| An inspiring
Meet Popat Pawar, an enterprising sarpanch
of Hivre Bazar, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. As he takes you through a journey of struggles
and tireless efforts that transformed his village from a punishment village to
the one that got Maharashtra its first National Productivity Award for the best watershed
structure at Hivre Bazar
Q: How did the transformation
A: It all started in 1989, when
the youth stood up for a change. About 22 liquor shops, excessive gambling and fights has
ruined the respect, society, ecology and economy of the village. The drought of 1972
marked the beginning of a disaster and they wanted to end this phase. And, when they asked
me to stand for sarpanch, I could not refuse.
Q: Was it a smooth
Q: What was the impact?
A: It was not a easy journey. But we never gave up. After forming the yuva
mandali, we focused on improving the educational standards. The village school was locked
for two months till the state assigned us good teachers. Our first success however, was
also closely followed by our first failure. We did plantation work, which was ruined by
some villagers. Henceforth, we decided to do works only on demand. Our entire focus
shifted to building the moral base of Hivre Bazar in accordance with the path shown by
A: Once the attitude of the people changed everything started falling
in place. Thanks to their diligence, in 1994 under the joint forest management program,
afforestation works were taken up, successfully. Today, the village boasts of a thick
forest cover, maintained by the villagers themselves. In 1995, under Adarsh Gaon Yojana,
watershed works were taken. About 52 earthen bunds, two percolation tanks, 33 loose stone
buds and nine checkdams were built. With increased water availability villagers have
diversified without encouraging unsustained water use practices. Even the state has
acknowledged our efforts by funding a training centre for the sarpanches.
Q: Why is state funding
preferred for village works?
A: It is our money and we want to use it for the purpose it has been allocated.
Q: Are you confident
that the work will continue even when you are not there?
A: For the past one year, all decisions are been taken by the people, themselves.
I am not even consulted, just updated.
(For details: Popat Pawar, Tel: 0241-68719, 68407)