Article written by Eshwer Kale published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) (Vol. 52, Issue No. 3 dated 21 Jan, 2017)
Charaibandi: A Ban on Free Grazing
(English, VCD, 39 mins)
The ban on free grazing in treated areas, which is one of the “non negotiable” of the watershed program, holds different meaning for different stakeholders in the program. While it ensures protection of the treatments undertaken and survival of plantation done, it also adversely affects the herding community, who are usually the poorest in the watershed, in the form of additional work to cut and carry fodder for their livestock. The main opposition to this ban on free grazing comes from them. This film makes an attempt to see the situation from different perspectives. While some of the herders see the advantages of the watershed program in terms of increased water and fodder which has greatly benefited them, others just are not willing to accept that they be made the sacrificial lambs to this developmental initiative which is supposed to benefit the entire watershed community.
It is very necessary that their needs too, be taken into consideration and sensitive ways forward be found which are acceptable to all. Once the trees have gained sufficient height, methods like controlled grazing could be adopted.