20,000 water conservation ponds in 125 villages over 19 years — how to make a forest

They had broken free of the vicious cycle of drought/flood—more water meant the forests were getting more dense, which in turn retained even more water.
…they have built about 20,000 chaals in about 125 villages over the past 19 years

Bharati began talking to the women who were left behind. In the first year, they built a chaal SACHCHIDANAND BHARATI Building water tanks to save the foreston a monsoonal channel that had dried up. After the next monsoon, it retained water longer, the surrounding soil remained moist, the forest looked healthier. Over the next five years, Bharati’s Doodhatoli Lok Vikas Sansthan built several chaals in Ufrainkhaal and neighbouring villages, improving their design through trial.

They had broken free of the vicious cycle of drought/flood—more water meant the forests were getting more dense, which in turn retained even more water. The big test came during the drought of 2000-01. Forest fires are a regular feature in the pine plantations that pass for government forests in the region—pine kills all undergrowth and its needles pile up into a tinderbox. The fires did not spread to the regenerated oak forests, which have soil moisture and diversity. Yet there was the fear that the fires will engulf them, so the village women who had built the chaals turned out in numbers to prevent fires in government forests. Three women died in these efforts. The fire was controlled.

Complete story at: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/how-to-make-a-forest

‘Jan satyagraha’: 50,000 landless people march from Gwalior to Delhi for rights

Gwalior: In a unique protest of its kind, 50,000 landless people from 26 states under the banner of an NGO Ekta Parishad, have started a jan satyagraha (people’s movement) today and are walking from Gwalior to Delhi. They say the distance, about 320 km, will be covered by October 29.

The satyagrahis (protesters) are demanding a national land reform policy and plan to hand over a memorandum to the Centre to highlight the problems of landless poor.

The Centre had appointed Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and junior minister in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Jyotiraditya Scindia, to hold talks with activists led by Ekta Parishad chairman PV Rajagopal on the issue.

Complete story at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/jan-satyagraha-50-000-landless-people-march-from-gwalior-to-delhi-for-rights-274827

Villages grow a railway station

The new station inaugurated on Thursday by Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda is reportedly the brainchild of Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda, and the means and material to build it came from local panchayats.

NEW DELHI: Their homes lie within earshot of the Delhi-Bathinda railway line, but for years a journey to the capital meant travelling 14km on bad roads to board a train at Karaichi station near Jind. Time and again, the nearly 1 lakh residents of these nine Haryana villages, 90km from Delhi, lobbied for a station of their own but the assurances did not materialize. Until one April day, when they came together with bricks and mortar, hoes and spades, to gift themselves the Lakhan Majra railway station.

Complete story at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Villages-grow-a-railway-station/articleshow/16581855.cms

We Libyans are filled with grief. Chris Stevens was more than an ambassador – he was a friend.

We Libyans are filled with grief. Chris Stevens was more than an ambassador – he People demonstrate during a rally to condemn the killers of the US ambassador to Libya and the attack on the US consulate, in Benghazi 12 September 2012Protests have been held in Benghazi condemning the attackwas a friend.

We condemn this barbaric act, which does not represent us as Libyans and Muslims and we send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

This attack is a wake-up call for us, a realisation of the danger and the urgent need to defend freedom.

Complete story at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19593578

A railway station, financed and built by villagers near the Indian capital, Delhi, has opened for service

“We have been raising the demand [for a station] since 1982, but the railways told us they did not have funds. So, finally we decided to craft our own destiny,” he said.

Residents of Tajnagar and nearby villages in the Delhi suburb Gurgaon pooled 2,080,786 rupees ($45,000) to build the two platforms.

The construction work took seven months and was done under the supervision of railway authorities.

The area is badly connected by roads and officials say the new station is likely to benefit about 25,000 people.

The state-owned Indian railways network is huge, connecting every corner of the vast country.

It operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries 18 million passengers every day.

There are nearly 7,000 stations across India.

Almost all of them were built by the railways, but officials said a handful of small stations between Delhi and Ambala (in Haryana) were funded and built by local people.

The complete story at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8440867.stm