From Dharmendra Khandal to Mr Mrityunjay Singh ji (Meetu Bana). A reply to his handwritten letter thanking Dharmendra for meeting Meetu Bana’s friend from South Africa Mr Fred Smith – a Naturalist and private Game reserve ranger.
Dear Meetu Sir,
After many year I received a hand written letter. Thank you for sending it.
Your friend Fred Smith was very down to earth individual and took immense interest even in lesser level taxa of biodiversity. He donated US $ 1000, it was a very kind and generous support for the cause.
Fred Smith - wildlife game Ranger from Dulini Lodge - Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa.
We used his money in a very interesting project. The project is an effort towards making an 'Adarsh Gaon' - Ideal village in Modern India. My wife Divya started a drive to encourage villagers towards creating beautiful surrounding in their villages. She is feeling that with the present government taking the initiative of cleanliness and hygiene it is important for individuals and responsible organizations to participate in all ways that they can to create a better India. Her effort is to adopt 1 village near the Ranthambhore National park and work continuously for its betterment which will encourage the others around to follow suit. The selected village is called Madhosinghpura Bairwa basti. This village is situated at the periphery of the Ranthambhore National Park, its population is about 450 individuals (including children). A total of 45 families reside in it. Most of the villagers are working as daily wagers or in close by hotels or establishments.
The village has cemented road and 2 sided drain which is cemented on two sides but not in the bottom, because of this reason the villages filled it with soil and closed it.
The Situation of the village before intervention
Garbage scattered around the village
The well at the entrance of the village
the roads are covered with mucky water, kids and bikers skid often
This has led to the water and waste to flow on the streets. The slippery roads due to the drain water have not only created heaven for mosquitoes and flies but also the kids slip on it and bikes skid too! She approached villagers and motivated them to clean the drains and clear the garbage from the surrounding periphery.
Three government officials have been approached to help in the project- former collector of Sawai Madhopur Mr. Giriraj Singh Kushwaha, present ADM Mr. Ishawar Singh Rathore and Ranthambhore Field Director Mr. YK Sahu. All three officials guided her in the endeavour. ADM keenly monitoring the process and gave her confidence that whenever there is need for government agency intervention he will make sure that it’s available. Mr Sahu said that if there is any financial hurdle, he will make it available through tiger conservation as the village is on the periphery of the national park.
Mr Giriraj Singh Kushwaha (former Collector - Sawai Madhopur)
Mr Y K Sahu (Field Director RTR)
Mr Ishwar Singh Rathore (ADM - Sawai Madhopur)
But the work has started with the seed money of Fred Smith, initially the plan was to engage 10 boys and 10 girls in working 10 days; their wages to be given from the ₹. 60,000 and they would give 3 days of free service as it was for the betterment of their own villages.
A day was decided to start the work but instead of 20 people there were about 95 women already doing work, not a single man engaged.
Women engaged in the cleaning work
Divya was very shocked to see so many women and told them that since so many were engaged they would have to finish the work in 2 days instead of 10 days as there was limited fund for the particular project.
cleaning drive in progress
The drainage was cleared and cleaned in 3 days, roads were cleaned, and many tractor trolleys of garbage was taken away and disposed in the village’s communal garbage dump site. When it was calculated, ₹. 150,000 was already spent in the labour work.
Village youth awaiting to receive the funds for purchasing the construction material
About seven hours have been invested by Divya in the project, So total of ₹ 350,000 worth of work is done money wise and actually ₹ 70,000 has been invested. The Oberoi Vanyavilas has supported with 20,000 for the project, so there is ₹. 10,000 still in hand. The basics of the village have improved.
Drains being constructed
The next phase is to make it a painted village, with rural depictions and aboriginal designs. Also the community hall needs some basic repair and the community well needs a shed where women can bathe etc.
It is a process and it looks achievable.
This is what has been happening, one things after another. I had wished to write to Fred but not that I have written all this in detail to you, I will request Divya to upload it in her blog.
Hope to see you sometime.