Ganesh Dhoke, a 21-year-old farmer from Paradsinga, is on a mission. He has just completed the construction of a half kilometre road that connects about 50 farms with his village and he now wants to finish the remaining work on the road.
Paradsinga is a small village in Madhya Pradesh, which is about 60 kms away from Nagpur. During the monsoons, the farms used to be cut off from the village, making it difficult for the farmers to go to work.
The only road connecting them with their farms was in bad condition and would get waterlogged with knee-deep water. Also, water-logging was affecting the fertility of the soil.
“We went to the rural administration office and also panchayat asking for help. But they didn’t respond. So I, along with 40 other farmers, took up the initiative to construct the road, all by ourselves. Initially, it was difficult for me to convince the farmers,” says Ganesh.
Ganesh gathered money by going door-to-door in the village. Forty farmers from the village contributed what they could and Ganesh managed to get about Rs. 20,000 for the construction. Since there was a shortage of manpower, some farmers also worked as labourers.
Shweta Bhattad, a Nagpur based farm activist who was constructing a pond in her farm in Paradsinga, provided Ganesh with important machinery.
Ganesh and the villagers have managed to construct a half kilometre stretch and are now trying to raise money to add another one kilometre to the road.
With the help of sarpanches from Paradsinga and Kodadongri, and a Nagpur based choreographer named Parvinder Singh Dadiyala, the farmers are also planning to construct a dam in order to increase the groundwater table in the area. This will help address the acute water crisis situation.
In the past, the farmers of Paradsinga village had ‘grown’ the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a field and penned a letter to him as well to highlight their plight. The letter went viral, with various social activists and farmer groups coming forward to help them. Read more about it here.