Indiacsr News Network
HIWARE BAZAAR, AHMEDNAGAR: ‘Swachh Bharat’ may be the new buzz word after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a clean India but one village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra did it ten years ago.
In a state which has a record for farmer suicides, Hiware Bazaar’s 236 families, comprising of 1,233 people, boast of 60 millionaires and just three families living below the poverty line. It is also spotlessly clean.
This transformation was brought about by Popatrao Pawar, who after completing his studies in Pune, returned to the village and was elected ‘sarpanch’ (village chief) in 1990.
“In 1982, the situation of the village was very bad,” Shri Pawar told Media. “There was no employment, no water, no electricity. In 1990 I came to this village and became the Sarpanch and my vision was to make the village the village I saw when I was a kid.”
“Now, in the village, we have schools up to 10th standard. Our focus is not limited to literacy alone but we want to develop a culture in our citizens. We wanted to eradicate drug addiction, improve the environmental conditions and improve sanitation facilities,” added Shri Pawar.
25 years ago, this village was like any other in Maharashtra. Poverty, hunger and desperation had forced many villagers into alcoholism and some like 56-year-old Pandurang Kadam had left for Mumbai in search of a better life.
But today, Shri Kadam is back and lives a prosperous life.
Shri Kadam told to Media, “Earlier I had no money and was heavily in debt. Earlier there was no food. Now we have food and money. All this happened because of our Sarpanch”.
By adopting sustainable crop patterns and making the most of government schemes, today the village has flourishing horticulture and dairy farming projects.
The water table here is far better than surrounding areas as over 11 lakh trees have been planted over the years. Water resources are uniformly shared and the village managed on its own during last year’s drought.
But that’s not all. Hiware Bazaar has done what India is trying to do. Every house here has a toilet.
“We told the entire village the importance the toilets. We told about the benefits and they later agreed to build toilets,” said Monika Padir, a Class 10 student.
The students spend an hour everyday cleaning the entire village, including toilets. This is a practice that has been followed for years and this ensures the village is spotlessly clean.
With a water conservation system that provides for the entire year, concrete roads and streets lined with trees, Hiware Bazaar could put any Indian city to shame.
The task, villagers say, is made possible by community-oriented development where the entire village participates.
While Hiware Bazaar has already won many awards from the state and centre, its latest goal is to ensure that the remaining families living below the poverty line become land owners and thus self-sufficient.