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Bridge funded by WLT is a ‘lifeline’ for Indian villagers

10 August, 2015 - 16:43 -- World Land Trust
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Children and a WTI Field Officer at the opening ceremony.
 Smt Hiramoni R Marak cutting the ribbon.

World Land Trust (WLT) has helped fund a hanging bridge for the people of Jade Gindam in India, as a compensation measure for the protection of the Rewak-Emangre Elephant Corridor.

The bridge’s funding and construction was managed in partnership with Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

Jade Gindam, a key village on the Rewak-Emangre Elephant Corridor, situated in the Indian state of Meghalaya, was declared a Village Reserve Forest in 2013 because of its importance as a traditional migratory route for elephants in the Garo Hills.

The Village Reserve Forest designation reflects a commitment by the community to take responsibility for local conservation efforts. In return the conservation organisations that funded the corridor made a commitment to improve conditions in local villages such as Jade Gindam.

The bridge was built to allow villagers safe passage to adjoining areas during the hazardous monsoon season. The water-level rise in the monsoon season is dramatic, with the river rising by tens of metres overnight. For the past 15 years people either had to swim across the river or be isolated from the surrounding area for two to three months during the rainy season.

Construction began in 2014, and an official opening ceremony was held on 3 June, 2015. The bridge was inaugurated by Smt Hiramoni R Marak, the Nokma (Chief) of the village.

Changing attitudes

Speaking at the event, the Nokma recalled how in the past people were averse to WTI’s work and even protested against the wildlife conservation work in the region. Smt Marak said: “Under such hostile circumstances, WTI could have given up but they never did and finally good has overcome the bad and the result is this hanging bridge which we have always dreamt of. We will no longer be cut off from the rest of the area during rains and would not lose our belongings while crossing the river. It was usual for people to lose their weekly ration and shoes while trying to cross the river.” 

Another Jade Gindam resident, Bosnath N Marak said: “This is not a bridge but a lifeline for the people of this village which gets cut off from the main town for almost two to three months during monsoons. We are grateful to WTI-WLT for this support.”


With a permanent bridge in place providing a route to surrounding villages, local people have better access to healthcare and supplies. School attendance rates have increased because pupils are able to go to school throughout the year, with improved job prospects as a result.

More information

You can support WLT’s conservation work in India by donating to the Indian Elephant Corridors Appeal.

Donate to the Indian Elephant Corridors Appeal »


Submitted by Dominic Belfield on

A superb piece of careful cooperation and creative thinking... Well done to all involved.

It's a tribute to WTI 's strength of character to persist with cooperating with these people even when they were not very enthusiastic about considering our concerns. They clearly had their own reasons, and fair enough. But by not giving up and by deploying careful negotiation skills, everyone gets something we all want (and need). .. A 'win - win' outcome. Excellent, let's do more of this!

Submitted by Alan Lane on

Lovely to see that WLT and WTI are working together to create an elephant corridor in Meghalaya state in NE India.
However, as the WLT is very concerned about rain forests in South America an SE Asia, I can advise you that there is only one tropical rain forest in Assam. It is the Dehing-Patkai forest that is located in Upper Assam on the border with Myanmar (Burma). This particular rain forest is very dear to my heart as I used pass through it many times during my time in Assam. Sadly it is fast being denuded of the forestation and urgently needs proper protection. It is the only area of India that has seven cat species within its area of forest.
If you are interested in knowing more about this forest that badly needs protection, and the animals within it, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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