Picture this. A village inflicted with inter-caste violence
and alcoholism transforms itself into a community jointly managing its resources like
arable land and cattles. Result: return of peace and prosperity. The village under
scrutiny is Sabdoo, Fatehpur, Gaya district, Bihar.
Even a drought year could not keep Sabdoo's ahar dry
The question now is how did this transformation come about?
It all began when the Institute of Research and Action (IRA), a local NGO, mobilised
people of 40 villages to revive a 45 kilometre long pyne (traditional water practices).
Sabdoo is one of the villages, where the work was accomplished without any external help.
Unwritten rules and informal institutions govern the process of distribution between these
Sabdoo went a step further. Tasting the power of
community-based management while conserving rainwater, the villagers decided to mould
their lives around this simple yet powerful concept. "The entire process went on
smoothly, as people wanted to get it done", shared Mahesh, working with IRA.
First, the medhbandhi (farm bunds dividing farmers
land) were dismantled turning the total 125 acres of villages arable land into one
farm, with additional 50 acres. For initial value addition, 25 acres were earmarked for
floriculture and 15 acres for vegetables. Now, instead of the entire village, only 20
people are actively involved in agriculture.The rest are either collectively working on
cattle rearing, fish farming and horticulture or are in the services sector.
The quality of produce is emphasised upon. As a result, an
improvement has been registered in both productivity and income levels. The income is
proportionately distributed on land ownership basis. Few landless families of the village
have got regular work. Significantly, the fights among the villagers (earlier, more than
50 per cent of these were on water sharing) have declined.
IRA, 305 B, Lakshmi Villa,
Mahesh Nagar, POKishori Nagar,
Patna 800 024 Bihar Tel: 0612 - 261977