Jamshedpur, July 21: Work is underway on turning former Maoist hotbed West Singhbhum’s Manoharpur block into a hub of model villages sponsored by Union rural development ministry, a separate project that will operate simultaneously with the much-hyped Saranda Action Plan (SAP).
The ministry headed by Jairam Ramesh has asked the state forest department to study all the 56 villages of the block and chalk out an integrated development project under the banner of Adarsh Village, which includes parameters such as health, livelihood, education, spirituality and environment consciousness.
The state department will implement the project on the ground, following the Centre’s brief to turn each hamlet into an Adarsh or ideal village where tribals may live, work and earn without losing their innate contact with nature.
Revealing that studies to prepare “a meticulously researched project report” started last week, Saranda divisional forest officer K.K. Tiwary said: “Once the project starts, Manoharpur block will get a complete and holistic makeover. The aim is to make all 56 villages equipped with the features to make them socially, economically, culturally and environmentally vibrant.”
He added that the concept of Adarsh Village was completely different from the Saranda Action Plan and central funds would be decided only after the Union ministry studied the proposal sent by the state.
“We will try and ensure that the state has the proposal ready in a month. Our job is to study the conditions of each village, compile inputs and prepare a comprehensive Adarsh Village blueprint,” he said.
He gave out a list of areas that the state team would focus on under the Adarsh concept. For starters, the forest department will launch a massive tree-plantation drive across government and riyati lands.
“Each village will have an eco-park, a nursery, primary school, infrastructure to develop solar renewable energy sources, eco-tourism and a massive afforestation programme,” Tiwary said.
Livelihood skill-developing centres will also be set up in village clusters. And each will offer vocations that are in sync with the surrounding forests and their produce — leaf-plate and broom making, for instance.
Tribal festivals and government-sponsored events such as Magh festival, Shardul, Environment Week, among others, will be celebrated as awareness raising ventures for making deprived people self-sufficient.
An Adarsh Village will also take care of the spiritual needs of its residents, Tiwary revealed.
“Jahersthans, or sacred sites, where tribals perform puja dot Manoharpur block. Each will be fenced so that people don’t have to worry about their sanctity,” added a senior forest official.
There will also be a provision to document and film rural success stories, as and when they happen, so that they could be aired on regional and national television channels.
“We have embarked on the study of each of the 56 villages. When the blueprint is ready, we will send it to the state forest department which will forward it to the Union rural development ministry for approval and funding,” the DFO said, adding the Adarsh concept would be replicated at villages in other forest divisions of Jharkhand, including South Chaibasa.