Technology, a boon for rural Maharashtra

 When the villagers were given the option to install a sophisticated water filtration plant, they welcomed it with open arms. Now the successful initiative has sown the seeds for a natural resource management-based business.

‘Then science came to its rescue and flushed away the pollutants’ – that is how the village panchayat chief views the introduction of a reverse osmosis-based water purification unit that changed the lives of the villagers. ‘For years we had been requesting the authorities for a solution. In 2011 we organised dharnas (demonstrations) demanding clean drinking water. Finally in the same year as part of a public-private approach, we got a facility to clean the water,’ Manohar Jagtap, the panchayat head said during a tour of the region organised by the German embassy. ‘In the future, we can sell the clean drinking water to the neighbouring villages that also suffer from the effects of nitrate pollution due to the industrial discharge from cities,’ he added. For years, newborns in this hamlet would acquire a bluish pigmentation for no apparent reason. Most adults complained of chronic stomach pain. Then, science washed away the pollutants causing the ailments and not only saved the day but also threw up a booming business.

The purification unit was set up under the Umbrella Programme on Natural Resource Management (UPNRM), India – a tie-up between the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the German Development Bank (KfW). 

The project’s success has led to sprouting of 17 independent water kiosks within a radius of five kms of the project site, with four of them operating in the village itself. IANS

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