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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.

For details:
Harshdevsingh B Jadeja
Vill. Raj-Samadhiyala
Dist Rajkot
Ph: 9825075246, 0281-285246

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Mansukh 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 women.

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.

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Roland Martins
Jagrut Goenkaranchi Fauz, Goa

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.
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Premjibhai Patel
Bhayavadar village, Upleta block of Gujarat

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.
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Shamjibhai Jadavbhai Antala
Saurashtra, Gujrat

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."

For details:
Shamji Bhai Antala
Ram-Krupa Opposite bus stand
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