A real-life hero, Chaitram Pawar from Maharashtra’s Baripada village in Dhule district showed to the rest of the country how with dedication and focused work, the man on the street can do wonders and force the government to sit up and take notice.
At a time when water, or rather the scarcity of water, is leading to water wars, here in this tiny village, Chaitram brought development to Baripada, a small, with just 108 Vanvasi families and a population of just 785.
Singer Mohit Chauhan and Water Warriors came together at one platform to brainstorm ideas for water conservation and rejuvenation. Presenting his success story at the day-long Sustainability Summit Panchjanya and Organizer the flagship publication of 73-year-old Bharat Prakashan (Delhi) Limited, the environmental activist said that in the early 1990s the village faced scarcity of firewood, food, and water due to deforestation.
A hill near the village became barren, and one-third of village wells went dry.
With the help of local NGO, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, he organised the villagers and laid the foundation of self-development, a model that has vowed everyone. What he did was to take full benefit of all the government schemes and get the villagers organised to start the afforestation programme and then tackled the water shortage.
Slowly it became a movement and today there are people from different parts of the country and the world visiting the village to look at how they managed to conserve the biodiversity in their surroundings. Strict punishments for cutting trees, no bullock carts in forests etc, villagers forming watch dog squads.