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Gas facility for Van Gujjars

23rd April, 2003

In continuation of its support to the Van Gujjars who have relocated from Rajaji National Park, WPSI part sponsored 32 cooking stoves and LPG gas cylinders for Gujjar families in Pathri Colony, Uttranchal. The organisation had offered to bear fifty percent of the cost to encourage the Van Gujjars to use this facility. The distribution was carried out on 1 April in the presence of Mr. Samir Sinha, Director Rajaji National Park. The function provided a forum for a lively meeting with the Field Director, the WPSI team, and the Gujjars to discuss a number of relevant issues. Participants at the meeting were encouraged to let the women from their families come forwards and take part in community activities. The Field Director pointed out that the objective of the cooking gas facility was not just to minimize fuel wood collection, but also to help improve the lifestyle of the Gujjars, especially the women who otherwise spend many hours on wood collection.

In a heart warming conversation with the WPSI team an elder of the community stated, “We are old people, we have lived in the forest all our lives. We are not blind…we can see that we need the forests. If by learning this trade [cooking with gas] we can help save the forest, it is good. This is our nation…the nation’s good is good for all and the nation’s loss is a loss for all. If the forests go…there can be drought…there will be no rain…we can even go blind. The wind is filtered through it…fresh air…healthy air. We have lived in the forest and we love the forest more than you.”



 

 

 

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