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Revisiting Chipko movement in Uttarakhand

Apr 27, 2012 07:27 AM IST India India
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Shivpuri: The Chipko movement, 40 years ago, was India's first green movement and one of our first green heroes is Chandi Prasad Bhatt. In the 1970s across Uttaranchal, rural women gave a cry to 'hug the trees' in protest against a government plan to chop the ancient trees.

One of the activists from the region Chandi said, "Chipko meant "Hug the trees". When the government sent the woodcutters, we would hug the trees so the axe would fall first on our backs, and then the trees."

The founders of Chipko - Gaura Devi, Sunderalal Bahuguna and Chandi Prasad Bhatt - led marches and protests, putting pressure on the government to impose a 15-year ban on felling of trees in the hills. Chipko, inspired people to take charge of their forest, across India.

For Chandi the message of Chipko is even more relevant today. With over 300 dams slated to submerge almost 70 per cent of the river and large tracts of ancient forests.

Further downstream, another set of people take over the river. River rafting is popular on this stretch of the Ganga.