Umlakro Village falls under the Jirang C&RD block of Ri-Bhoi district in the state of Meghalaya. The village is at a distance of 103 km from Nongpoh, the district headquarter of Ri-Bhoi District and is at a total distance of 155 km from the state capital, Shillong. It falls under Hima Jirang with a total geographical area of 175.60 ha and a total population of 412 villagers. There are various ways to reach to the village, with majority of the people relying on public buses and private cars to reach there on a sharing basis. The formation of this village goes back to the 1960s when forest fires spread across the whole of old Jirang. People migrated from Mnar Jirang to this village with also nearby localities coming together to constitute the village now known as Umlakro.
1. Ground Truthing
Dated: 5th February 2019
The district project management unit (DPMU) of Ri-Bhoi District met with Mr. Intusing Dolloi, the Headman of Umlakro Village, on the 5th February, 2019 for Ground Truthing. He informed the team regarding the current scenario of the landscape and the natural resource management under his headmanship.
- The village has more than 60 HH (81). Out of the 81 HH, 58 belong to the below poverty line (BPL) category.
- It has an actively performing VEC.
- Availability of Community forest (~1 hectare)
- There is no proper access to drinking water. They have four drinking water sources but only one is in use. Their drinking water source is located outside the village.
- Water management is also a huge issue in the village and with no proper access to drinking water and a lack of catchment areas, there has been a rise in community problems.
- The village has anoutstanding growth of Wild Orchids and a unique practice of growing them.
- It was also found that deforestation is high (~20 ha) .
- There are some local tree species which are endangered.
List of natural resources at Umlakro village
- Orchid, jackfruit, banana, orange, pomelo, papaya, elephant apple, litchi, coconut.
- Bay leaves, betel leaves, betel nuts, black pepper, broom grass, lemon grass.
- Brinjal, tapioca, chilli, tomato, pumpkin, neem, green vegetables, yam, ginger, turmeric, mustard, sesame.
- Rice, corn, millets, silkworm (seasonal).
- Pond, streams.
2. Sensitization Programme
Dated: 18th January 2019
The sensitization programme took place on 18th January, 2019 at the Community Hall of Umlakro Village. The headman of Umlakro Village, Mr. Intusingh Dolloi, presided over the programme. Around 50 community members attended the sensitization program, where a significant number of the attendees were women.
The Assistant Manager (Environmental Management), Mr. Reuben Mendakor Shabong, gave a brief introduction on Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA) and elucidated about the various programmes and projects that MBMA is working on, but mainly focused on the Community Led Landscape Management Project (CLLMP). He also spoke about the different aspects and procedures of the project and gave due importance on the objectives of the project and its benefits.
The Assistant Manager (Social Management), Mrs. Baiahunlang Kurbah, spoke on the social aspects of the Community Led Landscape Management Project by giving numerous examples. She also enlightened the various benefits that the community could obtain from the project.
The Program was followed by an interactive session to answer the doubts and questions of the villagers.
- The headman of Umlakro Village wanted to know if the CLLM-Project could help the community build a fence around the community forest.
- The other question raised by an elderly of the village was if the CLLM-Project could aid the community with trainings in agriculture and husbandry
Signing of documents: After the interactive session, the village signed the Expression of Interest (EOI), the Village Grant Agreement (VGA) and Green Charter followed by the selection of candidates for the Village Natural Resource Management Committee (VNRMC). The Village Executive Committee (VEC) and the entire community carried out the procedure and elected the members of the VNRMC on the same day.
Formation of the VNRMC: The formation of the VNRMC was done in a public meeting in the presence of the entire village and the DPMU team. The community members chose the President, the Secretary and the other executive members of the Committee.
3. Opening of bank account
Opening of bank account was initiated after the village signed the EOI, the VGA and the Green Charter. A meeting was also held with all members of the VNRMC of Umlakro Village, where the Programme Associate (Finance & accounts) from the DPMU briefed them before opening the bank account.
4. PRA Exercise
The participatory rural appraisal (PRA) exercise aims to incorporate the knowledge and opinion of the community in the planning and management of development projects and programmes. The PRA exercise at Umlakro Village took place on the 20th March, 2019. A total of 129 villagers took part in this exercise and contributed their time and knowledge to make this exercise a successful one.
5. Development of the Community Resource Management Plan (CNRMP)
The CNRMP was prepared at a village level meeting held on the 5th of February, 2019. A total of 18 men and women from the village, including members of the VNRMC, were present to identify the problems that they want to address through the CNRMP. The DPMU team also made an inspection to the proposed intervention sites of the CNRMP along with Ms. Badasuk Kharkrang, the Technical Assistant under Jirang Block, who is responsible for preparing the estimates of the plans.
6. Project Implementation
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Chief Minister’s visit to Umlakro Village
The Honourable Chief Minister of Meghalaya Shri. Conrad K. Sangma visited Umlakro VIllage as part of his initiative called “Block to Block and villages visit”. The Chief Minister appreciated the people of Umlakro for thinking forward and saying “no to plastic” and for their innovative approach of using bamboo pots instead of plastics bags in raising the saplings in their nurseries. He congratulated the CLLMP officials for the initiative and said that the village can be a model village and an example for others.