Usharmukti – Effective implementation of MGNREGA in watershed mode in the western part of the state of West Bengal

On August 10, 2017, BRLF entered into an agreement with the WBMGNREGA Cell, Department of Rural Development, Government of West Bengal and six CSOs (along with a lead CSO). This project focused on the effective implementation of the MGNREGA in watershed mode in the western part of the state. Following the signing of the agreement, the Ushar Mukti (translated loosely as Freedom from Barennes) program was launched across 384 GPs in 55 blocks across 6 districts (Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, Birbhum, Paschim Medinipur and Paschim Bardhaman) of West Bengal. It is anticipated that through project interventions 750,000 hectares of land will be rejuvenated in the region through land and water conservation measures on a watershed approach implemented across 2080 micro-watersheds, expected to benefit approximately 500,000 households.
The CSO Partners engaged in field implementation, include:

  • Development Research Communication and Services Centre (DRCSC)
  • Tagore Society for Rural Development (TSRD)
  • Rural Development Association (RDA)
  • Shamayita Math (SM)
  • Loka Kalyan Parishad (LKP)
  • PRADAN (Lead CSO)
  • PRASARI (Prasari is part of the consortium of CSOs implementing this project, BRLF has facilitated their funding support from Ford Foundation)

The Usharmukti Project focuses on the water and soil conservation strategies by applying a ridge-to-valley approach, which lead to the restoration of rivers and its catchment area, while mitigating the impacts of climate change. Through the implementation of the project, it also seeks to develop a climate resilient community, improve existing farm management practices, generate additional and alternative sustainable-income, and help advance strong relationships among the people, PRI and the Government.

More information on “Ushar Mukti Project” could be accessed from https://usharmukti.nregawb.in

Jharnadhara (Springshed Development) Project, West Bengal

On April 1, 2017, BRLF signed an MOU with West Bengal MGNREGA Cell, Ministry of Rural Development, Govt of West Bengal. Under this agreement, spring rejuvenation program was launched in 4 northern districts viz., Darjeeling, Alipurduar, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri of West Bengal for treating 457 springs through the implementing partners – PRASARI and ACWADAM. The initiative is called “Jharnadhara” (Spring shed Rejuvenation and Management).

The major components of these pilots include science-based aquifer mapping, aided with various field surveys and scientific analysis, facilitating and building community decision-making processes for sustainable usage and utilization of springs. The key components of the project, include:

  • Developing 616 springsheds across four districts – Darjeeling, Alipurduar, Kalimgpong and Jalpaigur. Majority of the springsheds are in Darjeeling district.
  • Construction of physical structures and treatment of upper ridge that would be done through leveraging financial resources through MGNREGA programme.
  • This project would not a be stand-alone activity since all the line departments would be involved, and their respective schemes would be dovetailed as per this project.
  • At each GP level one Dharasevak will be selected and appointed by the MGNREGA cell. 150 Dharasevaks would be appointed for the field level implementation.
  • Besides the Dharasevaks other existing functionaries from MGNREGA cell like assistant engineers, APOs in the Blocks, nirman sahayaks, STPs, and technical assitants would directly be involved in the execution of the physical work.

More information on “Jharnadhara Programme” could be accessed from http://spring-management.info