Chikhli village, located in Navsari district of Gujarat, witnessed complete transformation after it was adopted by Lok Sabha member Chandrakant Raghunath Patil in October 2014. He adopted the village as a part of the scheme called Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), which is a rural development programme focusing on the social, cultural, and infrastructure development of villages. As per the scheme, members of parliament of all political parties had to adopt one village from their constituency and make it a model village by 2016. After that, they can take two or three more villages and transform them as well.
The development work in Chikhli started with street cleaning drives. According to the villagers, the MP used to spend three days a week in the village in the initial days. He also participated in the cleanliness drive with the village volunteers.
“A gram sabha was organised in presence of local administration to discuss possible development works required in the village. Later I also sat with village farmers and teachers. In total, works worth 19 crore were identified,” he told Governance Now.
Some of the final steps included improving sanitation facilities for villagers, road construction, and making paver-block flooring in different places. A total of 380 toilets were built in Chikhli through a public-private partnership, in a way that every household has proper sanitation facilities. For many women in the village, life has become easier after the constriction of these toilets because they no longer need to go out in the open to defecate.
This was followed by lane construction. The muddy lanes of the village used become worse during the monsoons, so that were covered with paver blocks.
“It took time to convince the dwellers to cede spaces they occupied in front of their houses and lay out paver blocks. Once they understood the whole idea of SAGY they cooperated with us,” said one of the volunteers.
Three feet lanes were widened into eight feet lanes and a two kilometre stretch of an 11 km road was rebuilt.
Additionally, an open ground along the riverfront was also covered with paver blocks, and solar street lights were installed near the riverfront and on the village streets.
The development work also included installation of waste collection bins around the village and providing a diagnosis machine for the Rotary Eye Hospital. A library, a modern aganwadi centre, and a bus stop were also constructed.
Facilities of schools, colleges and health centres have been improved.
Located on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai national highway, Chikhli is a village panchayat and a tehsil, which has over 1,700 families. As of 2001 India census, Chikhli had a population of 6953. About 131 families here are living below poverty line, in two slum areas situated near the riverfront.
Know more about the village here.