Wanaparthy: Socio-cultural and economic transformation of a village into a model village is not easy. It takes years of hard work and dedication. Though there were many villages transformed into model village after the formation of Telangana, there is one gram panchayat which has worked for almost a decade persistently, to achieve the status of a ‘model GP.’ Though a cultural transformation has happened, there is still a long way to go, to achieve self-sustainability in terms of economic development of the people.
It all started more than a decade ago, when an industrialist tried to setup an iron factory in Chinnamandhadi village of Peddamandhadi mandal. The villagers not only resented the attempt but were also successful in raising a movement to stall those attempts. What started then, led by well-settled natives from the village, with the help of NGOs and the political establishment, was a path to achieve a total transformation.
Under the Bharat Nirman Yojana, three volunteers from the village were trained by the then government under a time bound plan for all-round development of villages. Around 60 villagers had also attended the training sessions held in Rajendranagar back then. The villagers formed a Village Development Committee (VDC) and followed by sub-committees for the development of different sectors including health, education, agriculture, temple, sanitation etc. Gram sabhas were held and villagers were taken into confidence for the new effort.
First, an age-old Lord Hanuman temple which was in ruins in the village was reconstructed. Every household contributed Rs 1000 for this. Some of them even contributed Rs 12 lakh and Rs 2 lakh. What stands there now is a beautiful temple built at a cost of Rs 18 lakh. The villagers themselves formed a team and installed electricity poles besides clearing weeds.
Impressed by the efforts, Bala Vikasa of Warangal donated a RO water treatment plant, for which the villagers built a room using funds collected from the villagers. Then Vandemataram Foundation extended help through their initiative which was then called ‘Melu Kalayika’. The then CBI Joint Director VV Lakshminarayana adopted the village and was able to raise Rs 10 lakh for taking up developmental worksd in the village by convincing the then Rajya Sabha Member Sujana Chowdhary. Benches for the village’s upper primary school were bought, solar electricity was installed in the school, LED bulbs were installed across the village and other works were taken-up.
In 2013, the villagers launched a drive to increase the green cover in the village by planting saplings across the village. A dumpyard was constructed and door-to-door garbage collection was also done long back. A few years ago, the GP has also resolved not to allow sale of alcohol inside the village.
After Telangana formation
After the launch of Swachh Bharat campaign by the NDA government, the next target was to make the village Open Defecation-Free (ODC), which was achieved last year, after the GO was declared Swachh GP. More funds were granted in the form of appreciation from the Centre. The villagers used the money for beautification of the village and to place steel dustbins along the roads in the village. All walls, public places, bus shelter, gram panchayat office, library, even walls of houses were painted in ‘Shilparamam-style designs’ making the village beautiful. Ten CCTV cameras were also installed at important locations across the village.
The villagers also bought tree guards to protect around 1000 saplings planted across the village as part of Haritha Haram. They also planted 17,500 saplings in government lands in a hilly area close to the village. The villagers also geo- tagged each and every sapling and assigned watchers to keep a watch on them.
An auto rickshaw would go from sapling to sapling, pouring water through a pipe throughout the day (50 litres for each saplings in 10 days), with five trips per 100 saplings in a day. The villagers would also administer organic fertilisers to the saplings prepared within the village for quick growth. This way, they have assured 95 per cent survival of planted saplings.
“Our idea is not to plant 40,000 saplings and let 38,000 of them die. For the past decade, every year, we have been planting 50 saplings and this year we planted 1000. We want to take care of each and every sapling which we continuously monitor. Recently, we were able to buy a tractor for the gram panchayat through GP funds and we will use it to water the saplings planted in the government lands,” V Surya Chandra Reddy, Sarpanch of the village told Telangana Today.
There is a strict rule in the village that no one would be allowed to cut a tree, unless it is for agricultural purpose, that too with a condition that the person has to get permission from GP and see to it that he/she plants 10 saplings and takes care of them in return. There have been instances where cases were booked against violators of WALTA Act by the GP.
Recently, Chinnamandhadi found its place among the 97 GPs across the country selected by the World Bank to fund for construction of dry/wet garbage segregation and organic manure preparation station, for which land has been allotted by the GP right next to the dumpyard and its architectural design has also been finalised. Foundation stone for this structure which is being constructed at a cost of Rs 4 lakh may be held anytime this month. The GP is also encouraging the villagers to make organic manure out of their kitchen wastes by demonstrating it in containers placed at the entrance of the GP office. The village has achieved rapid progress in single-use plastic ban in the village and no shop in the village is allowed to use plastic covers.
The village has also achieved considerable progress in digging soak-pits with soak-pits have been dug In 110 households. But because of delay in getting funds, 200 soak-pits were pending, for which proposals have been sent and would soon be constructed, according to J Bajraju, vice-president of VDC, adding decentralisation of powers was done in the village by forming sub-committees under the VDC and by ensuring transparency by maintaining 50 registers for every task in the GP.
‘Plans afoot to make village hub for supplying vegetables to Hyderabad’
On being asked about what lies next for the people of the village in terms of economic prosperity, Sarpanch V Surya Chandra Reddy, told Telangana Today that a well-though plan has been made to make the village a hub for supplying vegetables to Hyderabad.
“Our target is to grow vegetables by encouraging 20-30 farmers from the village, even if it means each one of them cultivating vegetables in 1/4th acre land. The idea is to supply three tonne vegetables to Hyderabad every day through common transportation by buying or hiring a truck. By doing that, we can make around Rs 60,000 per day, which would mean Rs 18 lakh per month. Even if we deduct a cost of Rs 2 per kg vegetable, still it would be a cost of Rs 6000 per day for transportation,” he informed.
“We want to see that every farmer cultivating 1/4th acre should earn Rs 20,000 per month. We are asking them to maintain a record of cultivation, input costs, profit, loss and other aspects of farming for one whole year, so that further analysis could be done after that. We have also started cultivating organic paddy in the village, which is high in demand in Hyderabad and can fetch Rs 65 per kg organic rice,” he added.
Reddy said that a lot has been done during the past decade to achieve a cultural transformation in the village and only after an economic transformation, can the model-village concept could achieve its ultimate goal of running micro-level sustainable socio-economic model to realise Mahatma Gandhi’s Gram Swarajya dream.