Hivre Bazar village in Nagar taluka of Ahmednagar district, has emerged
as a role model. The recognition has spread far and wide - DRDA is
extending financial assistance for the construction of training centre
for the sarpanches. State got its first National Productivity Award
due to the works done in Hivare Bazar.
An M Com with profound interest in cricket, Popat
Pawar is the force behind all the changes that transformed
Hivre Bazar since 1989. 22 liquor shops and the bad habits of gambling
and fighting eclipsed the village and its progress restricting the
inhabitants. The direct adverse impact was visible in the form of
migration of families to meet their basic survival needs. Agriculture
and all the allied activities were unprofitable.
The day dawned when a group of young people decided that things
have to change for better. And, asked Popat Pawar to stand for the
position of sarpanch, as he was not only literate but was also aware
of the issues. Despite of the opposition from the family he fought
and became the sarpanch for a year. During this period, he worked
to improve the village's moral environment. Due to village's bad
reputation the administration and deputed teachers for the village
school considered as punishment posting - creating an environment
not favouring learning. As a result for two months school was locked
by the villagers with the demand that the gates will reopen as district
administration deputes good teachers for the village school. This
was their first step in the right direction. Later in the following
years, concrete steps were taken by the villagers consciously to
improve the standards of education and environment in which it is
In 1972, when the village's percolation tank was constructed under
drought relief work, one of the village's wrestlers was given the
task of supervision. In 1982 under the similar circumstances it
Out of 217 households only 12 are landless. Total geographical
area of the village is 976 ha [about 500 ha is arable] that is divided
into three micro watersheds. Of this 70 ha is the forestland, which
has been developed while working with close cooperation with the
forest department. Presently, its entire management is villages'
responsibility. The department even does not have their guard to
protect the reserves. This relationship between the department and
the villages was painfully developed. In 1992, the forest department
rejected the request of the villagers, as the villagers due to free
grazing ruined the departments' earlier works. However, the villager's
persistence made the department reconsider in 1994, bringing joint
forest management (JFM) programme to the village and the results
are evidently visible to everyone. Under JFM and EGS water and soil
conservation works were taken up in the upper reaches.
In 1995, the Adarsh Gaon Yojana was launched. Hirve Bazar was selected
as the village that could be developed as the model village in the
taluka. Under this program, about 52 earthen bunds, two percolation
tanks, 33 loose stone bunds were constructed. About nine check dams
have also been constructed in a series on the downstream nallah.
Crops grown are jawar, bajra, wheat, onion, potato, and vegetables
along with floriculture and horticulture. The diary sector has also
registered a remarkable improvement. In 1995, the villages' daily
milk production was 250 liters, which is 2,600 liters, today. Even
35 families, who have migrated to Mumbai and Pune, have returned.
The most remarkable change is that during the 'Ganpathy Utsava',
instead of many idols the entire village got one idol, thus saving
about Rs 21,000 /=, which were gifted to the wife of a Kargil martyr
living in the neighboring village. During the Latur's quake, the
village has generously and collectively donated. Attitudes have
undergone a sea change. Other instance is when 'samodayik kheti'
(people normally don't employ labour - two or three families work
collectively in each others farm. Thus, solving the problem of labour
and creating an environment of social cohesion, where people readily
come together and work together) is prevalent in the village, primarily
due to non-availability of labor. The village is also maintaining
a patch of land where 100 different species of plants are duly preserved.
The group had a lively discussion with Popat Pawar. This part of
the journey they enjoyed the most. Popat Pawar's personality and
willingness to take action in time bound manner impressed the most.
His interest and efforts to see Hirve Bazar survive without him
left many satisfied that the works and attitudes would sustain,
as the entire village is involved.