Green and surviving

IT is at a time like this that the famous Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district -- the handiwork of a social worker, Anna Hazare -- stands out with a difference. It is green and it is surviving. There is indeed stress but no distress.

The village has received only 150 mm to 175 mm of rainfall this year, about half its normal quota. But no one has migrated, and no one has gone out looking for jobs with the state's employment guarantee scheme.

Hazare has got the villagers to make a percolation tank, contour bund the entire watershed and bund each of the 45 nalas. The Maharashtra government has also built thousands of percolation tanks, but in Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare ensured that all the technical details were kept in mind.

While neighbouring villages have not managed even one crop this year, Ralegan Siddhi has grown two. Last month, the farmers harvested onions and now they are waiting for the sweet lime crop. The over five lakh fruit trees that have been planted till today yield fodder, fruit and income.

But one year is already over and the village has water for only two more months. What happens if the next monsoon also fails? One villager asks, "How can we store water if there is no rainfall?"

Ralegan Siddhi has obviously tried its best. Whatever the future may hold, it has shown that good social discipline and ecological management can make all the difference.

Related Content