Sometimes just a vision for change can create an ocean of a difference. When Himanshu Patel was elected Sarpanch of Punsari, a quaint little village in Sabarkanth district Gujarat, in 2006 there was no sewerage connection, no street lights, no pucca roads and, of course, no source of income for the gram panchayat except the grants and funding from various state and Union government schemes.
Six years later, the urban village flaunts a wi-fi and optical fiber broadband network, classrooms with CCTV cameras, its own mini-bus transport system and 25-odd CCTVs located on important junctions to spot litterbugs. There is an RO water treatment plant that supplies 20-litre cans to houses for a token cost of Rs 4. You also have a school bus to ferry your wards, and that too on clean RCC roads.
The gram panchayat also provides facilities of loud speaker covering entire village, gutter project, clean primary health care center, 8 kinder garden schools, banking facility, toll free complain receiving phone service, among others.
Villagers can buy ticket of Re 1 to use the mini bus service. For female students, bus service is completely free. Women come to deposit milk to milk bank couple of times during a day through this bus. Cost of running the service is managed through ticket sales.
Punsri has 120 loud-speakers covering each corner of the village. Villagers listen to prabhatiya in the morning and bhajan and bhakti songs in the evening. Also important announcements like telephone bill, power bill, results of 10th and 12th are made through these speakers. Unique feature is that the village sarpanch can pass on any announcement from his mobile phone. To set up this system Rs 4 lakh were spent from corpus.
“The turn-around happened when we sold part of our grazing land as plotted schemes to various communities. The money is deposited in government coffers,” says the 28 year old Sarpanch. Some funds were also received through various government schemes.The village received rewards from the central government and the state governments recently.
You can watch a video of the village here.
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