Tharuni, a voluntary organization (NGO) working for the welfare of Adolescent girls, Women and the Aged, started working in the area of Rural Development and adopted a village named Katrapally in Rayaparthy mandal to make it a Model Village. This project has been named as Samagra Grameena Vikasam.
Katrapally is a remote village with a population of about 5,000 and is 46 km from Warangal. Katrapally like any other villages in the district was facing all the problems like Factionism, Naxalism, casteism, un employment, poverty, no crops due to lack of irrigation facilities, drinking water, debts for farmers, and other social problems like child marriages, HIV/AIDS, dowry, women abuse, etc.
Samagra Grameena Vikasam Programme
Katrapally – a Model Village
After Independence we have seen 11 Five year Plans for the development of villages, but still we are in the process of realizing Nehruji’s and Gandhiji’s dreams of “Grama Swarajya”! Gandhiji envisaged we can consider our country as developed country only when the villages are developed. Basically India’s strength is our villages and our agriculture. We almost forgot about our villages and we are concentrating only on cities. Even after enjoying freedom for so many years, our villages are mute witnesses of neglect and under development. We are unable to provide minimum basic amenities for our villagers. Villages are still languishing in Illiteracy, poverty and social problems. One or two instances like “Relagoan Siddhi’ or other Model villages developed by few noble souls who had to sacrifice their life for the development of one or two villages is the only relief we find when we think of our Indian villages. The crores of money spent on Rural Development never reach our villages and we get to remember the villagers only during elections and Census studies! Most of our villages are centers for Factionism, Naxalism and other dirty politics. The efforts made by the different Governments did not yield any results only because they never thought of involving the people living in the villages. Lack of People’s participation is the main reason for the failure many rural development programmes.
Keeping this in view Tharuni, a voluntary organization (NGO) working for the welfare of Adolescent girls, Women and the Aged, started working in the area of Rural Development and adopted a village named Katrapally in Rayaparthy mandal to make it a Model Village. This project has been named as Samagra Grameena Vikasam.
Katrapally is a remote village with a population of about 5,000 and is 46 km from Warangal. Katrapally like any other villages in the district was facing all the problems like Factionism, Naxalism, casteism, un employment, poverty, no crops due to lack of irrigation facilities, drinking water, debts for farmers, and other social problems like child marriages, HIV/AIDS, dowry, women abuse, etc. When the village came under newly formed constituency thirty years back, MLA was elected from this village. Although MLA was from this village, nothing much was happened for the development of the village. The Panchayat rottened with corruption and people lost confidence and stopped paying the taxes. The farmers were under the control of few selfish Landlords who use to give them the required loans and buy the produce at cheaper rates. Almost all the farmers were having debts up to 50,000 and they had no hope to pay back due to continuous drought.
Tharuni’s first intervention was – organized a Free Health Camp in the village bringing doctors and specialists all the way from Hyderabad. This has helped in generating some hope among the villagers. Then slowly Tharuni by holding regular Gram Sabhas, constituted about 20 functional committees making all the villagers responsible for the village development. These committees look after various issues like drinking water, sanitation, health, education, street lights, agriculture, medicinal plants cultivation, irrigation, watershed, forestry, animal husbandry, poultry, employment, self help groups, housing, tax collection, farmers clubs, communication, temple activities and social problems. The village Sarpanch is the convener and ward members are also members in the committees. The village secretary helps in coordinating the programmes. Mandal officers guide the villagers.
Within a short period of time this experiment by Tharuni is worked out well and had shown good results and age old problem of drinking water was solved by just spending few hundreds of rupees instead of Lakhs of rupees estimated by the Government. Two small tanks in the village were made into perculation tanks after clearing the bushes to improve the ground water levels. About 60 villagers worked for 15 days to clear these bushes voluntarily. After many years now, the fishermen are able to get benefits and earning profits. Street lights were installed after the villagers started paying taxes. Street lights are being maintained by the residents living near the electrical poles. Thus, making people feel that it is their property. About 60 acres of agriculture land belonging to 56 poor farmers was brought under the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants to improve their economic status with the help of State Medicinal Plant board and Excel Company 9separate note attached). These farmers were taken for exposure visits to East and West Godavari districts. 400 individual toilets were constructed by involving the community and materials were purchased at a lower cost in large scale, thus reducing the cost of the project. The sanitation committee played a major role in this successful programme. This has been adopted by the ISL Department and scaled up in all other villages in the district. During Vanamohostavam, 6000 fruit bearing and 600 medicinal plants were planted in the village. The high school results were improved last year after involving the parents in a large way. The big tank in the village was desilted by the farmers during summer and they got the irrigation canals repaired for better irrigation.
Miles to go— it has taken only one and half year to achieve all this. But it may take some more time to bring all the development needed. Tharuni is confident now that the villagers can take the lead in the future!