(A success of JFM Programme: Jhurimal VSS)

People are the best managers of Forest and many villages have proved it earlier. When the forest and its existence were in danger the villagers came forward to protect. It was not happened only once and the villagers reverted, but the circumstances were repeated many times and the villagers fought for it. Yes! We are talking about the 370-year old village Jhurimal of Sundargarh district in Odisha State. The villagers formed a Vana Surakhya Samiti (VSS) in 1993-94 to protect the degraded forest. Despite several trials, a part of the forest patch was completely wiped out by the neighboring villagers and the forest was found degraded.

Aiming to make a green cover on the degraded forest land and reducing pressure on the forest, looking at the present condition the Odisha Forestry Sector Development Project (OFSDP-II) was implemented in the Jhurimal village in the year 2017. The was reformed as per the JFM guidelines and forest management rules are developed with the help of Partner NGO (P-NGO) SEWAK and Forest dept.

The VSS very clearly observed that the collection of fuelwood from the forest significantly impacts the forest. The forest has to a limit in providing dry fuelwood. But due to insufficient supply as per the population requirement, some of the people cuts tree stumps to fulfill their requirements. Thus the VSS contacted the FMU Ujalpur to supply the LPG Gas and successfully supplied it to 133 households. Due to this step, the pressure on the forest significantly reduced.

Open grazing has always been a terror to the plantations as well as the growth of the newly generated seedlings. Thus the VSS members dig cattle-proof trenches (a length of 5-kilometer) around the plantation sites through “Sramadan”. As a result the plantation in 20 Hectare land is becomes one of the best plantations in the Sundargarh Forest Division. Also the VSS members too planted 3500 seedlings in a patch of 6 acres & 1600 seedlings in 1.85 acres of land through “Sramadan”.

VSS members also planted 420 plant species like “Banyan, Pipal saplings in the sacred groves and the village forest too. 200 Palm saplings were also planted in the shoulders of water bodies as well as in the boundary of the forest area.
During the Corona epidemic, people everywhere are in a state of panic, the glow of various festivals has faded. Keeping it in mind, the women of Jhurimal VSS took a historic decision to celebrate “RAKHI” in an innovative way. 163 women representatives of all HHs decided to plant a new fruit tree, tie RAKHI & vowed to protect them for lifetime. On 3rd August 2020, the members of Jhurimal VSS developed a fruit orchard in their 1.65-acre land through their contribution where 163 nos of mango, cashew, jack fruit, amla, kusum, black berry, guava saplings were planted by each and every household.

Similarly, with the regular awareness, motivation and handholding support of P-NGO SEWAK, the SHG members were strengthened and are now being engaged in different income generation activities like Vermi compost, Mushroom cultivation, vegetable cultivation, picsiculture, broiler farming, rice business, etc.
Jhurimal VSS also organized health camp, skill development training for VSS members and neighboring villagers and also form a “fire brigade” to protect forest from fire.
To share the good work with the world communities, the VSS Jhurimal has opened a website and it is spreading its wings. The Website of Jhurimal VSS launched on 28th October 2020. It is the first web site of any VSS at national level.

For its excellent work in the field of restoration of degraded forest, afforestation, livelihood activities for forest dependent families and different innovative activities the Jhurimal VSS has been awarded the “Biju Pattanaik Best VSS Award-2021-22” and “Prakruti mitra Award-2022-23” by Govt. of Odisha.
The Jhurimal VSS has since launched another innovative initiative, a medicinal garden named as “SANJEEVANI VATIKA” was developed in 3 acres of land through its own initiatives and SHRAMADAN. The garden has 56 types of medicinal plants, herbs, creepers and herbs, members of VSS expected it would be a learning hub for next generation.

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