Grass Collection
Grass Collection

Grass Collection

History of Grass Vidis

Since the animal husbandry has been very important in history of this region, the grasslands and grazing areas are considered as imperative part of the society. This has been further fortified by the "white revolution” (also known as "Operation Flood”) which was initiated from Gujarat. It made India one of the largest milk producers in the world. As it is evident from the fact that the foundation for "white revolution” was laid in Gujarat, cattle breeding has been one of the major occupations in this region. In fact, there are communities which solely depend on cattle breeding in this region viz. Charans, Rabaris, Bharvads and other maldhari comunities. There are several other traditional pastoral communities like Jat, Mutva and others. Every community has uniqueness in their animal husbandry practices which have led to many well known cattle breeds of the State. They are mainly residents of Saurashtra, Kachchh and North Gujarat regions.

Grass Vidi Area

The grasslands of Gujarat are distributed over three regions i.e. Kachchh, Saurashtra and Central Gujarat (Panchmahal). The three grasslands regions represent three different climatic conditions, although all of them fall in semi arid and arid zones. The grasslands of Kachchh receive the lowest average annual rainfall while the grasslands of Panchmahal receive the highest average annual rainfall among the three regions. Further, the grasslands of Kachchh region face salinity due to being in vicinity of Rann of Kachchh. However, the grasslands of Saurashtra and Panchmahal do not face this problem. Among the grasslands of Saurashtra and Panchmahal, the fresh water inflow is better in Panchmahal region. Therefore, the floristic composition of grass of these three regions is different. Among the grass species reported from these regions, Eremopogon foveolatus, Bothriochloa pertusa, Apluda mutica, Cymbopogon martinii, Eremopogon foveolatus and Themeda triandra are the most significant.

Gujarat has a total of 614 grasslands which are managed by four Forest Circles (Regional Offices) namely, Junagadh, Junagadh Wildlife, Vadodara and North Gujarat Wildlife Circle. Further, of the 614 grasslands, 145 are reserved and the rest i.e. 469 are non-reserved. Considering the reserved grasslands, Junagadh district has the maximum number of grasslands i.e. 30. Further, Kachchh, Bhavnagar and Rajkot districts have 18 reserved grasslands, each. Similarly, Dahod and Amreli districts have 13 reserved grasslands each. The remaining seven districts have less than 10 reserved grasslands individually. Considering the non-reserved grasslands, Rajkot district has the maximum number i.e. 123, followed by Junagadh and Jamnagar districts.

Management of Reserved Grasslands (Vidis)

The grass collected from the reserved vidis are stocked and reserved for meeting scarcity conditions in the State. Therefore, the grass from the reserved vidis is collected by the Forest Department and stored in godowns or on open platforms. The grass stored in closed godowns is kept up to three years as a buffer stock for meeting scarcity conditions in the State. Beyond this period, the grass is disposed off as per the Government Orders. In case of storage on open platforms, the grass stock is maintained for only one year. During scarcity conditions, the grass is distributed through the Revenue Department as per the grass allotment by the Relief Commissioner of the State.

Management of Non Reserved Grasslands (vidis)

The non reserved grasslands are those which are not reserved for meeting scarcity conditions. These grasslands are allotted to different organizations or local self government bodies as per an order of priority decided by the Government wide the GR no. PRY/102004/Grass/1/G dated 31/8/2006. This order of priority is mentioned below:

  • Local cattle care centers, panjarapols,
  • Local Maldhari Sahkari Mandali
  • Local milk producing society/ committee
  • Local Gam Panchayat

Division wise Grass Vidis Area

The grasslands of Gujarat are distributed over 12 Divisions as per Table-16. In terms of number of grasslands, about 30% grasslands are in Rajkot Division. However, considering the area of grasslands, about 37% of the total grassland of the state is in Kachchh Division. Further, many Divisions are distributed over more than one district. For example the grasslands of Jamnagar and Junagadh Divisions are distributed over three districts.

Division wise Grass Collection

Gujarat has been historically facing partial drought almost every year and acute drought at every three years leading to scarcity conditions adversely affecting its crop and cattle. The scarcity situation has improved in the recent past due to the network of Narmada Canals particularly in Saurashtra. However, partial scarcity conditions are faced by some part of Gujarat almost every year. Since scarcity conditions (of various degrees) occur almost every year in Gujarat, the state has created a strong institutional mechanism for scarcity relief during scarcity periods. The management of grass is a major component of relief operations. The year wise grass collection from the reserved vidis (grasslands) during 2015-16 and 2018-19 is at Table-17.

During 2015-16, a total of 168.78 lakh kg of grass was collected by Forest Department from the reserved vidis. It increased to the tune of 193.48 lakh kg, 245.93 lakh kg, and 205.7 lakh kg during the years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, in the same order as per Table-17.

Grass Storage

Considering the 13 Divisions having grasslands, a total of 219 Grass godowns and 52 open platforms are present. The Division wise details are given atTable-17. These 219 grass godowns have the storage potential of 404.0 lakhs kg while 96.7 lakhs kg grasses can be stored at collection platforms of the 13 Divisions as perTable-18.

Grass Distribution

The grass collected from the reserved grasslands by the Forest Department is stored by the Forest Department as buffer stock to meet the fodder requirement during scarcity conditions as per the condition mentioned in the Government order of Agriculture Department PRY/102004/grass/1/G dated 31/8/2006. This grass is distributed by the Revenue Department as per the latest rate sanctioned by the Government of Gujarat. The details of grass collected by Forest Department and grass distributed by Revenue Department during 2005-06 to 2018-19 are as Table-19.

Photos of Grassland

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