• A unique 225-km yatra taken out through remote villages and hamlets in western Rajasthan, which culminated at the Jaisalmer district headquarters earlier this week, has put forth the demand of protection of orans or sacred groves, which face the threat of destruction with their land being allotted for renewable energy infrastructure and high-tension power lines.
  • Orans also form the natural habitat for India’s most critically endangered bird, the Great Indian Bustard (GIB). Many birds have died during the last few years because of collision with power lines, making this the most significant threat to the majestic birds.
  • The participants in the march on foot, who were mostly environmental activists and wildlife enthusiasts, highlighted the significance of orans, which are groves of trees with a rich diversity of traditional flora and fauna and waterbodies, considered sacred and preserved by the locals.
  • Environmental activist Sumer Singh Bhati, who led the yatra, told The Hindu that the allotment of their land to solar and wind energy, mining and other industries was affecting the ecology of the region.
  • Tradition dictates that no tree or plant in the groves is cut and only seasonal grazing of livestock is allowed. However, solar power companies have resorted to arbitrary action and felled trees to install their big projects. About 60 activists, who traversed through about 50 villages and hamlets in Jaisalmer district for nine days with a camel cart, apprised the villagers of the issues involved in their agitation and raised awareness among the local communities.


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