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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-54: WOMEN LEAD THE WAY IN KURUVALLI VILLAGE!

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Nearly 200 families live in Kuruvalli Village in Aluru Mandal of Kurnool district. Nearly 90% of them are dependent on agriculture, but of the 2,500 acres of land available for cultivation, only 150 acres are under tank cultivation. The feeder channel to the tank needed to be repaired. Water escaped and was wasted. With a limited supply of water in the tank most fields were abandoned and left for grazing. Farmers were able to get only one crop in a year. For six months every year their income was poor, so the majority of the population in the village migrated. They returned to the village only during the rainy season. The children’s education suffered most due to this constant shifting of homes.

MYRADA, a reputed NGO was selected as the project implementing agency for 11 villages, including Kuruvalli. All the self-help groups in the village joined together to form the Indira Village Organisation which was assisted by MYRADA to implement the watershed programme.  As a part of the planning of activities, the issue of the village tank came up for discussion.

The watershed development team and the village organisation called for a village meeting to discuss the blockage in the feeder channel and the resultant stoppage of water flow to the tank. The meeting resolved to undertake desilting of the tank. The villagers felt that this should be done mechanically, using a proclainer, rather than using manual labour. However, the cost of the proclainer was prohibitive and
beyond the reach of the village organisation.

The village organisation members took the initiative and volunteered, along with ten other families, to clear the feeder channel blockade without expecting any benefit. Seeing them work, other people joined them. Soon there were about 200 members working together and within ten 10 days the feeder channel blockade had been successfully removed.

In forty days, the feeder channel which was 1844 R. Mts. long was de-silted. Appreciating their hard work, the village organisation paid Rs.30, 000 to the villagers who had put in their hard labour.

The increase in storage capacity of the tank worked wonders for the village. The paddy output which was around 20-24 bags per acre went up to 30 bags. Sunflower, wheat and vegetables were cultivated in about 60 acres as the second crop. The availability of water and harvesting of the second crop has generated more income and increased the potential of employment within the village. Migration has reduced drastically.  The village organisation now feels that if the entire tank is de-silted, there will not be any
more migration from the village.

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