Hiware Bazar - One village 60 millionaires

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by LurkerBaba, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    Hiware Bazar conjures up images of a bustling marketplace, but a few years ago, it was one of the most drought-prone villages of Maharashtra. Today, the rich and prosperous village is a shining example of how sustainable development and change can be brought about with common sense and determination. In 1995, the monthly per capita income was around Rs 830. Now, it is Rs 30,000. The village, which has 235 families and a population of around 1,250, now also boasts of 60 millionaires.

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    But, it was not always like this. Let us rewind to its dark past. “We lived in a poor village, but were happy with our simple lives,” recalls Raosaheb Rauji Pawar, 85. “But after the drought of 1972, the peace was shattered. People became irritable and restless as the struggle to stay alive became severe. Petty reasons were enough to trigger-off bitter quarrels, as there was so much despair and frustration. Villagers started consuming liquor and it added to our ruin. Many residents migrated to nearby cities to work as daily wage labourers.”

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    Popatrao Pawar, 52, was the only postgraduate in Hiware Bazar. So, the youth pleaded with him to contest for the sarpanch’s post in 1989. But Pawar was not interested. In fact, his family totally disapproved of the idea; they wanted him to go to the city and get a white-collar job. Pawar wanted to become a cricketer as he was a good player and his family also thought he had great promise and would play in the Ranji Trophy someda
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    Pawar began by asking the villagers to become proactive towards creating their paradigms for development. The village was caught in a pincer of alcoholism leading to frequent brawls and violence. There were 22 liquor shops in the village. He got them closed after convincing villagers that alcoholism had made them poor and addicted. He got the gram sabha to tie up with the Bank of Maharashtra to grant loans to poor families, including those who were brewing illicit liquor earlier.

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    One of the first things the sarpanch did was water conservation and management as it helped farming and brought in some money. He got the villagers to voluntarily help in rainwater harvesting. Soon, the villagers built 52 earthen bunds, two percolation tanks, 32 stone bunds and nine check dams. “We used state government funds. The volunteer labour programme cut costs and also ensured quality work. It was as if we were building it for ourselves and for our children,” he says.

    Full article: Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
     
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