R S Tejus
In a holistic and an all-inclusive approach, MM Hills Wildlife Division and Chamarajnagar Territorial circle are jointly taking initiatives, beneficial to the community, wildlife and forests. Here, conservation is not independent of people’s participation as many live on the fringes of forests either in enclosures or villages inside. V Yedukondalu, DCF, MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary said that these initiatives would bring harmony and benefit people and wildlife in the long term. He added, “It is a win-win solution that we are aiming for.”
A total of 5 all-terrain multipurpose vehicles have been purchased to ease the life of the people. The vehicles act as an ambulance, school van, general transportation, etc as and when the need arises. 10 to 12 villages of 5000 people benefit from this initiative, with 5 routes operating round the clock, covering almost the entire park area where transport is difficult to access.
For example, Indignatha, Medhaglane, MM Hills, and Thulasikere form one of the routes; likewise, it connects all the dots. This initiative is part of the eco-developmental committee. Cars for schooling and ambulance purposes are free while for general transport, charges are minimal. The main objective is to alleviate man-animal conflict to the best extent. It benefits all the stakeholders like school teachers, children, pregnant women, and people who were scared of elephants. Now, availability of vehicles will resolve most of the issues.
Honey Box Production Unit
Such units have taken off by using weeds like Lantana and Senna spectabilis which were earlier being cleared resulting in high costs. Using weeds as a resource for manufacturing honey bee boxes will help generate employment and additional income from honey and box production. Beneficiaries include 100 families with clear segregation of work like clearing lantana and other related activities which is done by a set of 30 families each.
This has been set up in Ponnachi with 3 structures – a common facilities center, a processing unit (cutting to the final product), and a waste management center. Almost 500 acres of land are being utilized for bamboo plantation for the farmers with an estimated income of Rs 1.5 lakh per annum per acre. For the manufacture of bamboo products, high-end training has been given to the people with a high demand for such products. These will help income generation and employment.
Model Green Village
Lakkanahalli model green village, a PPP project, main objectives are to increase the green cover around schools, colleges, hospitals, etc. This will provide livelihood under KAPY, increase water availability, reduction of man-animal conflict and increase fodder availability.
The primary outcome of this initiative – after 5 years, the entire Lokkanahalli village will be developed into a green and self-sustaining village in terms of food and water security for farmers and cattle. Increase of the green cover village – of more than 500h of Geographic area. This will increase income of farmers by way of earnings from the plantation.
Ghee Processing Unit
Eco-restoration and sustainable forest area development by developing Organic Hallikar Cow Ghee and Milk producing unit at Ponnachi, MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. The main objectives are Eco-Restoration of Forest Area by reducing grazing pressure on the forest by local cattle, checking Bio-diversity erosion from cattle pressure and forest fires.
This is to provide alternate and sustainable livelihood to local communities by reducing dependency on the forest. This will reduce man-animal conflict and trust development with the local community, conserving of Hallikar breed for future generations, and increasing the green cover by raising tree fodder banks. The total capacity of the project is 1000 liters per day. Both Milk and Ghee will be processed and packed in the unit.
Both Milk and Ghee will be branded and sold through private, online as also designated outlets. Annually about 9000 Kg Ghee and 80,000 liters of milk will be produced. The annual gross income is Rs 8 Crores (for Ghee Rs 4.5 crores and for Milk about Rs 2.5 crores) or amounting to Rs 6 crore approximately for 600 families. This means about Rs 1.00 lakh net income for each family per year. The entire unit will be owned and managed by FPO (Forest Producing Organization) under the Registration of Societies Act.