Hivre Bazar village
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 being imparted.

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 was repaired.

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.

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