Women from Gangotri have taken matters into their own hands by building their own road, reports the Times of India. Another route that the government proposed is longer and would result in many of the trees they had planted, being chopped off.
The women are also not happy that nobody took their views on the 100km Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone matter. In 2012, the environmental ministry had declared the stretch from Ganga’s tributary Bhagirathi to Uttarkashi as an eco-sensitive zone. No large hydropower projects or roads can be constructed in this area.
The committee that was formed for its implementation was meant to consult the women of Uttarkashi. Though the state government said that five hearings were held, women activists said that they were not involved in the process at all.
The women complain that the politicians do not care for their problems, and do not take the time to listen to them. The Uttarakhand Mahila Manch demands that women be given farmer status and farmland rights.
They also have to deal with wild animals which destroy their crops, and attack them, landslide zones and drive streams.
Vijandyei Rana, who has 1,800 women working with her at a self-help group, told The Times of India “Why didn’t they consult us? Women here do 90% of the farming, are responsible for water and forest produce too,”
She gives the example of a canal which had closed after the 2013 floods, and left 12 villages without any irrigation.
Cheers to the women who have taken matters into their own hands!