Pune: Kedar valley, a famous tourist location in Uttarakhand used to offer diverse income options to its local inhabitants. The economy of the region was to a larger extent based on pilgrimage tourism. But recently, due to devastating floods, many hotels, lodges and shops were damaged at Kedarnath, Rambara, Gaurikund, and Sonprayag. Locals also lost their livestock, particularly ponies and buffaloes, affecting their source of livelihood. Offering succour at this juncture, G B Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development (GBPIHED), Garhwal Regional Centre, initiated technology-led skill development programs for local people at the Rural Technological Centre (RTC), Triyuginarayan in Uttarakhand with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Their aim was to address these challenges by harnessing the potential of locally available bio-resources through science and technology interventions by adding value to local resource and skill for mini and micro-enterprise creation.
Around ten skill-development-cum-training programs and five skill-development programs have been organised in last two years benefitting a total of 758 participants (356 women and 402 men) from 20 villages of Kedar Valley on diverse areas, such as bio-prospecting of agro and wild bio-resources, medicinal plants cultivation and water resource management.
Interventions for livelihood diversification using local resources and skills has changed the lives of affected people in the region to strengthen the local economy.
Vineeta Devi, Omkar Gairola, and Ramkrishna Bhatt of Triyuginarayan village and many other farmers of the nearby villages affected by the disaster were trained in fabrication and use of cost-effective polyhouses, and nursery techniques of improved vegetable production, such as tomato, hybrid cucumber, capsicum, peas, green vegetables and so on. It has been estimated that cultivation of off-seasonal vegetables under polyhouse condition has provided a monetary return of around Rs 28,809 as an additional income per household in a year.
Yogesh Joshi, a graduate and unemployed youth of Sankri village of Guptakashi, was trained in value addition of locally available agro and wild bio-resource based edible product development, and value-chain addition of the produce. In 2017, he started a micro-enterprise by the name of Vishwanath Product and is now earning a profit of Rs 5,67,000 per year by selling various value-added products.
Similarly, Laxmi Prasad Ghildiyal of Triyuginarayan village and six youths of nearby villages, who lost their tea shops and restaurants as well as their horses and ponies in the floods, started small micro-enterprise or edible product development using local agro and wild bio-resources earning about Rs 3,75,985 per year.
In Triyuginarayan village, Raghunath Gairola who lost a pair of horses and a buffalo in the disaster had adopted nursery raising techniques of medicinal plants and off-seasonal vegetable cultivation as a source of income and livelihoods through which he is earning about Rs 38,260 yearly as an additional income.
The capacity building and skill development of stakeholders of disaster-affected villages of Kedar valley has helped not only in providing viable alternatives to local people to reduce their dependence on forest resources and promoting climate-resilient technology but also contributing to address various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and mountain development inclusively and sustainably.
This information was provided by the Communications Team at the Dept. of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology.