Transformation of a village
Four years ago, Kali Bai's residence was the most notorious place in village Kakradhar of district Jhabua. She was the only woman who had a liquor shop catering round the clock to villagers who had nothing to do. "They used to drink liquor throughout the day in the backyard of my house or migrate in search of jobs," she says. Today, Kali Bai's house is known for a different reason. The house has been turned into a grocery shop. And the villagers, too, do not indulge in the above-mentioned activities, nor do they migrate in search of work.
Tulia, 60, a village farmer, says: "All these years, I put in all my efforts in the fields. But I got no success." So when government officials came to Kakradhar in 1995 to organise the mission, Tulia was the first to support it. "Our [about was not paying anyway, so I told the villages that there is no harm in trying what the government is doing," he recalls. Soon after, watershed development started in the village. The following year, Tulia ploughed his field again. The monsoon came but the run-off was less. "Because the hills were covered with grass," he explains, hoping for a better harvest every year.
The success is a result of proper coordination among various grassroots institutions like the gram panchayat, village forest committee under Joint Forest Management (JFM) and the watershed committee. Kakradhar is the first village where JFM was used for watershed development activities. There is no fodder scarcity in this village. Last year, every villager got 500 kg of grass from the Kakradhar hills. This year they expect double the amount.
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