DECCAN HERALD Tuesday, March 28, 2000

President to visit eco-friendly village

JAIPUR, March 27 (DHNS)

Bhaonta-Kolyala the small non- decript village in Thanagazi block of Alwar district in Rajasthan has been chosen for Down To Earth- Joseph C John award which is given to India`s best environmental community.

President K R Narayanan will be giving away the award tomorrow at a function in Hamirpura village in appreciation of the outstanding work done by the village comunity in rainwater harvesting and rural engineering.

The village which was facing chronic drought and resultant poverty in the last decade reverted to the tradition of building 'johads`-- small earthern check- dams in 1988. Following the example set by Bhaonta-Kolyala, several neighbouring villages also started restoring old 'johads` and building new ones. The result was revival of the river Arvari.

Building a 244 metre-long dam in the upper catchment area of the Arvari river was the most ambitious project and the villagers of Bhaonta-Kolyala achieved the marvel by stopping water right at the point where it moved downwards. The villagers were supported in their venture by Tarun Bharat Singh, a voluntary organisation.

The organisation lended support in reviving the johads, which prevent rainwater from running off, allowing it to percolate into the ground, and improve the water balance of the earth. The award has been instituted by the family of environmentalist Joseph C John, of Silent Valley, Kerala fame.

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