About Jharnadhara

Conservation and revival of springs in the entire Himalayan region is an urge of the situation. West Bengal is not an exception of that. Four northern Districts of the state, e.g. Darjeeling, newly formed Kalimpong, part of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar, comes under the Himalayan region. Nature and the natural beauty of this region attract many travelers and nature lovers from around the world throughout the year. These mountains are home of 10 lakh (approx.) people and majority of the people depends on dharas and jhoras (springs) for water for their survival. This has been observed over time that with the population explosion and urbanization in hills many springs has dried up and the discharge in the remaining ones has declined up to a great extent whereas, demand of the water or frequency of the dependency on springs has increased every day. As a consequence, severe water crisis during the dry spell is a common phenomenon in the hills.

PRASARI has been dealing with water issues (both, surface and ground water) since its inception. ‘Water security’ is one of the major areas of work of the organization. Recent movements in the Himalayan region regarding the concept of Springshed management and its success in the neighboring Sikkim have inspired the organization to explore this new horizon. At the same time, the Government of West Bengal (GoWB) has also shown great interest in springshed management which led to initiate the new ‘Jharnadhara’ programme under MGNREGA. This was added with a great inspiration and support from national level institutions like- Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF), Delhi, ARGHYAM, Bangalore and ACWADAM, Pune. This organizational forum being coddled by the MGNREGA Cell, GoWB and Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) played an important role to commence the springshed management initiative in West Bengal with a regional workshop centered at Jalpaiguri in the third week of November, 2016. The Commissioner, MGNREGA, P&RD Dept., GoWB, Deputy Secretary, P&RD Deptt. , GoWB, ADM (ZP), Jalpaiguri, Executive Director of GTA along with his team, all the District level officials of MGNREGA cell from all four targeted Districts, District and regional level officers of several line departments like-Deptt. of Agriculture, Dept. of Forest, Water Resource Investigation and Development Dept., all the BDOs of targeted Blocks and representatives from all four organizations-ACWADAM, BRLF, ARGHYAM and PRASARI participated in the workshop. This workshop ended with opening up a new horizon of development in West Bengal. It was planned in the regional workshop that the programme with start with a District level workshop in all Districts where representatives from all the stakeholders of the programme within the District territory will remain present.

After a journey of one month (February, 2017 –March, 2017) the pilot phase ended up with training 56 Dharasevaks (Village Resource Person), Gram Panchayat, Block and District level engineers and preparing 56 Detail Project Reports (DPRs). In the very first week of the next month physical work (recharge structures) started in almost every Gram Panchayats. This is an initiative where science travels a distance from ‘laboratory to village’. A rural Dharasevak conduct hydro-geological survey and prepare hydro-geological map of a spring to identify recharge zone and with the help of Gram Panchayat level technical functionaries design recharge activities. This inspired even the apex level contributors of development system which has been resulted in the enthusiasm and aspiration of the state when a chase of completing 600 springs has been started by the Government of West Bengal.

The implementation part of the springshed programme is challenging but it is reachable what we have a vision of 600 springs in the running year.

To fulfilled our dream in reality. We think, it’s better if we first to train our technical wings who deployed on each blocks. i,e. STPs & TAs. That’s why we have arranged a 3 days residential training with the help of our CSO partners.

After the completing the training, now we got a trained technical wings who have equally operative potential as any para hydro-geologists have. Then they went to their respective GP’s area and found the critical springs after discussing with the community and chosen a person to supervise JHARNADHARA work from their respective community. These persons are called as Dharasevak. Now MGNREGA Cell, GTA have token the supports from CSO partners i,e, PRASARI and ACWADAM to train their 465 Dharasevaks from all the 8 blocks. The total Dharasevak divided among the 11 batches and 4 locations for 3 days residential training in between 6th March to 14th march, 2018 with the help of MGNREGA Cell, GTA & CSO partners. The vision of Dharasevak trainings are not only making them technically strong but also motivate them about the springshed project and also to inspire them to sensitize their surrounding people in community.

The Dharasevaks are identifying the recharge area of each particular springs with help of technical wings & CSO partners and continuously monitoring the springs. The GP’s authority will take the leadership to organize the hamlet meeting to sensitize the community regarding ‘JHARNADHARA’.

The Dharasevaks are identifying the recharge area of each particular springs with help of technical wings & CSO partners and continuously monitoring the springs. The GP’s authority will take the leadership to organize the hamlet meeting to sensitize the community regarding ‘JHARNADHARA’.

We are in progress to make DPR for each spring with the coordination of Dharasevak, MGNREGA, PRASARI and the respective community. After finalizing the DPR our further approach will be to execute the JHARNADHARA project with proper planning by the technical persons. For physical effort to execute the field work, local people will be chosen for maximum efficiency those who have job card under MGNREGA scheme as they can earn daily basis wages to sustainable their own livelihood also.

Details of spring and Dharasevek

Jharnadhara Partners