Jamshedpur, May 16: Tata Steel today organized a ‘Mukhiyas meet’ at Tribal Culture Centre, Sonari. Popatrao Pawar, sarpanch of Hiware-Bazar village in Maharashtra, showed “The Road to Development” to village heads (mukhiyas) of East Singhbhum at the meet. Sixty mukhiyas from East Singhbhum were present at the event.
“First and foremost, do not take up any work on caste lines. Requirements of the locals should form the very basis of every project you undertake,” said Popatrao whose village Hiware-Bazar in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, recently found a special mention in Prime Minister’s `Mann ki baat.’
By adopting water management and conservation measures, Hiware-Bazar has scripted its own success story of fighting drought and attaining prosperity.
“If you want to change your village, you will have to first start with yourself. As a village head, you first need to set an example for others. Only then you can expect the locals will follow you and extend their support,” said Popatrao, who has been Hiware-Bazar’s sarpanch since 1989.
He suggested the village heads to work on his “5-point development approach” to transform their villages into a model one. “Potable water, roads, power, health services and brotherhood — it’s my 5-point strategy for transforming any village. If you can cover all the five in your tenure, I see no reason as to why your village won’t prosper,” said Pawar.
Highlighting some of the measures adopted in his village to counter the acute water shortage, Popatrao said, “We have been facing shortage of rainfall since decades. Groundwater table has gone acutely low in our regions. We used to have surface water over 25-20 years ago.
To fight water scarcity, we banned water-guzzling crops like sugarcane, banana, etc. We resolved no bore well would be dug in the village. We started water auditing. All this gradually helped the village to solve its water woes.”
Popatrao also answered question posed by village heads about development projects in sectors like health, education, agriculture, etc.