The triumph of ingenuity
- ========[Moderator's Comment]========
Can anyone from Banda tell us more on this?
The triumph of ingenuity
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SATURDAY, JULY 19, 2003 02:00:36 AM ]
Village women from Kharond, Banda district, have demonstrated how far
a little innovation and determination can go in resolving problems of
drainage in the deep hinterland of rural Uttar Pradesh. This
indigenous initiative has also served to facilitate the empowerment
of women as 'decision makers' in Kharond.
Through sheer grit and determination, this group of illiterate women
once relegated to the periphery of the developmental process were
able to construct a 252-foot labyrinthine network of drains in their
village. The scrupulously fine-tuned sewer system today exemplifies
the ingenuity of these highly motivated and spirited village women.
For Sharda Devi and her team from Kharond, who had never stepped out
of the cloistered existence of their village, a visit to the state
capital Lucknow, to meet the Governor a few years back, was a
momentous occasion. According to VP Singh, project director, Mahila
Kalyan Nigam, this visit was part of a programme aimed at female
"Their inquisitiveness about all things big and small, also had them
questioning the officials on how the sewerage system worked in the
city, where unlike their village, there were few open drains," he
The officials simply lifted the lid of one of the manholes and
demonstrated the elaborate underground network linking of the drains.
Six months later, they were pleasantly surprised to receive an
invitation to visit the village. These spunky women had after a few
meetings, decided to construct similar drains in their village too.
To execute this decision, they needed to pool in their scarce
resources and limited technical know how. Undeterred by their
material constraints, they handed a packet each to their school-going
children and asked them to collect sand on their way home. Even
passing truck drivers carrying bricks were asked to contribute a few
bricks each to meet the shortfall, and slowly, the requisite raw
material was collected.
Then, they coaxed and cajoled the local mason to help them, and after
a few initial hiccups, were successful in constructing this intricate
underground drainage system.
The onset of the monsoons, with the rain gods showering largess on a
parched earth also spells disaster for the threadbare system of civic
amenities especially the roads.
Villagers often face the predicament of restrictions in their
mobility, as even the cobbled roads (kharanjas), slowly turn into
cesspools of stagnant water. These then serve as breeding grounds for
all sorts of diseases causing bacteria and viruses. It is problems
like this, that gave birth to an indigenous system of drainage
developed by the women to free their village from the menace of water-
Today, Kharond's roads are no longer water-logged, nor does the
threat of disease hang heavy over the village like the sceptre of
doom, every time it rains.