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BRAVING DROUGHTS: Aanore becomes water-sufficient

Village in north of Maha saves every drop to revive ground water table; sets example for other drought-hit areas

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BRAVING DROUGHTS: Aanore becomes water-sufficient
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Aanore is a hamlet in the north of Maharashtra. It consists of 95 houses and is situated 350 km away from the city of Mumbai. This small village turned out to be a role model for other villages in the state that suffer from droughts during the summer season.

According to the data released by the state, over 20,000 villages are witnessing droughts. The data also reveals that 10 lakh cattle have been kept at 1,300 fodder camps and over 5,000 villages are receiving water through tankers.

Sandeep Patil, ex-member of Jalgaon Zila Parishad, is the architect of change, who made Aanore sufficient in water in three months. Patil said they had enlisted tasks; saving every drop of water, planting two trees in front of each household, each family member must participate in the making of check dams and so on.

"We unanimously passed these resolutions in the Gram Panchayat's general body meeting and decided to implement them religiously. We also requested villagers, to not wash their hands on their plates after every meal. We asked them to wash hands close to the trees planted in front of their houses. Besides, we released the drain water into the soak pit. These small changes helped to recharge and revive the scanty ground water table. In only three months, the wells and hand pumps that had turned dry, started getting full. That met the need of our village livestock," Patil explained.

Tukaram Patil, a businessman in Dhule, who originally hails from Aanore, had come over to help his villagers. Tukaram said initially, this village was divided into multiple groups and sub groups, but "we convinced them that if they come together, then they will be able to change the face of their village. We were so united during the Lok Sabha polls that until 2 pm nobody cast their vote. People had decided to work for the dam first and then cast their votes. After 2 pm, all villagers queued in front of the polling booth and by 4 pm, there was 100 per cent voting."

Another businessman Bajirao Patil from Nashik and resident of Aanore donated 1,200 tree sampling to plant the tree in front of each hold. Bajirao Patil said that during monsoon, they have also planned to donate 1700 more sampling. "We want to bring back the old days where the village and its surrounding were full of lush green trees. So during summer also, we used to play out but never faced the sunstroke and scorching heat. Now, we cannot go out during summer. We want to bring back old days where hardship was there but beautiful and we were very much close to nature," Patil added.

Ranjeet Shinde, social activist and head master of local school who also contributed for the development this village transformations appreciated the unity of this village. Shinde said once green patches are turning out as desert because of massive and rampant tree cutting. "The Aanore village has shown that if conscious effort has taken, then we can create oasis in desert also. We are happy that our efforts are giving fruits. We hope government immolate this model everywhere in Maharashtra," Shinde added.

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