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A Catalyst in Rural Development

NREGS Madhya Pradesh

1. Magic of Harvesting Water: Galia, a villager living in Surani Panchayat in Dhar district understood the importance of soil moisture for getting a good crop. However, he had no money to invest in a structure that would help him to harvest water which would lead to better crops. After NREGS started, he approached the Gram Panchayat for getting a small farm pond constructed on his land. The Gram Panchayat constructed a farm pond on the lands of 33 needy families like Galia. This also gave wage employment to the people of the village. The increased soil moisture and the availability of water for protective irrigation from the farm pond enabled Galia to get 10 quintals of farm produce. The twenty three thousand rupees (Rs.23,000/-) that the Gram Panchayat spent on the farm pond has brought rich harvests for Galia and other like him. The have now learnt to harvest water and crops, ensuring prosperity in the long run.

2. A Farm Labour Employs Farm Workers: Phoolobai, a widow living in Gorakhar village in Betul district used to have a hard time keeping fires burning. Her husband had died young and her sm

all plot of un-irrigated land did not yield enough for the family. Her son had to discontinue his school education. She and her son worked on the land of other farmers to earn their livelihood. The Panchayat constructed a well under the Kapildhara sub-scheme of NREGS, on her land. In the first year, she earned Rs.10,000/- by selling her produce. Now, she grows vegetables on her four acres of land and sells them in the market. Her son Arjun, has stated going to school again. She also engages other needy labourers in her field to assist her. From being a poor destitute labour, Phoolobai is now a self-sufficient woman, who is also providing employment to others.

3. A Pond of Hopes: The placid water of the farm pond mirrors the hope and self assurance reflected in the eyes of Hiralal and his wife Premvati. The farm pond constructed in their land by the Gram Panchayat of Amanal village in Mandla district from NREGS funds has enabled them to grow vegetables on a piece of land that was lying fallow for 7 - 8 months every year. Today, they take a crop and then they grow vegetables like brinjals and chillies on the field bunds. They have also stocked fish seeds that have grown. This is a source of additional income for them. NREGS has brought self sufficiency for Hiralal's family.
4. Nothing Is Far Now: A small all weather road, connected Jova village of Narsinghpur to new opportunities. The village, which remained cut off due to lack of a road remained backward and people used to migrate in search of better opportunities. Works opened under NREGS provided wage employment in the village itself. Phool singh, who used to go out earlier in search of a job, now finds work in the village itself. Janki Bai, a farm labour works on the NREGS worksite in peace, knowing that her little baby is being taken care of in the creche provided under NREGS. The labours are now connected with modern financial systems because their wages are paid through bank accounts. The road built through NREGS funds has fulfilled the sarpanch of Jova, Smt. Devkunwar Parihar's dream of ensuring that all pregnant women of her village can reach the hospital easily for delivery. She glows with pride as she looks at the road, safe in the knowledge that pregnant women and sick children will never have to die a painful death at home during the rainy season because of lack of road connectivity.

5. Enthusiasm Is Back: Jeevan lal, a poor farmer living in Kons Gram Panchayat in Satna District, had lost all enthusiasm in life. His small un-irrigated patch of land barely yielded enough to survive. Then, the Panchayat constructed a well under Kapildhara sub-scheme in NREGS, on his land. "My miseries have now ended" he says with a sparkle in his eyes. During the last season, he grew onions on his field with the help of water from the well. These have fetched him a good price in the market. He now looks forward to growing many more healthy and profitable crops in his land.


6. My Work Is Being Praised Now: Chamanlal Panchtilak of Bhitola in Birwa Gram Panchayat in Balaghat district, is an important man today. After all, he is the man whom the district collector himself has visited. Till a little while ago, Chamanlal was just another poor farmer. Then, a Kapildhara well was dug on his land by the Gram Panchayat. Showing great enterprise, Chamanlal decided to grow vegetables on a patch of land which when un-irrigated yielded just enough for him to survive. Today, he stands proudly amongst his field of healthy vegetables. People from neighboring villages visit his field to see his success for themselves and seek his advice. His fame has spread so much so that the district collector, himself visited to see the impact of Kapildhara and congratulated Chamanlal.


7. Collective Efforts Upscales Productivity: The farmer of Sihaval block in Sidhi district knew the problem. They also knew the solution. But, they did not have the means to adopt the solution. Farmers like Lokmani Yadav, Jagaprasa Kevat, Ram Sevak, Ramji, Rajmani, Mohan Singh and others were frustrated because each year the rain water took away precious top soil and left little moisture for the summer months. They knew that building bunds along their fields would check soil erosion and increase soil moisture. However, they had no money to do this. NREGS can do their help. 1100 running meters of field bunds were constructed at a cost of Rs.90,000/-. All the farmers laboured together to build the bunds. Their efforts have paid off. Soil erosion reduced considerably and the productivity has grown up. Collective enterprise has almost doubled the farm production.

8. Kapil Dhara Brings Smiles: Many have bid adieu to abject poverty like Juggu Dhannaji, Balu Dhuraji, Andar Singh Bhanaji, Badrilal, Ramaj, Nandu Dulha, Nandu Nagu and Dulli Bai, Amar Singh. They belong to Bisalkhedi Gram Panchayat in Aalot Janapad Panchayat in Ratlam district. The wells constructed under sub-scheme Kapil Dhara have ensured water even during the summer. These small farmers can now compete with the resource-rich farmers. They have got a good yield of rabi and vegetables. Jaggu informs that he has a little more than two hectare land. "I was taking only Kharif crop because I had no irrigation facility. For the rest of the year, my family members used to work as farm labour in the fields belonging to well-off farmers. The irrigation facility I have got under NREGS has really proved a precious gift. " We stand tall now; with a new found confidence," he adds, with a new found confidence.

09. I Got The Way To Prosperity: "Nandan Phalodyan" a sub scheme of NREGS has changed the destiny of a villager, Tawal singh who belongs to Gram Panchayat Kuklah in Gotegaon block of Narsinghpur district. Though Tawal Singh owned 0.646 hectare land, this piece of land was not enough for the survival of his whole family. His family barely subsisted on the income from the land. But, in the month of June 2008, Tawal Singh came to know about the "Nandan Phalodyan" sub-scheme of NREGS. He got interested and decided to get the benefit of this scheme. After detailed discussion , the Gram Panchayat sanctioned a project of Rs . 4.58 Lakh for him. Tawal Singh planted lemon trees on his land. He also get wage employment during the plantation work on his land. He tends to the plants lovingly. At the same time, he has also started growing vegetables on the land, which has brought him a regular income. The State Quality Monitor Visits his plantation regularly and advises him about the care of plants. Tawal Singh's life is now full of hopes.


10. One Tank Many Benefits: Inadequate availability of water was the main curse for the villagers of Gram Panchayat Malwasi in Bajna block of Ratlam district. Lack of water meant that their farms were un-irrigated . In order to survive many of the villagers went out to seek work. This problem of the villagers diminished as soon as the Gram Panchayat decided to make a tank in the village. Gram Panchayat of Malwasi proposed to make a tank under NREGS on a government land. After approval of the proposal a tank was made in an area of 2 hectares. During the construction of the percolation tank, 137 job card holder families of the village got wage employment. In this project, 3067 person days were generated out of which 1626 person days was generated by women only. This percolation tank has proved to be boon for the villagers as they got employment in their own village . At the same time the water from the tank provided sufficient water for irrigation and improved soil moisture. With the help of this tank, the villagers of surrounding villages also got moisture in their fields. In the tank there is water round the year. remained around the year and about 5 hectare lands are irrigated through this water. At the same time, animals need not move far from the village for drinking water. Now villagers of Malwasi are getting many more benefits through this percolation tank. The water of the tank not only benefited the villagers but it is also increased the greenery of the village. This is the magic of a tank.


11. Guaranteed Growth: "A number of rural development schemes were introduced but did not perform expectedly, NREGS has really guaranteed growth", Observes Ramlal Vaishya - a Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Itar in Sidhi district. He says that NREGS has contributed to the development of villages considerably. His Gram Panchayat alone has witnessed the construction of 85 irrigation wells in just two years. Over 95 thousand hectare has come under irrigation. Two tanks and four cemented roads have really accelerated the pace of development. Field bunding on farm lands has benefited at least 30 families by increasing farm productivity. Recalling the past, Vaishya says that people were not even getting potable water. They had to travel miles to fetch water. It was a dream to have water for irrigation. They used to grow millets to somehow feed their families. Thanks to NREGS, these miserable days are over, he adds. The convergence of NREGS with other rural development schemes like Swarna Jayanty Gram Swarojgar Yojana has doubled its impact on development profile of villages. Ramlala Vaishya, a Sarpancha of Itar Gram Panchayat of Janapad Panchayat Devsar in Sidhi district explains how convergence has brought about a positive change. "Food insecurity coupled with water crisis had plagued all four villages in my Gram Panchayat. Now the scenario is totally different, "he says adding that I have not seen any rural development schemes in last 35 years in Itar Gram Panchayat performing so well." He attributes the ongoing faster developments in villages to implementation of NREGS. Vaishya observes that the NREGA has really proved a catalyst in development process bringing smiles to millions of rural people.

12. Recharging through Percolation Tank The tribal village of Junnardeo Janpad Panchayat in Chhindwara district had learnt to live with water scarcity. Crop production was badly affected. During the summers, many people were forced to migrate because of the shortage of water. Those who stayed behind, travelled 2-3 hours to get drinking water for themselves and their cattle. The advent of NREGS provided an apportunity to the villagers to solve their long standing problem. The Gram Sabha decided to construct a Percolation tank with the help of NREGS funds. This decision changed the lives of the villagers. The construction of the tanks increased the water levels in over a dozen wells in the surrounding area. Farmers like Bhaiyalal, Bharat, Samlu and Vishnu confirmed that water level has increased in their wells. Bhaiyalal has grown wheat for the first time on his small 2 hectare plot of land. The sarpanch of the village Ghudan Uike, smiles as he mentions that 10 families in the village will be taking up fish farming too in the tank.

13. NREGS- for irrigation Medhiki village, situated along side Murna river in Umaria district is now heading towards prosperity. The NREGS has acted as a catalyst in the development of the village. The construction of a storage weir on Ajgarha ghat was started in May 2006 and it was completed by November 2006. There were 0.78 lakh persondays of employment was generated and out of this 0.49 lakh persondays was generated by women. The hard work of the villagers paid rich dividends. The storage weir has enough water to provide irrigation facility to 125 hectares of land belonging to 50 farmers. They are now taking both rabi and khariff crops and are growing crops of their choice. The weir has also raised the water level in the surrounding areas. It also provides ample water for the cattle as well as for other purposes. The farmer of the village are grateful to the NREGS for its impact on their lives.


14. Health Services Within Reach: The People of Kumharau Gram Panchayat in Shivpuri district are familiar with the problem of living without an all weather road. During the rainy season, their village remained cut-off, from the rest of the block. Access to health care facilities was disrupted during the rainy season. When NREGS was launched in the district, one of the first works that the Gram Panchayat decided to undertake was the construction of a road from Agarpur to Kumharau. The road was built at the cost of Rs.2.94 Lakh and generated 2810 persondays of employment. This road now acts as a lifeline for the people living in the village. They take their agricultural produce to the market with ease. They also take their sick family members to the community heath center , Kolaras for treatment. The road has provided easy access to health and medical services for the villagers. The expressions of worry on the faces of the villagers have now been replaced with smiles.

15. Easy Access To Health And Education Nandkudi village in Betul district on Pattan-Aathner road and is 35 kms from Aathner . Health and higher education facilities are available at Aathner which is also the local market. It was difficult for the villagers of Nandkudi to access these facilities because there was no road connectivity to Aathner. The job seekers under NREGS in the village were asked to construct a road under the Scheme. About Rs. 5 lakh was spent on road construction generating 4,330 person days employment for the needy. The result is that Nandkudi has now got road connectivity to Aathner. Life has become smoother for villagers ensuring them easy access to health, educational, market facilities and other services. The road has proved to be a lifeline for the people of Nandkudi village.

16 "I am proud to be a farmer": "From being a farm labour, I have become a farmer myself. Now my children are receiving education. The NREGS has changed my perception towards life", says Bal Kishanu of Patankala village in Gunaur Janapad of Panna district. Bal Kishanu had two hectares of un-irrigated land. He used to take only one crop a year and was finding it hard to feed his family. He was forced to migrate and work on the fields of other farmers in the remaining months. Bal Kishanu sought work under the NREGS and got it. He worked for the expansion of a pond in Jurhai village. There he came to know that the Gram Panchayat could help him construct a well on his own land. He applied for the same and in December 2007 got a well sanctioned. A permanent source of water on his land encouraged Bal Kishanu to become a full-fledged farmer. He grew pulses. The Department of Agriculture provided him an irrigation pump set that enabled Bal Kishanu to grow gram as a second crop on his land. Thus, from a labourer he became a farmer. "I am proud to be a farmer", he says confidently.


17. A Path Opens Up Many Paths: Teiyamar village in Bakswaha block of Chattarpur district is located in a remote corner of the district. Life was tough as there was not enough water to get good crops. The only rain water nallah would hamper road connectivity in the rainy season, but dry up soon after wards . NREGS provided an opportunity to the villagers to improve their lives. A new stop dam cum causeway built from NREGS funds ensured that there was enough water for irrigating the crops. The surrounding area also benefited through improved soil moisture. The causeway also provided road connectivity. Now children have started attending school throughout the year. Health facilities and nearby markets can also be accessed . NREGS has opened up new roads to prosperity for the villagers of Teiyamar.

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(MGNREGS-MP, Bhopal).