I kindly request you to please read till the end to understand that this online funding campaign is not a charity drive but wake up call from our Mother Nature. We all are well aware about the degradation that has happened in Gir over the years and how lions are at risky of an extinction. We all must understand that without lions there will be no Gir and without Gir there will be no water for Saurashtra. If not done enough to save lions, Saurashtra will soon turn into dessert and all the wellbeing will vanish with it.
This is a call of Mother Gir to make a contribution towards saving the eco system and rich heritage of land. I have single-handedly kept this drive to save our mother land going on for last five years by way of spending my lifetime savings (65 lakh). I have made the documentary film “Khamma Gir Ne” to find out the truth and take up the issue with authorities and the Government. For last two years I have been going door to door in administrative and political corridors of Gandhinagar to make them aware of the heart breaking situation. As part of my effort I have written an open letter to Respected Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani. (you can find the PDF file and link for video of the same here) As on today I have to received any response from his office and as a next step I have presented the matter to our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for his kind and humble consideration. I have all the hope that finally truth will be heard and appropriate actions will be taken. God forbids and if that does not happen as a last resort I will have to take the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi, that is of peaceful protest and Hunger strike.
I have already given more than five years of my life without earning a single rupee for my family’s wellbeing and I am not sure how many more months/ years I will need to reach the final justice. As said earlier I have exhausted all my saving and therefore this campaign has become an compulsion to take this fight forward for our lions and Gir.
Even if my voice is heard and actions are taken by the Government, those actions alone are not going to be sufficient to turn the tide. And therefore as a life time mission following actions and efforts will be needed from our side as we are son of this soil and we need to make our own contribution to save our mother land – Gir.
Khamma Gir Ne Foundation will operate on principle of social entrepreneurship with primary mission of saving Lions, Gir and its Cultural Heritage. It will operate on No profit- No loss model and will be transparent with its assets and expenditures. Khamma Gir Ne Foundation will setup a Gir Maldhari Dairy business to make Pure Ghee, Butter and few other dairy products. It will also have a range of hand crafted clothing, bedding and home decoration items made by Maldhari women. In addition Gir will be promoted through items like Gir and lion print Shirts and T-shirts, caps, jackets, key chains, Photo frames, coffee book and many such stationary items.
Gir lions have moved out of protected area of Gir National park and Sanctuary for obvious reasons best known to everybody and have settled in human landscape of Saurashtra spreading over 24000 Sq. Km. In the current scenario the theory of coexistence has terribly failed and as a result every third day one lion is dying a unnatural death. Only out of box approach and mass awareness can reverse this grim situation.
⦁ Khamma Gir Ne Foundation will form a strong network of volunteers in the villages and towns to bring in the necessary change in environment that will suit lions to survive and coexist with humans. Various awareness programmes will be designed for implementation in schools, colleges and gram panchayats. People will be made aware about the importance of lions and wildlife for their own benefits and prosperity.
⦁ Notorious elements will be discouraged to harass the lions by way of awareness, counselling and even hard legal actions if needed to set an example.
⦁ Various plans and strategies will be implemented to reduce the conflict by way of reducing the probability of human lion interaction and friction. E.g. Creating a wired fencing with flash lights around the village so that lions do not venture into villages at night., Creation of enclosed area for disposal of dead live stocks or burring them in soil.
⦁ Helping farmers to enclose their open wells to avoid accidental deaths of lions.
⦁ Creating natural forest, grasslands and habitat for lions with ample supply of food and water so they do not venture out in search of same.
⦁ Assisting villagers to get appropriate and fast compensation in case they their lives stock is killed by lion.
⦁ Strict vigilance and coordination with Forest Department for stopping illegal baiting and lion shows.
Gir Forest once was dry scrub land and open deciduous forest and the biggest dry savannah forest of western India with more than 400 species of plants recorded in 1955, making it ideal habitat for lions. Unfortunately substantial degradation has happened to the biodiversity of forest with massive growth of invasive weeds like Cassia tora and Lantana camara. It will be difficult to do much in protected area without positive approach and support of the department, But there is vast scope for contribution for improvement of habitat in non protected areas around Gir where equal degradation has happened due to over grazing and land encroachment. Here to some out of box efforts will be needed to improve the situation. i.e.
⦁ Mission Lilu Saurashtra (meaning both green and wet) ten crore trees and ten thousand lakes in ten years
⦁ Encouraging each and every village to have its own natural forest, grassland and water source (lake) These revived forest and grassland can serve as a habitat for lions and also ranch for the live stocks.
⦁ Encouraging each and every farmer to plant native trees in at least 10 percent of his land and have his own water reservoir.
⦁ Encouraging farmers to move towards organic cultivation for long term benefits.
⦁ Encouraging forest based occupations such as honey culture.
⦁ Creation of natural forest patches on wasted/ barren lands.
⦁ Preserving of wetlands and grasslands.
⦁ With little rain, GIR rivers are flooded and there is a huge soil erosion every year. In summer all the rivers are rock dry. Awareness and water management system to be implemented with help of administration and locals.
Maldharis have been part of lion conservation in Gir for ages. They have also played a major role for cultivation of rich cultural heritage and setting high ethos. Unfortunately today this community is in dishearten state due to atrocious stand of department and ignoring policies by the governance. Khamma Gir Ne foundation will bringing in awareness about their basic Human Rights and introduce following schemes to stop the exploitation and uplift their lives.
⦁ Once Gir Ghee (clarified butter) was the prime occupation and source of good income. They will be brought under the social scheme where they will be encouraged to divert back to Ghee production giving them good pay by selling it in the India and International market under the brand of “KHAMMA GIR NE”.
⦁ Encouraging them to breed Gir Cow for A2 milk and ghee.
⦁ Supporting them two ways by way of better price for milk and also with whole sale supply of affordable fodder at discounted rate.
⦁ Supporting Maldhari kids with better education and health services to them.
⦁ Maldhari women are born artists in making traditional cloths, wall hangings, curtains, bed sheets, etc. They too will be given alternative occupation by selling their products under the same brand.
⦁ Supporting and helping them with legal matters of their Right over forest.
⦁ Helping them to get the rightful recognition of their community on national and international platform through projection and promotion of their art and culture.
Gir Reporter is mobile app through which Gir people will be able to report any incident Or news. Also all the news related to Gir will be Published on website as well as weekly news letter.
Youth of Gir will be brought under the umbrella of Sinh Sena to perform the duties for better conservation and protection of lion, carrying out awareness programmes etc.