In the 1st week of February, I came across one eminent personality “Mr Chaitramji Pawar” who devoted 2 & ½ Decades of his life to make his village self-sustainable.
This was possible only because of Vivekanand Seva Mandal – NGO based in Dombivali, runs a library for engineering students & is also actively working in various tribal villages across Thane district. Mr Ketan Bondre and Mr Hemant Gokhale insisted me to visit this village along with them and no surprise I just fell in love with this village.
The name of the village is “Baripada” situated in Sakhi Taluka, Dhule District on Maharashtra-Gujarat border.
The introduction of the village will help you in understanding more about the work accomplished so far:
- 200 families stay in Baripada –The total population of this village is about 800 people
- Not a single person in the village is below the poverty line
- This village never accepted any subsidies or any Government Schemes to date.
- Not a single villager own tractor, but every family owns a cow & Bullock.
- Villagers requested State Transport to stop its services for the whole village as no one goes out of the village on regular basis. The only intended to do this is to save government expenses to run their bus service, for merely 4-5 people who may or may not travel every day.
- Villagers conserve 1100 acre of Forest. Not a single new tree is planted under any government scheme only conservation of naturally available resources is main motive.
- Every night 10 villager’s do patrol to protect their forest whoever remains absent he is supposed to pay fine of Rs.100/-
- No one is allowed to cut the trees if someone found guilty villagers penalised them for Rs.1000/- instantly.
- Recently they passed a bill which stops people from carrying Axe to the forest and if someone found guilty villagers can fine him for Rs.10000/-
I feel above points self-demonstrate the dedication & devotion of Mr Chaitramji Pawar.
Below points are few things which I observed & want to definitely tell you:
- Mr Chiatramji walks barefoot in the village, as he feels extra needs develop greed in a human being.
- Chaitramji though the advisory board member of the advisory committee to forest department in central government, he prefers to travels by state transport from Nasik to Mumbai while on his way to Delhi for the meeting.
- Although he can avail government vehicle any time for such purpose.
What will Shop for Change work on?
After closely seeing his work we decided to support the villagers to get direct market access to their farm fresh produce. 70% of villagers cultivate Rice in their field hence we decided to start developing market access for Indrayani Rice. Shop for Change will make sure that farmers get maximum benefit out of this transaction. Although distance will add extra cost still we will try to make this fair price for customers & at the same time farmers will get their fair share.
Few Know How on… Rice/paddy crop
It takes almost 4-5 months for farmers to cultivate the paddy crop and finally convert the same into rice which we eat.
One acre land produces about 15 – 20 quintals of rice.
Average yearly gross income of Rice Farmer is about 60,000 to 70,000 INR. This is not his final income.
He spends about 15,000 to 20,000 INR towards various expenses to cultivate the 1-acre land.
Support Small Farmers. Support People who are acting without words…
I salute to Chaitramji and will support his mission throughout my life with actions…..
Saameer Ravindra Athavale
Fair Trade Activist