Rusen Kumar from Mandala
JABALPUR: Vodafone India, second largest telecom company, started massive plantation drive today at Kanha-Pench wildlife reserves to develop India’s first wildlife corridor, promoted by any corporate sector under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rout. Vodafone Cares, initiative under corporate sustainability practices aims Vodafone offices carbon footprint neutral.
Vodafone will invest around Rs 2.50 crores to plant 3,00,000 trees over a 3-year period over 100 hectares of forest land between the two reserves at Mandala district of Madhya Pradesh. Plantation works started form village Rata in Mandala district located 100 km away from Jabalpur. The site of green project is in Sijhora Range and would be jointly protected by three villages -Pocha Majhipur, Jogisoda and Chandiya.
“ We generate around 33 million kg of carbon footprint by our offices and business operations. We are very much committed to reduce our carbon footprint and our massive plantation drive, an unique project will contribute towards environment sustainability. We have a plan to invest Rs. 2.50 crore for the green project.”, Ashish Chandra, Business Head – MP&CG, Vodafone India informed IndiaCSR.
“Our project partner Grow-Trees.com will ensure for the maximum survival rate of the plants. We will be monitoring very frequently the whole initiatives to make sure the project success.”, He said.
“In addition, we will be able to support livelihood opportunities, enable reforestation and create a corridor between Kanha and Pench to facilitate habitat connectivity in tiger breeding areas. Madhya Pradesh is endowed with rich and diverse forest resources. With 9 national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries, almost 25% of the state is covered with forests”, he added.
“Home to a large tribal population and an attractive tourist destination, these forests provide a source of income to several thousands. This initiative with Grow-Trees.com is our way of supporting conservation of an importance natural resource and means of livelihood. Local community will take care of the plants ”, he said.
This green belt project will create about 25,000 workdays of direct jobs mainly for women and tribals inhabiting the area in addition to supporting several allied livelihood generating activities such as farming, fruit and honey gathering etc. on a sustained basis.
A variety of trees, including Karani, Harra, Baheda, Bamboo, Khamer, Ladiya, Mango and Amla, that are local to the region will be planted. Saplings of these are already being grown in the special nurseries funded by Grow-Trees.com.
“Vodafone India is committed to supporting sustainable initiatives that benefit all – the organisation, the community and the environment.”, Rohit Adya, External Affairs Director, Vodafone India, said.
Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and Pench Tiger Reserve straddling Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are important habitats for the tiger population in central India. As tigers need large home ranges to ensure population viability, it is important to ensure habitat connectivity between different breeding areas.
The Kanha– Pench corridor therefore gains high importance in the efforts to save the tiger and other wildlife. Such a corridor is vital for the long term survival and viability of tigers as it connects smaller tiger populations in Pench to larger populations such as at Kanha.
Without these linkages tiger populations isolated within individual tiger reserves face a higher risk of extinction due to poaching and loss in genetic vigour over generations. A tiger straying out of a forest also has to confront a range of challenges such as hostile villagers, retaliatory poisoning for livestock kills, poaching, and electrocution by live wires, apart from road and rail traffic that cause further fragmentation of forest cover. The trees planted will help improve the forest connectivity between Kanha and Pench and provide a sheltered corridor for tigers and animals to traverse between the two reserves.
Bikrant Tiwary, CEO, Grow-Trees.com, the implementing partner of Vodafone Green Projects said, “We have Vodafone India as our corporate partner to support this novel project of wildlife corridors for enlarging wildlife habitats. The size and scale of this private reforestation initiative is the biggest till date in the country. The planting process on site will be led by our on ground partner FES (Foundation for Ecological Security).”