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"The dream of India as a strong nation will not be realised without self-reliant, self-sufficient villages, this can be achieved only through social commitment & involvement of the common man."

- Anna Hazare
 
 
  
Home Watrershed development
In the years 1972-73 there was wide spread severe draught in whole of Maharashtra. In order to provide employment to the rural population in this situation Government of Maharashtra decided to undertake soil conservation work in rural areas which required lot of labour. Agriculture and Irrigation Departments of the Government were appointed as nodal agencies to execute the programme and they undertook the work of construction of percolation tanks, nalla bunding and contour bunding in Ralegan Siddhi. While the work was executed in Ralegan Siddhi due to apathy of the Government agencies the percolation tank constructed at Ralegan was not constructed taking due care and was leaking and thus its purpose was defeated.
 
After his retirement from Army in l975 he returned to Ralegan Siddhi and was very much disturbed due to condition prevailing there and started discussing with the villagers their problems. He observed that the water problem -both for drinking and irrigation - was acute and felt that something should be done to overcome this problem. At that time he came to know of one Mr. Vilasrao Salunkhe who was doing soil and water conservation work at Saswad. He visited the work place of Mr. Salunkhe and felt that if similar activity is undertaken at Ralegan Siddhi, the water scarcity problem at Ralegan could be solved. He, therefore, organised villagers meeting (Gram Sabha) to explain to them the work of Mr. Salunkhe and its adoption in Ralegan Siddhi. All the villegers were impressed by this idea and decided to start similar programme in Ralegan Siddhi. Initially they decided to repair the existing percolation tank which was heavily leaking. The cause of seepage of water was ascetained and work of providing core wall by digging puddle trench upto the level of hard rock was undertaken on upper side of the bund through voluntary labour of villagers. Satisfactory Completion of the work resulted in retention of water in the tank resulting in recharging of ground water aquifers .This enthused the villagers and they decided to implement the concept of water shed development, i.e. ridge to valley approach for soil and water conservation which was hitherto not followed by the Department of Agriculture. Implementation of watershed programme involved lot of expenditure and Mr. Hazare approached the then Director of Soil Conservation and requested his help. He had assured the Director that he and his collegues from village will actively participate in implementation of watershed development programme and will provide labour voluntarily.
The ridge to valley programme involved structures like gully plugging,loose boulder structure, gabian structure, nalla bunding, cement check dams etc. The cost involved in constructing cement check dams was prohibitive and hence Shri Hazare developed modified gabian structure with a core wall which reduced the cost considerably and was as effective as cement check dam. This novel approach is being followed elsewhere also. Similarly on the ridge line where the CCT was not possible, shallow soak pits were dug in order to collect rain water so that through seepage the water would be available to surrounding plantation. This resulted in increase in plant survival and their vigorous growth. This was also a novelty of Ralegan Siddhi programme.
Due to availability of water for irrigation through wells and realising the importance of water the villagers decided to form cooperative societies well-wise. This resulted in bringing more land under cultivation and developments like double cropping, change of farming system, horticulture plantations, vegetable cultivation, dairy farming etc. could take place. It will not be out of place if it is mentioned that from Ralegan Siddhi for some period onions and vegetables were exported to Gulf countries. All this resulted in substantial increase in per capita income of the farmers. and the villagers through their cooperative efforts created facilities like school, hostel., gymnasiums, credit societies renovation of temple etc. in the village.
 
The residents of Ralegan Siddhi are still enjoying the benefits of watershed programme though more than 30 years have passed since completion of programme.
Maharashtra , Madhya Pradesh , Gujarath , Karnataka , Andhara Pradesh , Rajasthan Month - wise and yearly total of visitors 1 day & 2 days training .( 1st Jan. 1997 to 31st Dec. 2009 )
Sr. No. Month 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
1. January 1391 4631 2709 1911 2628 3298 3870 4504 2802 4088 4759 3496
2. February 1676 1718 4622 2010 2009 2801 3023 3033 2725 5502 2235 3321
3. March 2656 3361 2807 2820 2998 4114 1992 3276 3495 4948 1747 2519
4. April 529 1594 1229 483 1230 1777 1086 1745 1451 2749 957 810
5. May 711 535 594 487 1272 828 723 1182 3390 1545 666 1011
6. June 1251 780 475 526 896 771 1212 1499 1007 2125 626 852
7. July 878 1787 780 762 910 757 1456 1378 3458 1907 855 930
8. August 1471 1278 1161 1253 770 1341 1835 1049 6453 2118 2253 1650
9. September 2907 1771 1146 1485 1911 2470 2718 889 3835 5007 2391 2061
10. October 2243 2313 1148 1427 2441 1798 2519 773 5289 4285 1753 992
11. November 2627 2316 1565 2152 1438 1475 3102 1459 2803 3616 1375 1629
12. December 4149 547 2469 3587 2447 3146 4655 1708 4209 6160 4434 3644
  Total - 22489 22631 20705 18903 20950 24576 28191 22495 40917 44050 24051 22915




2009 Total
3336 43413
2384 37059
1615 38348
354 15994
215 13159
595 12615
484 16342
447 23079
617 29208
1084 28065
1858 27415
4400 45555
17389 330262
 
 
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