are not banned. Glyphosate which has not been confirmed by any worldwide scientific bodies to cause cancer and which is used by farmer only 3 times in a year has been target unduly.
- Dr Afroz Ahmed, Shri Ajit Narde and Shri Jeet Singh also reminded that Glyphosate once the chemical touches the soil it disintegrates and loses its effectiveness. Similarly, it is a systemic weedicide which affects the enzymes only present in plants and as such have no effect on humans or any other organism. Shri Ajit Narde also confirmed that there are lot of lobbies which are pressurising the government bodies in this whole negative propaganda and the fact that fear can be easily sold to people. However, we as a knowledgeable community should stand up and rise above this negativity and make an informed decision on this issue.
- Felicitation of Mr. Parshuram Agivale and his team as well as local forest workers was done for their hard work and determination to complete this very important task within the timeline of the project.
- Motivation of various organisation to take up SVT around their respective areas. Mr. Shekhar Gaikwad stated that he had to use grass cutter over 50 hectares of land to avoid forest fire and he believes that SVT model will make his work simpler as well more effective. Present NGOs also stated that they would take up the work in Pune area to prevent forest fires.
- Afroz Ahmed (Environmentalist and Member, Narmada Control Authority) stressed on the fact that mountains / hills are cradle of life and we in India are blessed with huge ranges on all sides. Today, these life givers are suffering due to human intervention such as forest fires and they need to be saved for human life to exist. As such, it is important to preserve and protect them and the work done through SVT is the right step towards it.
- Afroz Ahmed also stated that there is a need for a separate university for Mountains and Streams so that more research and study can be done. He and Shri Jeet Singh also stressed on the need for the SVT team to document all the data and information which can then be used for validation as well as for future studies.
- Good news to come up was Dr. Afroz Ahmad has pledged that he will also recommend to the Maharashtra Forest Department that SVT model to be implemented at Brahmagiri at Trimbakeshwar, Nashik. He also promised to spread SRT and SVT technique to environment department and all around his known circle and wished that SRT and SVT will be implemented to all states of India.
- Live demonstration for all the key features of SVT was done on the field visit at hill no. 1 at Neral. The invitees got first hand view of the actual work and they all were very impressed by it.
|Dr Afroz Ahmad||Narmada Control Authority (Environment & Rehabilatation)|
|2.||Shri. Jeet Singh||PCCF (R&D), Pune|
|3.||Shri Niranjan Deshpande||KISAN, Pune|
|4.||Shri Pralhad Deshpande||Rama Purushottam Foundation, Pune|
|5.||Shri Shekhar Gaikwad||Aapal Paryavarna Sanstha, Nashik|
|6.||Shri Atul Deshmukh||Unik Poly Nashik|
|7.||Shri Rajkumar Korde||Excel Industry and VRTI, Roha|
|8.||Dr Sugandha Shettye||Somayya Institute|
|9.||Shri Ajit Narde||Shetkari Sanghatana, Pune|
|10.||Shri Mahesh Londhe||Vanrai, Pune|
|11.||Shri Raghunath Dhole &
Shri Dhananjay Shedbale
|Devarai Foundation, Pune|
|12.||Dr Vivek Bhartiya||Thakur Institute, Mumbai|
|13.||Shri Santosh Perane||Raigad Press club, Neral|
|14.||Miss Rasika Phatak||Press reporter, Khopoli-Pali|
|15.||Prof. Manoj Deshmukh||Sabusiddik college, Mumbai|
|16.||Shri Navin Borhade||Agriculture department, Pune|
|17.||Shri N D Rathod||RFO, Forest dept Neral|
With warm regards,
Founder and Managing Trustee,
Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) and Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF)