Buchkewadi - Model of Community Led Village Development
  • A right blend of rich tradition and appropriate practices

History

Buchkewadi emerged as a winner against the natural inadequacies. The seeds of success lie in the history

Surrounded by green hills and forest area, Buchkewadi (Vaishnavdham) is located in Junnar, Pune, it stands as an example of innovative concept of village development. As any other Indian village, Buchkewadi too had its share of unfulfilled aspirations and dreams.

Buchkewadi - a small village situated in the famous western ghats of Maharashtra has been blessed with ample rains. However, runoff water could not be utilized efficiently for the benefit of the village. As a result, the region faced severe water shortage during winter and summer seasons leaving the farmers with limited crop choices. Green covering and fodder availability in the village was also a matter of concern. Scarcity of water and decreased soil fertility were the major reasons behind bare minimum agricultural production.

Most of the families were financially dependent on the members, working in Mumbai as Lunchbox Carriers or Dabbawalas. The village was known as a place providing Dabbawalas, who are supposed to be extremely hard working, sincere and experts in management. Unfortunately, these exceptional qualities couldn’t be used in their own farms due to dependency on unpredictable monsoon.

A percolation tank was constructed in the village in the year 1972 for the use of the villagers, but it used to dry up in the months of January & February. It couldn’t contribute towards the improvement of irrigation facility in the village. In the year 1989, a ray of hope was seen when a minor irrigation tank was sanctioned in the village; however, it didn’t work as a solution to the problems. Some farmers lost their lands in the tank’s construction, the compensations were not satisfactory and moreover, they were not able to use the water reservoir for their crops. Farmers of Parunde village situated downstream were supposedly getting the maximum benefit of this tank. After final negotiation between Buchkewadi & Parunde villages, it was decided to lift 40 % & 60% water of this tank, respectively. The situation proved to be a blessing in disguise for the villagers. It inspired the young generation to take hold of the situation and bring a change in their lives.

The Turning Point

On 1st January 1992, an independent Village Council, Gram Panchayat was created through the efforts of Buchkewadi villagers and that paved the way towards change. Apart from creating 8 independent co-operatives for use of irrigation water, the village also started taking steps towards progress with the help of organizations, like Village Council, Gram Panchayat,  Water shed development committee or Guruvarya Kondaji Baba Dere Panlot Kshetra Vikas Samiti, NABARD and Lupin Foundation. This was the beginning for bringing in an innovative concept of village development. Buchkewadi’s development into a model village is a successful example of NABARD project in India, where ambitious interventions and unity met the challenges posed by the neglected village.

The NABARD project has performed to bring more land under irrigation with the help of Indo German Watershed development program. Farmers were made aware about various advanced agricultural practices and motivated to start other supplementary enterprises. Loans were provided through NABARD supported UPNRM program, NABARD, India and other local banks like ICICI, Canara and State Bank of India to encourage the families.

Ample availability of water started the transformation and allowed the farmers to grow cash crops like tomato, potato, onion, groundnut, marigold, chrysanthemum, mangoes and pomegranate. The agricultural products were sold in the Mumbai & Pune markets for better profits.

An innovative concept of “Village Fund” was initiated for village development, which proved to be a source of monetary support for every single family in Buchkewadi. Rupee 1 per crate of vegetable is collected; this collected amount is lent out in form of loans to the villagers and recovered on an annual basis. Entire loan amount is collected in one day and not a single family becomes defaulter due to social pressure. Today, village has accumulated about Rs. 40 lakhs as village fund.

The progress achieved by the village is unique as compared to other progressive villages. Vaishnavdham or Buchkewadi has been united throughout the pursuit of better prospects through the interventions. It is not because of a strong singular leadership, as is the case in stereotype developments. General populace has always been involved in executing adopted practices through voluntary participation. An active participation from entities like, youth organizations or the yuvak mandals , women’s self help groups, Hymn Singers’ associations or bhajani mandals  is now seen in village to bring the change. An unequivocal harmony can be seen in the efforts put in by the men as well as women of the village.

A new dawn is experienced by Vaishnavdham through collective efforts and unity.

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