At an age when most people like to sit back and relax, 94-year-old Gangubai Nivrutti Bhambure has been elected as the sarpanch of Bhamburwadi village located in Khed Taluka of Pune district. According to District Collector Surabh Rao, she is the oldest woman to become the sarpanch of a village in Pune district.
Having won the election, Gangubai now wants to address development-related issues in the village, starting with the problem of water scarcity.
Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
“Now it’s time to work. I have to do something for my people, otherwise it’s no use becoming a sarpanch just for the sake of it…I will not disappoint them. I can walk like a youngster and talk like a teacher,” she told The Indian Express.
In seven villages near Bhamburwadi, 250 farmers own around 1,000 hectares of land. They have been unable to irrigate their fields for the past eight months because of the lack of water. Ganguabai’s grandson, Rahul Bhambure, said that there is a canal less than 2 km away from these farmlands, but farmers don’t get a single drop of water from there. Gangubai wants to write a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to set up a closed pipeline from the canal so that the farmers can continue working in their fields.
She also wants to address the problem of drinking water other than starting a sewage treatment system and improving the conditions of roads in the village during her tenure as the sarpanch.
Gangubai, who lost her husband ten years ago, has four sons and one daughter. She knows how to read despite the fact that she received no formal education. She told The Indian Express that she wakes up at 5 am every day to do household chores and then sets out to inspect daily happenings in her village.
In October last year, she was elected as a member of the gram panchayat after defeating another woman with a margin of 50 votes. This year, she was the only candidate who filed a nomination and received unanimous support from all nine members of the gram panchayat during the elections in September.