Uttarakhand came into existence two decades ago but there’s still a lot to be done, when it comes to the overall development of the state, especially the rural areas. The pandemic forced several people, who had migrated to bigger cities for better opportunities, to return however, they are finding it tough to make ends meet due to lack of jobs in the state.
While government is doing its bit, many citizens too have come forward to help uplift those in need and tackle the issue of rampant migration from Uttarakhand. Colonel Anand Kumar Thapliyal, SM (retd.) too is among those, who are striving hard to create livelihood opportunities for their people in the hills.
After serving the nation, the Army veteran decided to return to his native land. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, he bought land in Ghandiyal, which is located a few kilometers away from Pauri, and started cultivation there. One to always lead by example, Colonel Thapliyal is working hard to develop the area sustainably, one goal at a time.
He is developing his orchard and has planted scores of trees in his land, and is also doing organic farming inside his polyhouse. As the area is water deficit, he is using drip irrigation to water and nurture his plants. The Government of Uttarakhand too is lending its support to his initiative. Col. Thapliyal says that government must come out with innovative schemes to attract veterans and other retired people to return to their roots. He feels that they can set up small scale industries or do farming, and help create jobs for locals and encourage reverse migration.
As wild hogs and monkeys are a major menace in the villages of Uttarakhand, Colonel Thapliyal is urging villagers to grow crops like ginger and turmeric, which have high market value and are not damaged by wild animals. He has also constructed a cozy pre-fabricated house for himself there. Pre-fabricated houses are economical and can be made at a much expedited pace as compared to conventional brick and mortar construction (It took him just one month to construct his double story home!).
When asked why he left his comfortable life in Dehradun to start this new venture from scratch, he said, “I was born and brought up in the village. I still cherish the good old memories of my childhood. After retirement, I felt it was time to give back to the society and thus, decided to return to my village and contribute in whatever way I can.”
When quizzed about the opportunities available to those, who want to come back to the hills, he stated, “As I see, there are ample opportunities of which horticulture, tourism, setting up of solar plants and home stay are just a few. Government is also helping those who are eager to work in these fields.”
We surely need more responsible citizens like him to make our state reach the pinnacle.