Skip to main content

How Gujarat’s rural poor fought drought with help of water structures in arid Rapar-II

In this concluding part of the report, we reproduce the case studies selected from a wide number of water structures that NGO Samerth supported to build in Rapar taluka of Kutch district. These water structures helped the rural poor fight drought in the peak of summer this year. The photographs, clicked by Samerth team in May 2016, are a testimony of the success of the massive intervention:
***
Chitrod gram panchayat has a total population of 5820 people out of which 1494 live in the five vandhs around it. The population of the entire panchayat consists of Patels, Muslims, Harijans and Kolis. Most Koli families live in the vandhs. The total number of cattle in the village is 4688. Out of the total 1300 families, only 897 have tap connection in their homes. The Narmada water supply is erratic, as of May 2016 it was once in 7 days in village and 15 days in vandhs. In 2014, Samerth undertook the renovation of its Gam Talav (village pond – to be accessed by everyone) in line with a high demand from the community. It also featured as highest priority in the water security plan. The pond was renovated with support from a private donor and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act MGNREGA) – a sanction of Rs 4,92,000, with 150 people working for eight weeks).Hussain
We reach Chitrod in the afternoon, and are still wondering if we will have any visitors to the pond braving the heat. And sure enough, within few minutes of our reaching there, we meet 27 year old Hussain and 10 year old Shivang Koli. Hussain looks at us dispassionately, he has face that says that he has seen it all, and his eyes seldom show any change of emotion. Between him and Shivang there is a herd of 107 animals of sheep and few goats, all the way from Rava vandh, which is at a distance of 3 kms from the pond. The animals belong to a couple of vandh families.
Hussain is a cattle rearer and for the past many years would migrate to work as a salt pan worker near Gandhidham. He is illiterate and has never gone to school. Shivang, his 10 year old neighbour has also never gone to an aganwadi or school, as traditionally for six months each year his parents would migrate to work as charcoal or brick kiln workers. For Hussain, there was no school or aganwadi in his vandh when he was growing up. Most vandhs do not have any aganwadis even today. But Hussain is aware that his two year old son needs to go to a school if he wants a different life for him. He says this is second year in a row when he and 50 households of his vandh have not had to migrate post-monsoon.Shivang Koli
The water in the Gam Talav has given them the assurance to stay back and look for other livelihood alternatives in and around their village. He says he got his job card made only last year, as he realized that there could be an option to stay back in the village. When asked about aganwadi, he says that this year, since most families have stayed back in the village, they are now talking to the panchayat to provide them with an aganwadi- as the nearest one is 4 kms away.
The pond he says, has given him a reason to dream for a different future for his son. And with that we can finally see a flicker of hope reflected in his eyes.
We then travel to Kanmer to see the renovated gam talav and it is nearing sunset. The beauty of the Kanmer pond makes one forget that we are in the middle of a desert region, where water is scarce. But it was always not so. Kanmer is a poor village dominated by Koli, Rajput, Harijan and Muslim communities. 232 of the total 262 Koli families live in six vandhs surrounding the village. The total population of the village is 3500 and animal count of the village is 1972. When Samerth initially started working here, the village was facing extreme drought, ponds and wells had gone dry leading to heavy migration – to the tune of 50% from the vandhs and villages of Kanmer. Samerth team had a meeting with the villagers, including the sarpanch and other members of local administration and they suggested MGNREGA work for the five ponds of the village.
The villagers were enthusiastic but the sarpanch was skeptical. She, like many others, feared the extra workload that would come with MGNREGA work (accounts etc.) and refused to initiate it in her village. A personal meeting, followed by enumeration of the impact of the ponds in future, convinced her to take it up. Finally five ponds of Kanmer were restored with Samerth support under MGNREGA. A good monsoon ensured that not only were the ponds full, they could also recharge 50 other wells of the region. This has helped 78 poor families of the area to take up two crops cycle and also farm cumin – a cash crop, bringing the migration down to 10%.
In a while we see a herd of cows coming our way. For a while it seems like they are on their own, but then we see two little boys managing a herd of about 60 cows! The boys are shy to tell us their names but say they are koli boys from the vandh and have walked about an hour to get to the pond. They do not go to school, as they would accompany their parents to Gandhidham – where they would work as laborers on construction sites. They tell us that last year they could buy 3 cows, since now there is a dairy collection point in their village and it is remunerative business. Some of the cows are from the village they tell us, others belong to their vandh. The happy energy of the boys recharges us and we bid adieu to Kanmer.Roof rain water harvesting structure at Gagodar Campus.
The Samerth campus at Gagodar hosts 70 people on an average; there are 60 students of the residential hostel for children whose parents migrate. Two families of Samerth staff also live here, thus bringing the number to 70.
Though there is a Narmada pipeline connection at the campus, Samerth has four roof rain water harvesting structures that together harvest 65000 litres of water. A well has been built on a natural slope zone that can recharge 60,000 to 65,000 liters of water. The water structures are a boon to the campus and take them through the hot angry summer months, with erratic water supply. 20 such structures with water tanks have been constructed in vandh areas too, which have no ground water.
Mewasa, is a small village with a population of 983 members, predominantly from Patel (50%), Bharward (31%), Koli (10%) and Harijan (5.5%) communities. Total livestock in the village is 1165, major livestock being sheep – 700 of them. The main form of livelihood is agriculture-related – either in their own fields, or as share croppers, or as a labourer. In Mewasa, we visit the Anditimbi talav that was renovated in 2012. The pond was selected on the basis of geo hydrological testing of the soil. The pond is located close to a cluster of farm lands. The water of the pond is pre dominantly used for drinking – by cattle & humans. There is no water source within 4 km radius of the pond. Earlier a small muddy road led to the pond, which would break every monsoon, making it difficult for people and animals to reach the pond. The talav and the road leading to it were renovated and undertaken under MGNREGA.
We meet Shamjibhai Patel from Mewasa, with his bull at the pond. He is coming back from Chitrod after selling his farm produce at the market. He remembers the time when they would dread a market visit post the winter months, as there would be no water source on the way back and the bulls would get restless. The pond he says would invariably dry up, and they would be forced to hire tractors in order to move around. Shamjibhai owns 15 cows; all of them are brought to the pond to drink water in the morning and evening. He said he has been able to buy cows only in the last two years, since the pond ensures water through the year.Nanda Panchayat
We now travel to Nanda village, where Samerth supported in renovation of a pond and a well with cattle trough. Nanda is a village of 102 households. 43% belong to the Patel community, 40% are Rabaris and about 16% are Harijans. Nanda is one of the far-flung villages of Rapar. It rises like an island in the middle of the desert. The entire village is dependent on the pond and four wells for their water needs. The number of cattle in the village is 500 and animal husbandry is one of the main livelihood strategies. After the renovation, though water dries up in the pond in peak summers, there is always water in the well.
We cross the dried pond bed to reach the wells located at the end of the pond. Here we meet Sursang, Hetubhai and Vashabhai who have come with a herd of 35 buffaloes. Hetubhai tells us that regular water supply has led to an increase in the strength of animals in the village by 30%. This has also allowed three dairies to set up their collection centre in the village – leading to substantial increase in the income of most households, especially Kolis. Sursangbhai points out that kolis, who would earlier migrate and were restricted to charcoal, salt pan work or labor have now diversified into animal husbandry too. The three men then proudly show us the five buffaloes that they have now added to their herd. A meditative calmness descends us as the men get in involved in taking water from the well for their herd.
It is almost evening by the time we reach Sanva village. While crossing the market place we meet the Sarpanch of Sanva, Raimalbhai Solanki, who has come to the bank for some personal work. He graciously puts his errands at hold to talk to us and the impact that renovation of two ponds at Sanva has made. He speaks highly of the Samerth staff training the Paani Samiti (water council) of the Panchayat on maintenance of the ponds, ensuring that no washing up (humans, clothes or animals) happens at the pond reserved for drinking water.
He stresses that the samiti is now very strict in ensuring that water from the ponds reserved for drinking is not used for agriculture purposes, this has arrested water contamination to an extent. This has ensured that water is still fit for drinking.
We then decide to visit Jodhpur vandh, one of the first villages of Samerth’s intervention. About 100 families from Jodhpur vandh would migrate to far off regions post monsoon. These were Koli families, who owned small patches of land and with no water source. Here we meet with Velejibhai, who was supported by Samerth to build a bore well in his farm. Earlier he would migrate every year to other parts of Gujarat, but since the construction of the bore well he has been cultivating vegetables in his small farm, that he sells at the market. He has also been able to buy a pump that helps him extract water when the levels go down. He proudly tells us that during peak summers, people from around the area use the well water for drinking and mornings are reserved for people coming from far off areas on their bullock carts to fill containers of water. Jodhpur vandh water is yet to have Narmada water connection.
Velejibhai earns Rs. 5000 from the patch through which he has been able to sustain his family of three children all of whom go to school, wife and parents in the vandh. He is also involved in MGNREGA work, happening at the nearby pond. He has now been able to buy three cows – previously un thought of and sells their milk at the nearest dairy collection centre.
Seventy such wells were constructed in vandhs and villages which have led to a significant drop in migration. Velejibhai tells us that 80 out of the 100 families have stopped migrating and are now involved in agriculture and animal husbandry.

Concluded

Comments

TRENDING

Vishwanath has been unfairly excluded from global list of 100 best cricketers

By Harsh Thakor  Gundappa Vishwanath scaled zones in batting artistry or wizardry unparalleled amongst Indian batsmen. The best of his batting was a manifestation of the divine. He was also the epitome of cricketing sportsmanship. Sadly 40 years ago he unceremoniously bid farewell to the International cricket world, after the concluding test at Karachi in 1982-83., in January end. Very hard to visualise a character like Vishwanath being reborn today His memories are embedded in cricket lovers today when sportsmanship and grace have virtually been relegated to oblivion with the game of cricket turned into a commercial commodity. Today agro and unsporting behaviour is a routine feature Vishy shimmered cricket’s spirituality. His behaviour on the cricket field was grace personified, No one in his age defined cricket more as a gentleman’s game, than Vishy. Vishwanath could execute strokes that were surreal with his steel wrists. His strokeplay resembled the touches of a painter’s brush,

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Reproductive, conjugal rights of women in India amidst debate of uniform civil code

By IMPRI Team  A Three-Day Immersive Online Legal Awareness and Certificate Training Course on “Reproductive and Conjugal Rights of Women in India” is an initiative of the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, and ran for three consecutive days starting from December 22, 2022 to December 24, 2022. The online paid certification was aimed to provide attendees with an enriching experience on the gender discourse with a special focus on women’s rights and the much-discussed reproductive rights in India.

Covid jabs: Pretexts cited to justify young, healthy succumbing to heart attacks

By Jay Ihsan   Truth is stranger than fiction – when dedicated doctors raised the red flag against the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, they were persecuted and their concerns barred from being heard. These honest doctors unequivocally made it known the Moderna Pfizer vaccines injure the heart and human body. One of them, Dr Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist, has repeatedly issued the clarion call to people to reject these harmful vaccines. An equally alarmed World Council for Health said the harmful Covid-19 vaccines should be removed from the market and the global inoculation must be stopped. “In Japan the vaccines were not mandated or made compulsory. The vaccines are not safe or effective enough to mandate them. The day the vaccines go away will be a day of celebration,” Dr Mccullough had lamented during an interview with India’s media outfit, Qvive several months ago. Meanwhile, the number of people jabbed with the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines died soon after or have developed lifelong

Gender gap 17%, SC and ST levels of education between 7% to 14% below upper classes

By IMPRI Team  The treatment of school education in a holistic manner and improving school effectiveness in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and learning outcomes has been the aspiration of all and multiple challenges are faced to maintain and provide proper education. On the occasion of India@75: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, as part of its series- the State of Education- #EducationDialogue, #IMPRI Center for ICT for Development (CICTD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organised a special deliberation on The State of School Education In India with Prof Muchkund Dubey, who is the President of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta CEO and Editorial Director of the IMPRI. The chair of the event was Prof Jandhyala B.G. Tilak, an Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) National Fellow, the Distinguished Professor at the Council for Social Development, New Delhi and also a Former Professor & Vice-Ch

Rahul Dravid exhibited selflessness in heights unscaled by any other Indian batsman

By Harsh Thakor*  On January 11th maestro Rahul Dravid turned 50. No Indian batsmen were ever more of an embodiment of temperament or grit.as Rahul Dravid. Dravid was the best ambassador of sportsmanship in cricket in his day and age. In his time no Asian batsmen did what the doctor ordered, to the extent of Dravid. Dravid was manifestation of single-mindedess, tenacity and selflessness in sport. One hardly has an adjective to the ice coolness and craft Dravid exhibited in adjusting to the given situation. Rarely did any batsmen exhibit such a clinical o methodical approach to batting.

NHRC blindly followed BSF status report on fencing farmland off Indo-Bangladesh border

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes an open letter of protest against the action taken status report on restriction imposed by the BSF personnel upon the villagers of Changmari near Indo-Bangladesh border: *** I have the honour to inform you that we received one action taken status report dated 11.01.2023 from your Commission in respect of the above referred case from where it is revealed that your authority closed the case based on the report of the concerned authorities. In this connection I again raise my voice as the enquiry in respect of the above referred case was not properly conducted. Hence I submit this open letter of protest for the ends of justice. From the action taken status report of the Commission dated 11.01.2023 it is reported that concerned authority submitted a report dated 18.01.2022 where it is reported that the concerned area comes under the OPS responsibility of BOP Chengmari, 62 Bn BSF and is highly susceptible to trans-bo

Data analytics: How scientific enquiry process impacts quality of policy research

By IMPRI Team  Given the multidimensionality of policy and impact research, tech-driven policy prescriptions are playing a dominant role in the 21st century. As such, data analytics have become integral in this space. IMPRI Generation Alpha Data Centre (GenAlphaDC) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute New Delhi has successfully conducted a #WebPolicyTalk 6-Week Immersive Online Hands-on Certificate Training Course on Data Analytics for Policy Research, spanning over 6-consecutive Saturdays from October 15th to November 19th, 2022. Along with this, datasets for hands-on learning were also provided for data analysis and learning. Participants were required to make a submission for evaluation at the end of the course, to obtain the certificate. This course comprised hands-on data learning sessions and various expert sessions on data discourses. The course especially catered to data and policy enthusiasts – including students, professionals, researchers, and other individuals lo

Brutal assault on Delhi Univ students as fear grips present rulers on rise of dissent

By Arhaan Baaghi  Various democratic student organizations (bsCEM, fraternity, DSU, SIO, AIRSO) had planned a screening of the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question" in the Delhi University Arts Faculty, but the guards of the university and the Delhi police along with paramilitary forcefully detained the students just because we were trying to watch a documentary that scrutinizes the role of Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots. At first when the students started screening the documentary, the electricity of the department building was cut down. Students were brutally beaten by the police and university guards. Female students were also brutally manhandled and beaten. This whole incident shows the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist nature of the government and the university authority that is working as its puppet. An activist of bsCEM was manhandled by a male security guard, who tried to pull out his T shirt. Also various female activist were dragged by male security guards and their h

Great march of migrants during lockdown: Lessons not learned, missed opportunities

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on “The Great March of Migrants During The National Lockdown: Lessons Not Learned and Missed Opportunities” was organized by the #IMPRI Center for Human Centre for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the occasion of International Migrants Day, i.e December 18, 2022. Inaugurating the session, Ms Aanchal Kumari, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists. The event was moderated by Dr Devender Singh, a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists included Prof. R.B Bhagat, Professor and Head, Department of Migration and Urban Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai; Prof Arun Kumar, Distinguished Economist, a Former Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi; Ms Akriti Bhatia, Founder of People