Person of the Year
Vol 7 Issue 6, Feb 5 - 11, 2016
    Citizen Reporters      |   | Submit Story
Green WarriorsSocial EntrepreneursUnsung Heroes

Self-help is the best, Jharkhand villagers tell the world by building a dam themselves

   By  Santosh H K Narayan
   Ranchi
10 Feb 2016
Posted 07-Dec-2012
Vol 3 Issue 49

Few months ago, a check dam built by the Jharkhand government’s irrigation department near the State capital Ranchi was washed away in the rains. It caused great anxiety among the people of four villages, Hesatu, Sildri, Khatanga and Gagari, who were dependent on it for their irrigation needs.

The people of the villages - located about 25 km from Ranchi - mostly from the tribes of Santal and Munda, soon got over the shock and decided to build another check dam.

About hundred villagers, many of them youth, offered their labour free of cost to build the check dam

They also decided to build it themselves. That was about three months ago. The community responded with great enthusiasm. 

About hundred villagers offered their labour free of cost, others pitched in with materials for making the sand bags - mostly old cement and fertilizer bags which would be packed with sand - and still others came forward to contribute the rice, pulses, and vegetables needed for making food for the volunteers.

And voila, in just 3 weeks a check dam was built on the stream running through their village. Then, another one was built a few hundred metres away. The sight of water getting stored in these check dams has now given them the confidence to build eight more across the stream.

“Materials were available locally, so that was not a problem. The project became successful because everyone from the community participated in it. We put a layer of hard rocks at the base and then piled up the sand bags over it,” says Devender Thakur, 45, of Sildiri, who mobilized the villagers for the project.

“The stream flows down from the Gagari Mountain and has water throughout the year, but it had never been harnessed before,” says Thakur.

Many youth from the neighbouring villages helped in building the dam, says Jagnu Oraon, a resident of Hesatu.

“We did not pay them any wages. But the idea was so noble that the youth of other villages such as Duhu and Barwe came to assist us. We only offered them food and served it hot,” says Thakur.

The two check dams irrigate about 50 acres of land, where mostly vegetables such as bottle gourd, brinjal, and cauliflower are cultivated.

Government officials are impressed. “It could be a good example to be put before the Green India Mission (GIM) program being carried out in various parts of the country,” says AK Mishra, Additional PCCF and member secretary of GIM for Jharkhand.

Work going on to build yet another check-dam

“The newly launched program (GIM) is not just about planting trees but also is about enhancing farm productivity so that a sense of profitability is attached with the afforestation drive. Here the villagers have used the water from the stream to irrigate their fields and turn them green in the true sense,” adds Mishra. 

At a site where villagers are building another check dam, Ramesh Munda, a village youth, says with a great sense of ownership and pride: “We’re not just building the check dams but are taking efforts to protect them as well. We ensure that the dams do not get damaged by overflowing water or by any human interference.”

The villagers also hope the check dams would stop the migration of local people to cities in search of jobs. “We are hopeful that this trend would change soon with the availability of water for our agriculture needs,” says Thakur.

Meanwhile, the check dam built by the government has sunk into the sand and presents a sorry sight. “Look at the check dam that was built hardly a couple of years ago. It is narrating its own story,” says Jagnu, pointing to the collapsed structure.
 



Print  |  Email  | 
 Share   

You might also like:

Proving a point

Husein Jetpurwala has proved cerebral palsy cannot stop him from achieving what he desires. Rightly so, he is soon to become a homoeopathic doctor despite the condition, says Mauli Buch

Read More

Fighting arthritis

What happens when a woman is afflicted by a debilitating disease in the prime of her career? She soldiers on and helps others to cope. Marianne de Nazareth has the story of Jacqueline Calaco

Read More

Stories on Innovations & Innovators
The Lead Star
adyar bakery
 
Mentoring Tamil Nadu



Popular Stories

Water saver

The innovation by Uttam Banerjee is a godsend to the country that needs to go in for water conservation in a big way. Fitting Zerodor, a polymeric wall, to ceramic urinals would save 50,000 to 1,51,000 litres of water, says Narendra Kaushik

Read More

Space to farm

In the US, Rikin Gandhi aspired to be an astronaut but landed in the pastoral fields of India to develop Digital Green, an initiative that helps farmers. He now feels “people can choose agriculture and be prosperous.” Partho Burman reports

Read More

Master potter

In a government school in Tamil Nadu, students are not just taught but trained to be achievers. Like a potter churning vessels from clay, the headmaster M Karunanithi shapes children from poor homes for big things. P C Vinoj Kumar checks out

Read More

People’s monk

The Roti Bank, started by Tara Patkar and few others, has brought down begging in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region. Narendra Kaushik tells us the story of the journalist-turned social activist who is changing the lives of the local people

Read More

PM’s couturiers

Do you know Jitendra and Bipin Chauhan? Well, you will if we introduce them as the Prime Minister’s personal tailors. The brothers, however, came up the hard way after their father suddenly took to sanyas. P C Vinoj Kumar has their life story

Read More

Living raconteur

Preserving a dying tradition of story-telling in this digital age, Deepa Kiran enthralls people, mainly school children, with her multiple skills. S Sainath profiles the woman from Hyderabad who can explain the power of 2 using a chessboard

Read More

The app man

A school teacher from Rajasthan was toasted by the Prime Minister at the Wembley Stadium during his UK visit. Partho Burman has the story of the self-taught Imran Khan who has developed 54 education apps, besides some websites, all for free

Read More

Walking tall

A matchstick factory sacked him when he joined the communist party and fought for employee rights, but VKC Mammed Koya, a class seven dropout went on to build a footwear brand that’s now making Rs 1500 crore turnover, says Renitha Raveendran

Read More

Road fixer

In the family that names children after freedom fighters, it was natural that he was called Gangadhara Tilak. But he continued the tradition of being a do-gooder, filling up potholes on roads, spending his own money and time, says S Sainath

Read More

Bridging villages

Boatman Sheikh Lalchand of Kulia village in Howrah district has singlehandedly built a bamboo bridge across River Mudeswari, connecting people of three panchayats with the mainland. And the bridge has been rightly named after him, says G Singh

Read More
 
Kudos image

"The Weekend Leader not only gives a glimpse of the better things happening around us but also tells stories of people who made it possible.”

Ajay Chaturvedi, Entrepreneur More Kudos
 
Archives  |   Columns  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Feedback  |   Response  |     |   Cheers!  |   Support Us  |   Friends of Positive Journalism
© Copyright The Weekend Leader.com, 2010. All rights reserved.