A film, based on the conservation efforts of villagers in Nagaland, won the Golden Beaver Best Film Award in the institutional category at the 6th National Science Film Festival in Mumbai. The film, Nagaland is Changing..but!, was also awarded with the technical excellence award for best sound design.
The film is based on how the villagers of Sendenyu and Sukhai in Nagaland have been conserving a part of the forest around their villages for many years now.
These forests are called Community Conserved Areas, where no hunting, fishing, or cutting of trees is allowed. Anyone who is caught breaking the law is fined and the region has now turned into a lush green forest.
Animals that were once considered extinct are being sighted again and many trees with flowers are blooming once again.
“It’s a great boost for community conservation efforts by villagers of Sendenyu and Sukhai villages, Nagaland forest department and the community conservation areas in the state,” M. Lokeswara Rao, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Nagaland, told The Telegraph.
But the conservationists also have to fight a daily battle. The reserve was formed on land donated by private owners. While some of the villagers want their land back, others want hunting to be allowed again. But in spite of the problems, the lack of support and funds, the communities are firm in their efforts.
The film has been produced by Nagaland State Forest Department, directed by Gurmeet Sapal, and made with the technical support of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi. The festival was organised by Vigyan Prasar of the Department of Science and Technology, from February 9-13, at the Nehru Science Centre in Mumbai. The director received the award from filmmaker M. S. Sathyu.