A Labour Of Love
Women raise happy plants in Rajasthan
At the Alanpur forest nursery at Sawai Madhopur district and the forest department nursery in Alwar, Rajasthan, one can see feverish activity with mostly women in charge. Here, like many places across India, plantation season commences when the Monsoons arrive.
In Alanpur close to the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, the land area is spread over two hectares. Here, there are 3,87,859 saplings tended by 25 local women, many of whom come to work daily from the nearby areas.
Till now, 1,50,000 saplings have been sent outside from Alanpur. The women work here as part of MGNREGA and are paid accordingly as part of the 100 days of work. Most of them carry lunch as it is a daylong activity.
In Alanpur, worker Mandhar Devi comes from a nearby village called Rampura. Devi receives her wages once in 15 days. As part of the daylong activity, she waters the saplings, puts them in polythene bags and also sows seeds.
Dola Bai as well as Yashoda Bai, who hold MGNREGA job cards, admitted that working in the humidity is tough. When they feel tired, the women rest under the shade of trees.
“Women who work in Alanpur come to know through the gram panchayat. Many of us have been working here since 2008. It comes under MGNREGA as soil work happens. Many villages are around and many women come walking,” Dola Bai said.
Most of them wear silver kadis, thick Rajasthani bangles, on both feet. One said it is like an asset and without it no marriage ever happens.
Guddi is lucky, her husband drops to work on a bike, “I bring roti-sabzi. I eat well and I have to prepare the saplings, sow seeds and water the plants. They need love and care. If we do not work hard then how will the plants grow?”