Mewat Panchayats Resolve to Create Model Villages
“Inspiration often leads to action.” This was the case for the Panchayat (village council) members of 3 villages in the district of Mewat, Haryana. The model village of Gomla inspired the Sarpanches (village council heads) to start development programs in their own villages.
Gomla village is in the Mahendragarh district of Haryana. It is an amazing example of effective village governance. Government schemes and funds enabled Gomla’s village council to develop the village without external help. The state has recognized Gomla to be a Nirmal Gram (clean green village).
After a visit to Gomla, Charan Singh, Sarpanch of Jatka village, population 1362, called a community meeting. He stated that his top priority was to free Jatka Panchayat land from illegal users. Once Charan Singh gathered support from opinion leaders and panches, the council went ahead with the campaign. “I was inspired by Gomla. I wanted to see my village developing on similar lines. I really congratulate Sehgal Foundation for showcasing such inspiring development models in our very own state,” says Charan Singh. He raised Rs. 560,000 and Rs. 100,000 from MGNREGA and Third Finance Commission. They used this money to bring about change for their community.
Today, Jatka is well equipped with household latrines, wastewater disposal systems, and proper pathways. The village school is now equipped with the necessary facilities. They have a proactive School Management Committee (SMC). The committee works hard to maintain and further develop the school.
“Gomla Panchayat was truly inspiring. All the infrastructure developments in the village came from the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA),” said Usman. Usman is the Sarpanch of Kherli Khurd, a village of 1240 people. He added, “When I returned from the visit, I was determined to start with education as a top priority for my village. I revived the School Management Committee (SMC) and put aside the funds from the committee for infrastructural development and school maintenance.”
Kherli Kurd suffered from extreme levels of filth. Wastewater frequently flowed onto the streets, making it difficult to pass through at times. Villagers were initially uninterested in Usman’s development plan. One villager remarked, “I was not at all moved by the Sarpanch’s plans. I thought he was making tall claims and giving out false promises, as many prior Sarpanches had done. But when we saw the execution of these plans, our spirits were on a high.”
Usman began with the construction of soak wells on water-clogged Panchayat land. During their construction, they were able to free the land from illegal use. He was also able to complete his most successful project by reviving the village’s School Management Committee (SMC). Along with the SMC, Ushman was able to complete a renovation of the school building. They also improved the running of the local Anganwadi (day care center for children aged 0-6 years). The Chief Minister recognized the SMC for its accomplishments.
“We were sure to succeed at bringing about a change in our villages. The mobilization and technical support from Sehgal Foundation led us to witness Gomla’s success and emulate it here,” echoed the Sarpanches of Jatka and Kherli Khurd villages.
Sehgal Foundation Work
Sehgal Foundation has been working closely with the Panchayats of both the villages since 2011. Kherli Kurd has successfully completed many development projects to date. They built tiled pavements through the village with Rs 18 lacs (Rs 1.8 million) in funds from MGNREGA. They also received funds from the Mewat Development Agency to make lanes in front of the poorest households in the village.
The Panchayats of Jatka and Kherli Khurd generated their own revenue by leasing out available cultivable land for Rs. 60,000. They used this revenue to make drains and lay pipeline for proper wastewater disposal. Government schemes have made another Rs. 47.69 (4.769 million) available to two of the villages. Kherli Kurd is well on its way to becoming Mewat’s Gomla.
The village of Mundaka has undergone phenomenal development due to the efforts of Sarpanch Amar Singh. Sehgal Foundation mobilized construction of 44 soak pits in households for wastewater disposal. Soak pits collect wastewater for treatment, and recharge into the ground. This drastically improves hygiene standards throughout the village. Local materials like pebbles and boulders are used to construct soak pits. The pits cost less than Rs. 500 ($10) each.
Open defecation is a large problem for villages without sanitation facilities. Toilets have been constructed in 30 below-poverty-line households and 90 above-poverty-line households in Mundaka. The Sarpanch has also undertaken work on ponds, streets and drains with MGNREGA funds.
These three villages have shown that by encouraging community participation, Panchayats can initiate change. The successful completion of development projects leaves villagers with a sense of accomplishment.
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