Updated: April 15, 2018 11:42:50 pm
Tucked deep into the interiors of Melghat forest in Amravati district, the people of Bulumgavan erupted in joy on Friday as the village finally received electric supply and first state transport bus connectivity seventy years after Independence. Till Friday, power supply had reached only till Katkumbh village, which falls 3.5 km before Bulumgavan, mainly inhabited by 589 Korku tribals. Moreover, state transport buses, which plied from Dharni to Bairagad, stopped 4 km before the village and people had to complete rest of journey by foot.
The transformation in Bulumgavan village has been brought about through the Maharashtra Village Social Transformation Foundation (MVSTF) initiative. The foundation has taken up the task of changing the lives of 1,000 villages in the state through specially appointed Chief Minister’s Rural Development Fellows (CMRDFs). For Bulumgavan, the CMRDF who made the difference was a 26-year-old management graduate from Amravati, who has been staying in the village to understand the people’s problems and work out solutions for them.
The daily bus service starts at 9.30 am and takes an hour to reach Dharni. “Though the village is about 30 km from Dharni, the bus takes about an hour since it has to pass through trecherous routes,” said Joshi. Joshi, mentored by Amravati Collector Abhijit Bangar and Sub-Divisional Officer Vijay Rathod, did the legwork to get all stakeholders on board and take the mission to its logical end. The two officials were present, along with Amravati Guardian Minister Pravin Pote flagged off the two programmes in the village on Friday.
“I have been staying in the village since the past one year. The villagers told me that their top priority was a bus service and electricity. So, I took up these issues first. Thankfully, everything worked out well in a year’s time,” Joshi said. Incidentally, the bus service will also benefit three other villagers – Katkumbh, Jeeradhana and Hatnada. Hatnada villagers will now have to walk only 2 km instead of six to reach the nearest connected village of Patiya. “Similarly, the Jeeradhana villagers won’t have to walk 4 km to Bairagad-Dharni road. They can reach Bulumgavan instead by walking just 500 metres,” Joshi said.
Joshi, who had often been touring Melghat, said he wanted to do something for the villagers after seeing their hardships. “I chose to be a CMRDF since I wanted to do something for the poor villagers in Melghat after seeing their hardships during my visits,” Joshi, who also has the responsibility of another village called Bhondlawa, said.
The only government presence in Bulumgavan is a school up to Standard VII. The nearest rural hospital sub-centre is 13 km away at Patiya village.The bus, however, doesn’t go via Patiya. “So, we have proposed a new sub-centre at Katkumbh, which is a walkable distance,” Joshi said. Joshi’s next priorities for the village are increasing their income through sale of forest produce and supply of clean water. On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “The lives of my sisters and brothers in tribal-dominated Bulumgavan are brightened in ways more than one. Extremely happy.”
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