As we sit sipping tea with him, Ugen Lepcha calmly spells out his stand. “Even if it means having to leave my (political) party, I will continue to be against dams,” he says. Ugen Lepcha, the president of Passingang gram panchayat in the Dzongu area of Sikkim, clearly has courage when it comes to his political convictions.
This report by FoRWARD deals with the reorientation of the watershed development programme in India. The government is apparently committing larger resources for watershed development and plans to bring most of the dryland, degraded lands under the coverage of the programme over the next 25 years or so.
The report on “Watershed Development in Maharashtra” by Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) ), on behalf of the Forum for Watershed Research and Policy Dialogue (ForWaRD), deals with the present scenario and issues for restructuring the programme. The concept of integrated and participatory watershed development and management has emerged as the cornerstone of rural development in the dry and semi-arid regions of India. Over the years the country has been making increasing investments in this area with the objective of enhancing the production potential of rainfed agriculture.