PIPLANTRI is a village located in RAJSAMAND District in Rajasthan State.
The villagers of Piplantri plant 111 trees every time a girl child is born, and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up. Over the years, people have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons, including neem, sheesham, mango and amla among others.
To ensure financial security, after the birth of a girl child, the villagers contribute 21,000 rupees collectively and take 10,000 rupees from the parents and put the amount in a FD, which can be broken when she is 20 years old. To make sure the child receives proper education, the villagers make the parents sign an affidavit which also restricts them from marrying her off before she attains the legal age for marriage.
Shyam Sundar Palwal, the former Sarpanch (village head) started this initiative in memory of his daughter (Kiran) who died a few years ago. The initiative begun in 2006 has turned Piplantri Village into an oasis. The planting of the trees have raised the water level. IT has also helped the village economy. To keep termites away from the trees, many of which bear fruit, the village has planted more than 2.5million Aloe Vera plants around them. Gradually, the villagers realised that Aloe Vera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. So, the community now produces and markets Aloe Vera products like juice and gel, pickle and other items. So, for the last several years, Piplantri is quietly practising its own home-grown eco-feminism and achieving spectacular results. On an average 60 girls are born every year in Piplantri.
People also plant 11 trees whenever a family member dies. The Village Panchayat, which has a studio-recorded anthem and a website of its own, has completed banned alcohol, open grazing of animals and cutting of trees. Villagers claim that there has been no police case since the last seven or eight years.
Piplantri is well-known for its marble mining industry. In this Gram Panchayat, the famous R. K. Marbles is located whose name is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Record for maximum production of marbles.
The village was awarded by the Rajasthan Government and included in Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Adarsh Gram Yojna and it is the only village from Rajsamand to get selected for it.
—————- Mahim Pratap Singh for The Hindu.