Fast depletion of forests due to haphazard road construction, various environmental concerns, has disturbed ecological balance. Large scale illicit felling and encroachments in the forest areas have aggravated the environmental damage. Sai Engineering Foundation envisages supplementing the efforts of Government towards conservation, preservation and development of ecology. The Foundation has worked to popularise the concept of Rainwater harvesting and appropriate Technologies for Water resources Development and Management and to provide water for irrigation, besides managing precious topsoil by reducing the surface run-off.
- Rain Water Harvesting: The Foundation has worked in the field of rain water harvesting. It has constructed or helped construction of a number of rain water harvesting structures to provide water for life saving irrigation in the water deficient areas.
The Foundation has also constructed check dams for rain water storage for irrigation purposes in Dharampur block between the two villages of Chaswal and Answai of Mandi, District. This Block is one of the most soil erosion prone areas of the State. The rain water drains off immediately leaving the area dry and water scarce mostly in summer. This situation attracted the attention of the Foundation and a dam was constructed in collaboration with UNDP-GEF. Final cost of the project came to Rs 67.08 lakh out of which Sai Engineering Foundation contributed a sum of Rs 46.86 lakh and UNDP contributed a sum of Rs 20.22 lakh. It is the only project where Sai Engineering Foundation obtained grant from any funding agency in participation mode where Foundation has contributed approximately 70% of the project cost.
The Foundation has also undertaken the challenging task of constructing rain water harvesting structure for irrigation purpose. The ground water level has been raised and fish farming has also been promoted.
- Plantation of fruit, medicinal and aromatic plants: The Foundation has been distributing apple plants in higher altitude areas of district Kullu /Kinnaur and Mango, Citrus, Pomegranate, Litchi, Amla, and Lemon plants in the low altitude areas. Mahila Mandals have grown nurseries and thus augmented their income significantly. The Foundation institutionalised buy back arrangement for plants from Mahila Mandals for distribution to the farmers free of cost or at a nominal cost.
- Sandalwood Plantation: Recently, Foundation carried out an intensive study for checking feasibility of sandalwood plantation in Dharampur & Gopalpur block. After scientists found the area suitable, the Foundation targeted plantation of one lakh sandal-wood plants to improve economic status of the farmers. In the introductory phase, 12000 sandalwood plants were brought from Maharashtra and the same have been planted through the local farmers toward significantly raising their subsistence level incomes. Once plantation of 1 lakh sandlewood plants is completed, this will bring a revenue of about Rs. 1000 crore in next 15 years to a large number of small and marginal farmers.
- A rain water harvesting structure (dam) is being constructed in village Garli over Garli Khad with the foundation resources without any financial assistance from any funding agency. This will provide irrigation water to agricultural land besides loading to a significant improvement in the biospheres around the water body.
- MORINGA PLANTATION: Moringa is a herbal plant which has numerous medicinal properties. Foundation developed a nursery at Dharampur to provide Moringa plant to farmers.
- ZERO BUDGET FARMING: Zero budget natural farming, is a method of farming where farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides to ensure the healthy growth of crops.
Cow dung from local cows has proven to be a miraculous cure to revive the fertility and nutrient value of soil. One gram of cow dung is believed to have anywhere between 300 to 500 crore beneficial micro-organisms. These micro-organisms decompose the dried biomass on the soil and convert it into ready-to-use nutrients for plants.
An acre of land requires 10 kilograms of local cow dung per month. Since the average cow gives 11 kilograms of dung a day, dung from one cow can help fertilize 30 acres of land.
Foundation has also taken an initiative in this field to set up a zero budget farming unit which will also act as a demonstration unit for all the farmers in the vicinity. This is a pilot project & depending on its success the Foundation shall start numerous such units in the future to increase the per capita income of the farmers.
- DAIRY FARMING: Foundation has also set up a dairy farming unit in Dharampur block. It is targeted to raise a herd of around 20 cows of indigenous breed which will not only provide dairy products to the Foundation’s educational unit “Dr Vijay Memorial Sen. Sec. School” but will also provide with Cow dung & Gomutra which shall be used for zero budget farming.