Healing hearts, greening fields

By Jamuna Rangachari

September 2016

By Jamuna Rangachari

Jamuna Rangachari meets Tripti Jain and Biplab Ketan Paul whose simple but powerful devise, the Bhungroo, is enabling marginal farmers to store excess water during the monsoon for use in arid summer

Biplab Ketan Paul with the  women whose lives he transformed. Note the Bhungroo in the hand of the woman on the rightBiplab Ketan Paul with the women whose lives he transformed. Note the Bhungroo in the hand of the woman on the right

That we are experiencing an ecological crisis is an understatement. Yet, most of us find it hard to adapt our lifestyles to the demands of the Earth. It is therefore doubly gratifying to meet people who are not only leading the life ecological, but also creating tools to help overcome the crisis. Best of all, they are doing it the Gandhian way with the focus on the poorest sections of society. Meet Tripti Jain and Biplab Ketan Paul, who are putting smiles on the faces of village women through the invention of the Bhungroo.

Tripti Jain, who hails from Ahmedabad, had always wished to work to improve the environment around her. She did her graduation in environmental engineering in Gujarat, and then went abroad for her post graduation in sustainable development. After returning to India, she worked in the area of policy making. Simultaneously, she also explored the environment around her, both in urban and rural areas. During her journey, she met her husband, Biplab Ketan Paul, who was active in the rural area trying to make their lives better.

Love bloomed, they married, and also started redefining sustainable development itself.

It was Biplap who created the Bhungroo, in his quest for creating sustainable water sources for the locale. “Farmers in Gujarat face a unique challenge. On the one hand, their fields are waterlogged due to heavy rainfall during monsoon, and on the other hand, there is a dearth of water for irrigation in summers,” he says. His technology filters, injects and stores excess rain water in the subsoil strata in the form of water lenses. This takes care of the waterlogging, as well as forms a source of water during the arid summer.

Tripti was concerned about the women physically struggling to secure water over eight dry months. When the monsoons arrived, they clambered through waterlogged farms and flooded neighbourhoods. She noticed how in both cases it resulted in poor smallholding women-headed households being
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