Hyderabad, Oct 4: Chinthalapalyam, a tiny village tucked away in Nagarjunasagar hills in the drought-prone Nalgonda district, stands out as the best example of progress through people-government participation.
A few years ago the village with about 1000 people was notorious for seasonal migration, abject poverty and frequent failure of crops. Today it is ahead of many villages of its size in the backward Nalgonda district with fields once barren, churning out 60 bags of paddy per acre and cattle yielding relatively higher quantity of milk. Its women are now financially strong enough to take up self-employment schemes and purchase agricultural fields in nearby villages.
The United Kingdom's Department for International Development initiated several development works in the village under the Andhra Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Programme during 2004. The scenario in Chinthalapalyam changed since then from that of a poverty-ridden village to that of a developed habitation with each of the 220 and odd families saving at least Rs 2000 a year. Some of the villagers purchased as much as 10 acres of farm lands in neighbouring villages.
Says Saidamma, who heads a self-help group, "from the money I saved in the last three years, I could purchase an acre of agricultural land. Earlier, I used to do tenant-farming and now I have my own land. I plan to purchase more land in coming years".
While people in neighbouring villages get 40 bags of paddy per acre, those in Chinthalapalyam fetch 20 bags more. The increase in productivity is attributed to better soil management techniques and spread of silt from lakes.
"The village has two lakes. We desilted them. It not only increased the water-holding capacity of the lakes but also helped in recharge of the ground water. The area did not receive good rains in 2005 but we did not face any water trouble. Earlier we had only one crop but after DFID's intervention, we are going in for two crops with increased productivity," observes Anjaiah, who recently purchased 10 acres of farm land. He saved enough money from the additional yields he had in his fields.
The villagers want the DFID programme to be extended beyond December. The programme launched in Andhra Pradesh in 1999 is going to conclude in December and people want it to be continued for at least five years more. The APRLP spent about Rs 15 lakhs in the village on watershed and other programmes.
Howard White, World Bank consultant, visited the village for an independent evaluation of the DFID's programme in Chinthalapalyam. He interacted with the villagers and said he would submit his report to the DFID by December.