A village that plants 111 trees for every girl born in Rajasthan

Jaipur, April 11, 2013

Mahim Pratap Singh, The Hindu

  • A pond at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy: www.piplantri.com
    A pond at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy:www.piplantri.com
  • A check dam at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy: www.piplantri.com
    A check dam at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy:www.piplantri.com

In an atmosphere where every morning, our newspapers greet us with stories of girls being tormented, raped, killed or treated like a doormat in one way or another, trust India’s “village republics” to bring in some good news from time to time.

One such village in southern Rajasthan‘s Rajsamand district is quietly practicing its own, homegrown brand of Eco-feminism and achieving spectacular results.

For the last several years, Piplantri village panchayat has been saving girl children and increasing the green cover in and around it at the same time.

Here, villagers plant 111 trees every time a girl is born and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up.

Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons- inlcuding neem, sheesham, mango, Amla among others.

On an average 60 girls are born here every year, according to the village’s former sarpanch Shyam Sundar Paliwal, who was instrumental in starting this initiative in the memory of his daughter Kiran, who died a few years ago.

In about half these cases, parents are reluctant to accept the girl children, he says.

Such families are identified by a village committee comprising the village school principal along with panchayat and Anganwadi members.

Rs. 21,000 are collected from the village residents and Rs.10,000 from the girl’s father and this sum of Rs. 31,000 is made into a fixed deposit for the girl, with a maturity period of 20 years.

But here’s the best part.

“We make these parents sign an affidavit promising that they would not marry her off before the legal age, send her to school regularly and take care of the trees planted in her name,” says Mr. Paliwal.

People also plant 11 trees whenever a family member dies.

But this village of 8,000 did not just stop at planting trees and greening their commons. To prevent these trees from being infested with termite, the residents planted over two and a half million Aloevera plants around them.

Now these trees, especially the Aloevera, are a source of livelihood for several residents.

“Gradually, we realized that aloevera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. So we invited some experts and asked them to train our women. Now residents make and market aloevera products like juice, gel, pickle etc,” he says.

The village panchayat, which has a studio-recorded anthem and a website of its own, has completely banned alcohol, open grazing of animals and cutting of trees.

Villagers claim there has not been any police case here for the last 7-8 years.

Mr. Paliwal recalls the visit of social activist Anna Hazare, who was very happy with the progress made by the village, he says.

“But Rajasthan is quite backward in terms of village development compared to panchayats in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra etc. So we need to work hard towards creating more and more empowered villages,” says the former sarpanch, hoping the government listens to him.

Keywords: RajasthanRural developmentGirl childPiplantriEnvironmentWomen empowerment



No bail hope for 6 months for Beed Doctor : Supreme Court

Clara Lewis, TNN Nov 14, 2012 MUMBAI: Taking a strong view on sex selection , the Supreme Court recently not only rejected the bail application of Dr Sudam Munde, accused of killing many female foetuses in Beed, but also directed that he apply for bail only after six months. In one of the cases, Munde and his wife Dr Saraswati Munde are accused of causing the death of a woman while carrying out an illegal abortion of a 24-week foetus at their Beed hospital this May.

The couple was arrested nearly three weeks later when the incident came to light.The SC on November 1 rejected Munde’s bail plea. Saraswati Munde has, however, been allowed bail subject to the satisfaction of the trial court. Parli in Beed district is infamous for female foeticide and families, not just from Maharashtra, but also from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka flock here to carry out sex-determination tests and illegal abortions.

Beed in the backward Marathwada region has also one of the worst child sex ratios in the 0-6 age group. According to the 2011 census, the ratio is a dismal 801 girls for every 1,000 boys. In 2001, it was 894 girls to 1,000 boys. This is not the first case registered against the Mundes, who are accused of running a highly sophisticated abortion racket and feeding the foetuses to hunter dogs on their farms.


Dr Gauri Rathod, civil surgeon, Beed government hospital, who has been at the forefront of the drive against sex selection  in the district said there were two more cases filed against Dr Munde under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prevention of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act. In 2010, Satara-based social activist Varsha Deshpande had carried out a sting operation at the Mundes’ hospital that allegedly exposed illegal sex determination tests being conducted there. A case was registered against them but they were granted bail in 2011 on the condition that henceforth they would not conduct sex-determination tests . However, in May this year, the doctors allegedly carried out the abortion of a sugarcane worker Vijaymala Patekar, who was in the second trimester of pregnancy, at their hospital in Parli, which resulted in her death. Following this, district civil surgeon Gauri Rathod had appealed at the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court to cancel the couple’s bail as they breached the law again. The high court then cancelled their bail and ordered a non-bailable warrant against them, but Parli police did not issue it. The court also issued a show cause notice to the inspector of Parli police station asking why the warrant was not issued earlier against the doctors.


Maharahstra leads in conviction of Doctors for Sex Selection


, TNN | May 16, 2012,

NEW DELHI: Actor Aamir Khan, whose first episode of tele-show Satyamev Jayate focused on sex selection, will be happy to hear this.

In 2011, 21 clinics and 22 doctors were convicted under the Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, for carrying out sex selection of an unborn child.

Census, 2011, showed girl child is still a curse and unwanted. And, the girl child population has fallen to an all-time low since Independence. The sex ratio for 2011 stands at 914 girls down from 927 girls for 1,000 boys in 2001.

Maharashtra led the way in 2011, with the highest number of convicted cases against doctors at 15, followed by Haryana (7) and Madhya Pradesh (2).

Majority of the punishments included three years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1.3 lakh.

Dr Ambadas Kadam from Maharashtra was convicted on November 14, 2011, with a three-year jail term and had to cough up the highest compensation of Rs 1.3 lakh.

All the convictions in Haryana resulted in a three-year jail term, and also had to pay fines between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000.

The two convictions in MP resulted in imprisonment of one month and a fine of Rs 1,000. Maharashtra, however, made an example of such cases. The minimum jail term in all the convictions in the state was two years. Fines charged were Rs 70,000, Rs 60,000, Rs 52,000 and Rs 38,000 in majority of the cases.

According to Union health ministry’s figures, only around 6% of cases filed against doctors involved in sex selection practices in the 17 states with the most skewed sex ratio had ended up in convictions till March, 2011.

Altogether 805 cases had been filed in court against doctors till March 31, 2011, ever since the revised PCPNDT Act came into force. Only 55 convictions were recorded during the same period.

The rest of the cases were either still going on or dropped for “poor investigation and insufficient evidence against the accused”.

Till March, 2011, convictions were highest in Haryana (23), followed by Punjab (22), Gujarat (4), Maharashtra (3), Delhi (2) and Chandigarh (1). The highest number of cases against doctors was filed in Rajasthan (161), but none has resulted in conviction till date.

Maharashtra filed 139 cases, Punjab (112), Gujarat (82), MP (70), Delhi (61), Uttar Pradesh and Haryana (54), Andhra Pradesh (19), Bihar (10), Uttarakhand (9), Chhattisgarh (5), Jharkhand (3) and Chandigarh (2).

During the same period, 168 ultrasound machines were sealed in Gujarat, followed by Haryana (133). Maharashtra sealed 82 machines, Rajasthan (76), Odisha (68), Delhi (48), Punjab (26), UP (37), Jharkhand (13) and Andhra Pradesh (12).

“Recent meetings impressed upon states on the importance of follow up of a court case, building a strong case for prosecution, putting in place the mechanism for legal assistance and engagement with state legal services authorities, besides training workshops for judiciary and public prosecutors,” an official said.

An official added, “India’s conviction rates are shockingly low. That’s because doctors, who carry out the search and seizure operations, aren’t good at filing legal cases and presenting a full-proof investigation, helping violators go scot-free.”

The 17 states were recently told by the ministry to identify and map their worst-affected districts, blocks and even localities.

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