As dawn breaks, people in this tiny village make a beeline for the overhead water tank in the village carrying a big water tank and a smart card. As they insert the card, they get 20 litres of safe, protected drinking water for the day.
About 1,400 villagers knew how to use smart cards much before many of their ilk came to know. Not just this, now they teach people thronging their village on how to stand united and what benefits they get by doing so.
The unique feature of Gangadevipally is that it has got people of different castes, economic and religious backgrounds. But they all stand on one word. Hardly any policeman ventures into this village. “Everybody in this village is involved in one or the other committee that oversees administration. We have 25 committees that monitor greenery, education, health, sanitation, water supply and drainage maintenance,” explains Village Development Committee chairman Kusam Rajamouli who struggled hard to put the village on the global map.
NGO does its bit
As flow of funds from the government was slow and far from sufficient, he approached NGOs for their help. Bala Vikasa came forward to construct an overhead water tank and water plant, but with a condition. The villagers had to bear 15 per cent of total cost.
Mr. Rajamouli says it was difficult at the beginning but Bala Vikasa’s Shourie Reddy could convince the people of having a community asset where everybody would be a beneficiary and owner. “We collected Rs. 54,000 while the Bala Vikasa gave us Rs. 3.60 lakh in 1993 and got safe drinking water to the village,” he explains.
Mr. Shourie Reddy said they have been following this model where stakeholders should also contribute some money so that they would have responsibility. “We have set up Any Time Water (ATW) dispensing units and water plants in hundreds of villages across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. If villagers come forward to participate and own the asset, we will fund and train them and build them the asset,” he toldThe Hindu .
Over the years, Gangadevipally has crossed many milestones – being the first panchayat to have all women ward members, to have individual sanitary latrines in every household, to have every child enrolled into school, ban on liquor and so on. This village even now witnesses a stream of foreign delegates who wish to know what and how they did it. Mr. Rajamouli shared the success story of his village on various platforms across the world.
Impressed by the unity among people, the Central and State governments and NGOs honoured this village with many awards and rewards. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao visited Gangadevipally recently.