Padma awardee Shyam Sunder Paliwal turned Rajasthan village into oasis

Jan 26, 2021 01:50 PM IST

Shyam Sunder Paliwal, a former Piplantri village council head in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand, said the focus has been the girl child, water and trees, their protection and conservation

When Padma Shri awardee Shyam Sunder Paliwal, a former Piplantri village council head in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, lost his daughter in 2006, he began a campaign in her memory of planting 111 saplings to celebrate the birth of every new-born girl. The panchayat opens a fixed bank deposit account in the name of the new-born as part of the campaign. The parents of the girls are supposed to nurture the saplings and also sign an affidavit saying they would not marry off their daughters before 18 or practising female foeticide.

Shyam Sunder Paliwal shows the plantation done at the Pipalantri Model Based Pasture land Development at Gram Panchayat Tasol, at Rajsamand district, Rajasthan. (HT Archive)
Shyam Sunder Paliwal shows the plantation done at the Pipalantri Model Based Pasture land Development at Gram Panchayat Tasol, at Rajsamand district, Rajasthan. (HT Archive)

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The Piplantri village has, as a result, survived Rajasthan’s chronic drought and water scarcity thanks to the campaign. The campaign has also involved building check dams on the pastures on nearby hills to recharge the groundwater level under Paliwal leadership and turned Rajsamand into an oasis full of trees.

“The handwork put in by the village and its people have paid off. The daughters have become self-reliant. The award by the government has honoured us,” said Paliwal.

Paliwal said the focus has been the girl child, water and trees, their protection and conservation. “We are now working on the development of pastureland and water conservation.”

Paliwal has been awarded India’s fourth-highest civilian award in the social work category.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sachin Saini is Special Correspondent for Rajasthan. He covers politics, tourism, forest, home, panchayati raj and rural development, and development journalism.

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