Despite strong legal interventions, female infanticide is not unheard of in certain parts of India. However, thanks to Shyam Sundar Paliwal, former panchayat (or village head) of Piplantri in Rajasthan, the birth of a girl child is celebrated with the planting of 111 trees—and the initiative has transformed the ecology of the village.
Once a completely barren village in the desert state of Rajasthan, Piplantri now has over 300,000 trees, which has not only ensured better air quality and attracted biodiversity, but has also brought water back to ground level when it had had fallen almost 800 feet below. The village residents now enjoy a cooler environment and also save electricity.
Piplantri has become a model village and a case study in sustainability for communities and cities around the world. It also sends a very strong social message to villages across India that the birth of girl children is a cause for joy and celebration.
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