A Futile Plantation Drive in Ramgarh, Jharkhand

Community Correspondent Mohan Bhuiyan has been living in Ramgarh District all his life and has seen first hand the wreckage caused by the open cast mines surrounding his village, Rabodh. Each of his videos documents a different facet of the affect of mining on the locals. Central Coalmines Limited and Tata have been planting trees in the area in an effort to add some greenery to the otherwise black landscape. The Eucalyptus, Babool and Acacia trees being planted are of no use to the villagers. They can’t use any part of the tree for food, medicinal purposes or to feed their cattle. In fact Babool saps all nutrients from the land it grows in. “When we went to the officials some time ago to talk about this, they told us that they would plant whatever trees they want on their land,” says Mohan. “We see a lot of people proclaiming the benefits of eating fruits. If we don’t have fruits, how will we eat them? Why don’t the Tata and CCL people plant trees like Mango and Jackfruit which we can also use?” A lot of the people in the village have traditionally depended on Sal trees that grow in the forest nearby. They sell the branches, which are used by people to brush their teeth. A bundle of Sal sticks sells for Rs.3 and the leaves for Rs.2. For many, like the aging couple in the video, this is a primary source of income. With the path to the jungle being blocked by debris from the mining, accessing the trees is getting increasingly difficult. What sort of development results in a situation where the people who have lived on that land the longest get no benefit from it? They wont benefit from the coal, the jungles they have depended on for so long and certainly not from the new shrubbery being planted to replace what has been razed. Call to Action: Mohan requests you to call the Managing Director of Tata Pvt. Limited on 0654-5262486 and ask him to ensure that any future plantation drives sow trees that are useful for the residents of Ramgarh District.   Article By: Kayonaaz Kalyanwala

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