Nandurbar District (Maharashtra): ‘Dependency on Farming alone can’t liberate the family and kids from hunger thus shifting to city for some petty job is inevitable’- this narration unveils the harsh reality once faced by farmer families of Nandurbar district of Maharashtra. In a district with predominantly (67%) Tribal population, with an area of 5035 sq. km, hunger and poverty were part of life until Dr. Hedgewar Samiti brought the new ray of hope in this region 27 years back.
Today, the tribal society of this region is experiencing the life from a new spectrum, where poverty, hunger and malnutrition have become the things of past. This spectacular transformation in these villages is so evident due to efforts of Dr. Hedgewar Samitifounded by Dr. Gajanan Dange, Mr. Lalit Balkrushna Pathak, Mr. Ranganath Runjhajhi Navele and other Swayamsevaks 27 years back. Initially Sewa Samiti started working in 8 villages of Khandbara Block in Navapur tehsil of Maharashtra. Navapur was once considered the least developed tehsil in Maharashtra but Sewa Samiti changed its picture through a NABARD project under which 500 small farmers agreed to plant Mango and Indian Gooseberry (Amla) saplings and National Conference of Innovation trained the farmers about the “Farm Bunding” that helps in soil erosion and water conservation by digging a pit at the end of slope of a farm.Simultaneously Samiti established schools to educatethe kids of this region till 10th standard. Currentlyaround 500 children are studying in these schools.
Nesu River flows nearby and as per Samiti Secretary Mr. Nitin, “Every year, the day after Dusshehra, hundreds of people gather at the river bank to offer prayers. To solve water problem, Samiti inspired farmers to build a dam on their own without depending on Government to build it for them. Farmers built small dams on Nesu River and irrigated their fields. Now the government has also built 17 pukka dams.
Samiti also took care of finer things which gave financial and physical relief to the farmers. Farmers had to go to Gujrat for threshing which was time consuming, labourious and costly. To solve this problem, Samiti started 13 mills in 13 villages and also gave option to farmers to pay at their convenience.
Labourers were trained to do vegetable farming in their house backyards. Due to a single variety of crop, soil erosion was a common problem. To solve it, vegetables were grown between carries and crop calendars were used. Ms. Tetibai Kushal Pawra got award from NICRA (National Innovation on Climate Resilient Agriculture) for selling best quality of vegetables. She got the training with the help of Samiti at Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
According to Regional Sewa Head Mr. Upendra Kulkarni, This is a war against uprooting and suicide of farmers of which a battle has been won in form of development of these 12 villages.