Bengal rose to be the Makkah of hiking, and rock-climbing over the years with the commencement of first-ever climbing course in the country. Apart from the northern Bengal, over the aeons, explorers across the country, choose to gather at the foothills of Purulia and Bankura to quench their zeal for wanderlust.
Indiscreetly, to everyone’s astonishment, the famous Chandi Hill, situated at the village of Bero in Purulia, has been proposed to be wrecked down. Seemingly, another two cliffs; famously known as Maatha and Tilabani, are too, about to be duped by the process of aggressive suburbanization. Similar speculations have been doing the rounds that another recognized hill, in the district of Purulia; Ayodhya, is also to be the victim of ecological intimidations, as well as an incredible maltreatment of biodiversity.
To raise voice against the aforementioned activities and explore the recent development on the same, a team of 29 consisting students and senior cititzens, started their journey on 5th April, 2019, towards Tilabani from Kolkata.
“Our key drive is to visit these localities where deforestation activities have been proposed and already on progress; alongside hovering awareness on deforestation and replantation. We are intensely concerned about the demolition of Chandi and Ayodhya Hill from Tilabani and Bagmundi respectively. Hence, our priority is the collection and exchange of information by interacting with the natives for awareness and to asses magnitude of adversities, that these various projects can imply on environmental sustainability.”, says one of the key organizers Mr. Sanjay Das.
We went on record in our earlier reports that there has already been handful of attempts made to these widespread deforestation schemas in disguise of industrialization; moderately also for urbanization. What the organisers identified as a matter of contention is that, in all these scenarios, there are administrative endeavours being made for yielding commercial opportunities by pulling the natives on their side by inflecting wrong information and luring them by showing shortsighted financial profit. Therefore, these villagers are hardly aware of the damaging influence on biodiversity and their livelihood in the long run.
A little less than two months ago, the city of Kolkata saw a huge turnout of eminent mountaineers, adventurers, and nature activists coming out in the streets against the vicious action to thrash down the hills in Purulia – Chandi and Maatha; demanding a mandate to safeguard the atmosphere by the means of ecofriendly endeavours. But the organizers of this event claim that this mission brought people irrespective of age and diverse adventurous expertise. One city-based non-profit-organization named Green Walk is also said to have participated. “There are dialogs made to villagers not to cut down trees which they seldom do it unintentionally. Apart from that, we intend to take samples of local botanical species for seed bank, so that if there are any unused land, we can carry out a possibility of reforestation. Hence, the tribal population will be immensely benefitted from this in the long run.”, adds one of the organizers.
As per informed by the team, on 6th April, they engaged in interactions with near about 70 local individuals, followed by approximately a 10-kilometer-long rally along with the locals passing through the villages of Tilabani, Lodabani, Madhavpur, and Parashibona. The next day, on 7th April, they organized another rally at around Ayodhya. Upon finishing it in the afternoon, they had set out towards Maatha village passing through the artificial Marble Lake and Turga Hydroelectricity Power Plant. Things started getting a bit out of hand once few unidentified strangers stopped their car in the middle of the way and demanded for donation of money (INR 10,000) in the name of religious events. Though it took a risky turn when these seemingly anti-socials threatened the eventers, they did not step back from carrying it forward it to the nearest police station at Barabhum due to safety measures which was hardly co-operated by the police officials present there. “There were few other tourist cars that crossed us over which they did not attack but only us. That led us to a conclusion that they deliberately targeted us to stop our further activities to take place.”, as briefed by one of the partakers. Over this unanticipated fiasco, all the planned events had to be called off at Maatha unfortunately.