Hardevsingh B Jadeja
Jadeja, the former head (sarpanch) of the village council
of Raj-Samadhiyala village in Rajkot, transformed the socio-economic
status of his village by implementing water harvesting projects.
He is now the taluka pradhan, looking after 93 villages. A
post-graduate in English Literature, he had organised the
people in his village to take up 12 watershed management projects.
He also initiated the drive to plant trees. Today the village
is one of the most prosperous in the area boasting over 3
crores in earnings and cultivating two crops despite the drought
situation. The once-water starved village no longer faces
drinking water scarcity thanks to his efforts.
Harshdevsingh B Jadeja
Ph: 9825075246, 0281-285246
Bhai Suvagia, Saurashtra, Gujarat
Concerned over the water level in the region of Saurashtra,
which had receeded from 15 m in 1990 to 120-210 metres in 1998,
Mansukh Bhai Suvagia, a 37-year-old government servant decided
to initiate steps to tackle the problem.
With the help of villagers, he launched a Lok Fund scheme
and collected more than Rs 1 lakh to build 17 check dams in
the area. "These are the cheapest check dams in the whole
country," says Suvagia.
Well-planned locations and building according to the requirements
were the two main reasons for the low cost of construction.
Cost was further reduced as the villagers built the dams themselves.
Suvagia's wife Rasila helped him out in his work by mobilising
the village women to get involved in the building of the dams.
Four dams have been built in the area with the help of local
At present, in over 100 villages of the Saurashtra region,
money is being raised to build dams. The amount of money collected
ranges from Rs 1-5 lakh. Jamka village in Junagadh district
is successfully carrying out the work of building check dams.
The village is 1,011.7 hectares in area with a population
of 3,000 and the area under cultivation is 809.4 hectares.
Even though the area has one river and four rivulets, the
water supply is inadequate. Moreover, with 1,200 bore wells
the water level has gone down to 200 metres in the last 15
years. The villagers started constructing the dams in 1999
and so far, 51 check dams and two ponds have been built to
harvest water. As a result, the water situation has improved
and the farmers are able to cultivate kharif and rabi
crops even during drought conditions. Mansukhbhai projects
the profit as around Rs 3 crore in the years of good rainfall.
This includes money from agriculture, livestock and trees
used for afforestation. "It puts the government in a
very bad light," says Suvagia. He is all set to spread
the message to the rest of Saurashtra and has already created
awareness in about 500 villages. He feels that CSE is doing
a good job of spreading the message of self- help to other
parts of the country.
Roland Martins is the driving force behind Jagrut Goenkaranchi
Fauz. perhaps Goa's most effective grassroots organisation.
He has led many protests against unsustainable tourism projects.
One of his notable campaigns has been against the government's
plan to freeze a 75-80-km stretch of coastal Goa for 19 luxury
hotels. The plan was eventually scrapped. Then there was Operation
Cold Turkey against drug traffickers and Operation Blockalds
to spread awareness about aids. Despite many successes. Martins
remains a foot soldier. literally for he uses public transport
and figuratively for his perusal of the mission.
Premjibhai Patel had to go to Mumbai for work in 1975 but the
fast-paced lifestyle and a desire to do something meaningful
perturbed him endlessly. Finally, he returned to his village
Bhayavadar in Upleta block of Gujarat. There he brought about
a revolution of sorts. One that showed people that the answer
to the fuelwood problem in the arid region was growing simply
more trees. This also solved the problems of erosion and water
shortage. Now, he is concentrating on the construction of traditional
check-dams in Upleta.
Sham|ibhai Jadavbhai Antala has many names - Pied Piper of Saurashtra.
rainmaker. one-man army and messiah. He has accomplished the
Impossible In a land with a history of severe water scarcity,
hostile climate and rocky topography. He has ensured that the
fields remain green by teaching people the Importance of rainwater
harvesting. "The success rate." says Antala. "is
counted by the awareness level and here It is 100 per cent."
Shamji Bhai Antala
Ram-Krupa Opposite bus stand