From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Gaura Devi and her contributions in Chipko Movement
Mains level : Chipko Movement
Union HRD Minister along with senior women officers of the Ministry planted a sapling in memory of Gaura Devi, Chipko Activist in New Delhi.
- Gaura Devi was born in 1925 in a village named Lata in the state of Uttarakhand. She moved to a nearby village named Reni by the Alaknanda River.
- She was elected to lead the Mahila Mangal Dal (Women’s Welfare Association) in the wake of the Chipko movement. The organization worked on the protection of community forests.
Her contributions in Chipko Movement
- Gaura Devi came to notice in 1974 when she was told that local loggers were cutting the trees.
- The men of Reni village had been tricked out of the village by news that the government was going to pay out compensation for land used by the army.
- She challenged the men to shoot her instead of cutting down the trees and she described the forest with her maika (mother’s house).
- They managed to halt their work by hugging the trees despite the abuse of the armed loggers.
- They kept guard of the trees that night and over the next three or four days other villages and villagers joined the action. The loggers left leaving the trees.
- After this incident, the Uttar Pradesh Government established a committee of experts to investigate the issue of felling of trees, and the lumber company withdrew its men from Reni.
- The committee stated that the Reni forest was an ecologically sensitive area and that no trees should be felled there.
- Thereafter the government of Uttar Pradesh placed a 10-year ban on all tree-felling in an area of over 1150 km².