German funded water conservation project takes major step forward
KONSAKHUL | Jul 7
The German Development Bank, KfW, funded, Community-based Sustainable Forest Management for Water Resources Conservation in Manipur, COSFOM, took a major step forward with the successful formation of the first village level implementation body in one of the project villages, Konsakhul today, a release by German consultation agency GFA, Imphal office, said.
Konsakhul (Konsaram) village in the Singda watershed is one amongst an approximate 50 villages identified by the project for policy intervention to regenerate depleting forest covers as a measure to replenish soil water retention capacity, thereby helping restore the perennial water availability in the streams and rivuletes in the hills and the major rivers of the valley area these rivulets feed.
The release said implementation bodies to be formed at each of the project villages are to be known as Water Resource Conservation Group, WRCG. These bodies will be democratically elected, and will have voluntary representations from all interest groups within the villages, such as women, youth, church or communities wherever there are more than one communities living in them, etc, it added.
These WRCGs will be the ultimate planners and implementers of the project, and they will also handle all project funds allocated for the village, and not contracted to any third party. They will be assisted in the execution of the work by a team from the forest department, it said.
Depending on the advice of the German consultation agency, the GFA, and the approval of these advices by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, PCCF, of the Manipur Forest Department, the village level WRCGs will be given the funds to execute the project.
The PCCF, Ng. Kipgen, is the Project Director of the Manipur sector of this ambitious project to ultimately cover the entire Eastern Himalayan region to which Manipur belongs, and is a part of an initiative of the German government to contributing its mite in the fight against climate change.
A major portion of the KfW fund comes to the Government of India as a soft loan and a small percentage as grant. The project is scheduled for seven years in its first phase, but extendable to 11 years.
The first beneficiaries will be the project villages, not only by making water availability to them more perennial, but also through various livelihood assist programmes entry point activities of the project. The benefits of replenishing the forest and soil in these hills will extend to the entire lengths of the rivers they feed, and ultimately also be an importat intervention towards a reversal in the global climate change.
The watersheds chosen in the first phase of the project are Kounu ranges which feeds the Singda River and Nambul beyond it, the Koubru ranges which feeds the Imphal River, and the Shirui ranges which feeds the Thoubal River system.
Three villages each from these three watersheds will be where the project is launched. The are Maohing, Changoubung and Lungphou in the Imphal River watershed, Konsakhul, Kharam Vaiphei and Ireng Naga in the Singda watershed, and Shirui, Langdang and Choither in the Shirui watershed.
In today’s fuction, a 13-member WRCG was formed and ratified by the villager at their church cum community hall, in the presence of the Project Director, Ng. Kipgen, the Chief Technical Advisor of the German consultancy agency GFA, Manohar Shrestha, his assistant Hrishikesh Konthoujam, two consultants Andras Darabant from Hungary who helped frame the bylaws of the WRCG and Pradip Phanjoubam, editor Imphal Free Press, as well as the Konsakhul village chairman, Aimson Abonmai.
Several other consultants of the GFA, both national and international, have worked on several aspects of the project, including Torrents Control, Environment and Social Management Framework, Peace and Conflict issues, Forestry and Soil Conservation etc.
The 13-member WRCG of Konsakhul will be headed by Alyson Abonmai, and has four women in it.
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