Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The future of India lies in its villages.” He firmly believed that to put an end to the vicious circle between rural and urban displacements, villages must be made self-reliant.
One such story is of kadbanwadi water conservation. The village of Kadbanwadi in Indrapurtaluka, of Pune in Maharashtra is the perfect example of self-reliance.
The village had a barren land and was considered good for nothing. Since, agriculture was the most common practice among villagers, it was a common sight to see them leaving for other employment opportunities, including menial labouring jobs. Also, the majority of shepherds suffered due to severe shortage of water for their livestock. Besides, the kids had to drop out of school and were required to accompany their parents in search of vegetation to graze their cattle.
But if you visit kadbanwadi today, you will be amazed to see transition in its fate. It now has turned into a place,59-year-old Bhajandas once desired,an Adarsh Gram or model village.
Teacher Bhajandas, who grew up in Kadbanwadi, was the first person from his village to have graduated with a Bachelor’s in science. Inspired by the works of Anna Hazare to make his village-Ralegan Siddhi (self-reliant) through water conservation, he decide to transform the fortunes of his villagers by making Kadbanwadia model village.
Knowing the complications and the determination to turn his vision into reality,Bhanjandas undertook training in water conservation at Ralegan Sidhi in 1994, under the Maharashtra Government’s Adarsh Goan Yojna.
After the completion of his training,he along with his friend, returned to the village and set up a trust to start a water conservative system.His idea was to conserve water while also avoiding soil erosion. The villagers undertook the inventiveness to dig out 2-3m deep farm ponds to facilitate water storage. They covered the walls and base of these ponds with lining paper to avoid infiltration.
The act became popular in the village, and it started to pay rich dividends. Once considered as a barren land, is now a luxury to villagers. Kadbanwadi water conservation act lead to the creation of 100 farm ponds. In addition to 3 percolation tanks, 27 cements nala bunds and 110 earthen bunds.Moreover, the farmers earlier were increasingly dependent on rainfall to grow jowarand bajra, but today the land is so fertile that it is used to grow pomegranates.