By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 21 Jul: Four organisations, including UPES’ “School of Management & Economic Studies”, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK HESCO and UREDA jointly organised a one day workshop on Livelihood and Income Generation Measures with Water Mills of Uttarakhand under the GCRF Funded Project on UK-India Sustainable Development & Research Collaboration: Water Mills Modernization-cum- Enhancement, Planning, Training, Capacity Strengthening and Entrepreneurial Development in UK Hill Communities. Under this project, UPES and NU have worked extensively on the sustainability of gharats (water mills) in Uttarakhand. Teams from both institutions have done comprehensive research on ground zero by visiting the sites, both, in Uttarakhand and the United Kingdom. UNESCO & UREDA have also been working on this for quite some time. The objective of the workshop was to synergise all the four organisations under one roof and disseminate the research findings and way forward to the owners of water mills. The workshop was inaugurated by Dr Anil Prakash Joshi, HESCO, and Anil Kumar Tyagi, Chief Project Office, UREDA, HK Purohit, Joint Director – Fisheries, Directorate of Fisheries, Dehradun, Dr Pankaj Kumar Sharma, Assistant Dean (Planning & Monitoring), UPES, Dr Tumban Singh, ex- Professor, LBSNAA, and Dr Hiranmoy Roy, Head of Department of Economics and International Business, School of Business, UPES. Dr Prasoom Dwivedi, Principal Investigator, GCRF Project, coordinated the event and Dr Sanjay Bhowmick, Professor, Northumbria University, monitored the workshop proceedings via Skype from New Zealand. In his address, Dr Joshi emphasised, “Gharats are a good solution for mitigating some of the threats on account of climate change in India and at the global level. Very recently the respective governments have also brought the issue of revamping the existing gharats under their focus and soon some policies would be made towards measures which will assist in employment and income generation through gharats.” Arun Kumar Tyagi disclosed that UREDA had identified 14,000 gharats having the potential for electricity generation in the state. If this potential could be leveraged, almost 70 MW capacity could be added to the state kitty. This would not only help in providing better voltage at the tail end villages but also contribute towards reducing the burden of buying electricity from outside the state. Dr Tumban Singh shared his long experience of development in the Koti and Dhalani villages and the challenges of remote locations of the gharats. HK Purohit mentioned the new opportunity of income generation for the gharat owners through fisheries. He suggested that water used by gharats could be used for fisheries by developing ponds at the same space. A pond developed in a one hectare plot of land could produce 6 Tonnes of pangasius species of fish giving potential earning of Rs 15,00,000 per annum. This earning was 8 times more than for Rohu fish. He also shared various government policies with the gharat owners for the development of ponds. Mahesh Bhatt, Turbine Developer, described the functioning of turbines to the gharat owners. HESCO also displayed its own turbine for the benefit of the participants. Gharat owners Pradeep Gharati, Sahaspur, and Anil Dangwal, Uttarkashi, shared their experience with the participants. In the future, they would be grow their business by introducing “Thanda Atta” as a brand. Dr Prasoom Dwivedi, Professor at School of Business in UPES, presented a case study of the Talgarth Mill situated in Wales, United Kingdom. The purpose of this case study was to motivate gharat owners. Also to give some idea of how much livelihood generation could be done through a little innovative thinking and efforts. Gratitude was expressed to Chris Blake, Director, Mill Board, Wales, and Dr Sanjay Bhowmick. More than 30 gharat owners attended this workshop from Uttarkashi, Tehri, Sahaspur, Thano Gaon, Koti, Dhalani and Dehradun. It was also decided that a network of water mill owners would be created to assist them develop the market, brand their products, discover other associated activities for income generation and develop linkages with state government institutions for support. The initiative undertaken by Anu Sain, Azaan Hussain and Rishika Agarwal, BBA students of School of Business, UPES was appreciated by one and all at the workshop, wherein they had displayed charts prepared by them that depicted the current use of gharats and also tried to visualise the future use in the state for enhanced incomes and employment generation.