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   POPATRAO PAWAR- Sarpanch Of Hiware Bazar  
 
 
bhandardaradam About Hiware Bazar   :-  Hivre Bazar, a village in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district. Like many thousands of villages in India, the village fell into economic ruin after the 1972 drought, one of the worst in the 20th century. Hardly 12 per cent of the cultivable land could be cultivated. The village’s wells used to have water only during the rainy season.
    Like from many many villages of India, there was an exodus of people to Mumbai – in search of basic survival needs. This is a punishment zone for government officials.
    After 3 decades, there is a reverse migration to the village. The average income has gone up by 20%. The forest here is well preserved; the fields are green and the residents happy. Crops grown are jawar, bajra, wheat, onion, potato, and vegetables along with floriculture and horticulture. The villages' daily milk production was 250 liters in 1995, now it is 2,600 liters. There is surplus water
 
 
Pravara     In 1989, about 70 youngsters came together and decided to change their village. They requested village elders to allow one of the youngsters to become village sarpanch for a year.Some youth who wanted a change for the better , requested Popatrao Pawar , an M.Com graduate to become the "sarpanch"- village leader. After great persuasion, the elders agreed. Popatrao Pawar , a 26 year old boy , had completed his M Com and was a budding cricketer having played in state team. He was requested to give up his career ambitions and work as village sarpanch. He agreed. He was made sarpanch for a year.  
      He started the transformation with water – availability of water for drinking and irrigation. The village adapted an integrated model of development with water conservation as its core. With local labor donations, the panchayat built 40,000 contour trenches around the hills to conserve rainwater and recharge groundwater. Residents took up massive plantation and forest regeneration activities. Nearly 10 lakh trees were planted. Immediately after the monsoon, many wells in the village collected enough water to increase the irrigation area from 20 ha to 70 ha in 1993. In 1995, the Adarsh Gaon Yojana was launched. Hirve Bazar was selected as the village that could be developed as the model village in the taluka. Under this program, about 52 earthen bunds, two percolation tanks, 33 loose stone bunds were constructed. About nine check dams have also been constructed in a series on the downstream nallah.  
 
bhandardaradam The biggest challenge before Popatrao and his team of youngsters was to win the hearts of all villagers. They started with the village school, which was in shambles. The roof used to leak in rains and the floor was broken. Popatrao’s team repaired the floor and the roof through shramdaan (voluntary labour). This impressed some villagers. In Gram Sabha, people were requested to donate their land for village school. Two families donated parts of their houses. The youngsters repaired it through shramdaan and made it into a part of the school. By the end of the first year, the villagers were quite impressed by the selfless devotion of these youngsters. They decided to allow Popatrao to continue as sarpanch for the next four years.  
 
bhandardaradam Some of the other things the residents of Hivre Bazar imposed on themselves:
   1.Ban on cutting trees
   2.Restrictions on free grazing
   3.Family Planning
   4.Ban on selling or consuming liquor
   5.Shramdaan – Voluntary Labor to the developmental activities
   6.Water Rules –Rules to the distribution and usage of water
 
bhandardaradam Educational Reforms:-  Apart from the water shed management programme, a revolution was also brought about in the field of education also. There was a small school in the village earlier which had only two rooms. The students had to walk a distance of 7 kms to study after the 4th grade. The village reconstructed the school and upgraded it to offer education upto the seventh grade first, high school next and today there is a college in the village. Due to lack of space the villagers offered their land to build the school. Girls had to stay at home after the seventh grade, but today 3 out of 32 students studying medicine are girls. The village boasts of 100% literacy levels. The sarpanch of the village aims at achieving 100 % computer literacy by introducing computer education in schools and later for the entire village. One can visit the village at www.hiwarebazar.org  
 
Pravara Environment Consciousness:-   The villagers are also extremely environment conscious. The village encourages students from the school to plant two saplings every year during monsoon. The student who raises the plants best, is awarded. Through this exercise they were able to plant 10 lakh trees in and around village restoring the natural habitat and migrating species.
   Not just economic and environmental aspects but even the societal concern of the villagers is impressive. There are only two Muslim families, yet the village constructed a mosque. The village makes it's own laws. If there is any crime committed in the village the villagers with the sarpanch, resolve the issues and maintain order without allowing any outside influence. The idea being that if police interfere in the matters of the village then it would corrupt and complicate matters. The village has donated sizeable amount of money to Kargil war and Tsunami victim
 
 
  Participative Reforms:-   Besides bringing about all these changes, while take any new decisions, the sarpanch asks all the literate adults for suggestions in mattering relating to the village. In fact, one of the student's suggestions was to introduce HIV tests for couples getting married, which is being successfully implemented. Today every couple has to go through an HIV test before tying the knot.  
 

 
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