Srinagar: When dowry-related deaths and increasing domestic violence in Kashmir are ripping apart the social fabric, this news will certainly put smiles back on your face.
To celebrate the birth of a girl-child, the Jammu and Kashmir Government is coming up with a green initiative under which a tree will be planted every time a daughter is born in the family.
In Kashmiri society, the birth of a daughter has historically been deemed as a burden for a family. Subsequently, the dowry system is still prevalent which contributes to the high cost of marriage for households with daughters.
This can be gauged by the fact that nearly 50,000 women in the valley have crossed the age bar of getting married owing to unnecessary trends and rituals.
Conservator of Forests, Kashmir, South Circle, Irfan Ali Shah Shah told The Kashmir Monitor that the one girl child, one plant program’ aims to recognize women’s rights by honoring their birth.
“Ours is a male-dominated society, where some parents are still reluctant to accept female children. Through this initiative, we hope to celebrate their birth by linking it with environmental conservation at the same time,” he said.
Shah emphasized that the program has been shaped under the guidance of Commissioner Secretary, Forest, Environment & Ecology, J&K, Sanjeev Verma.
“We are mobilizing the Asha and Anganwadi workers for the cause who are usually the first beneficiaries to deal with the expecting mothers. They can inform the concerned forest guards about the birth who in turn may approach the family and spread awareness about the initiative,” he said.
The trees planted will include poplars, conifers, and other fruit-producing trees. “The families can plant the trees in the village land, orchard, or a boundary near the house. The sale proceeds from the trees will go into fixed deposits. Once the female attains the marriageable age, the same money can be used through various girl-child schemes,” Shah said.
Shah maintained that the program is still in its infancy stage and will be gradually carried forward. “We have started on a pilot scale in South Kashmir but will soon take it forward to the entire UT. All the 22 districts of J&K will be covered under it,” he said.