Roving Reporter

No more leaving the village in search of livelihood elsewhere. No more living under threat of death due to dehydration. Shuddering under the shadow of impending desert is no more.

Three women, only three, have made the magic.

Water, vanished since long, has come back to the dried up spring in the village of Bhimdol under Balda Gram Panchayat in the Nandipur Block of Koraput

The ever green Koraput lost its lustrousness to industrialization and hills after hills got denuded of the dense forests that had kept her head high in pride.

Bhimdol had lost her hope. The forest spring in whose flow of nectar her children had been retaining their vigor dried away as the trees fell to the axes of avarice.

Should they leave their beloved place? How can they survive and for how many days without water? High above the sea level as Bhimdol stands, who can have a dream for water in dug-wells or tanks? Should they leave, should they leave the lap of their beloved mother, the place of their ancestors, the village Bhimdol?

No. No. No.

No, cried Radha, no, never.

She remembered the past when water was flowing sweetly from the spring under the ever green canopy of the forest. She looked at the dried up bed that was once of the melodious spring, then searched for the green canopy that had vanished with denudation of the hills. To her it occurred that the spring had withheld her water as no tree was there to share her romance. And, she took the decision.

She talked to her close friends Jhumuki and Sisha. The three understood the choked agony of the dried up spring. The agony arising out of absence of the sky scrapping trees to which the spring was singing her romantic songs.

Trees are to grow again if the spring is to flow, they agreed.

The male members of the village community had allowed their axes to fell down trees at the behest of forest exploiters. The three women took up axes to protect the trees that were raising their heads despite destruction.

Having sloughed over initially, the whole village rose to their call. Everybody pledged support. No new plantation, but no plant to be destroyed.
Within a couple of years, the green canopy grew. Came back the environment that the avaricious axes of the agents of industry had wiped out.

The spring cast aside her reluctance. Water flew.

Bhimdol is now alive to agro activities again. The spring water is serving tiny patches of crop fields. A new confidence is growing in every heart echoing the ecstasy of rising of the trees.

Women in Orissa’s villages are being marked more and more for their collective endeavor to better their economy through self-help groups. One may earnestly hope that in these groups Radha and her two friends of Bhimdol get partners in ever rising numbers.

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