Kisan Baburao Hazare has become one of the most influential men of India as well as Mumbai. His sheer hard-work and strong determination has miraculously changed the poor backward village into the very developed one. The great development of Ralegan Siddhi proves what Anna is capable of ! This man can really do wonders.
After his retirement from Indian Army, Anna Hazare returned to his native village “Ralegan Siddhi”. It was one of the many villages of India plagued by acute poverty, deprivation, a fragile ecosystem, neglect and hopelessness. Anna got deeply hurt after seeing this, and he decided to do wonders for his village.
Anna first decided to uproot alcoholism. He held many meetings with his villagers, made small group to wipe-out the addiction completely from his village.
Today the villagers have completely given up brewing of liquor. Nobody sells liquor in the village. Further, the shopkeepers do not sell cigarettes, beedies and tobacco too for the last 13 years.
In 1980, the Grain Bank was started by him at the temple, with the objective of providing food security to needful farmers during times of drought or crop failure.
When Hazare came in Ralegan Siddhi in 1975 only 70 acres (28 ha) of land was irrigated, Hazare converted it into about 2,500 acres (1,000 ha).
The Government of India plans to start a training centre in Ralegan Siddhi to understand and implement Hazare’s watershed development model in other villages in the country.
Earlier only 300 liters of milk was sold from the village. Now the milk production has gone up to 4000 liters. This milk is purchased by cooperative and private dairies. This brings in Rs. 1.3 to 1.5 crores (13 to 15 million) annually to the village.
The per capita income of the villagers has increased from Rs. 225 to Rs. 2500. This has completely transformed the economy of the village. The living conditions of the villagers have improved and the gap between the haves and have-nots has narrowed down. After the economic transformation of the village, villagers constructed buildings worth Rs.1 crore (10 million) for school, hostel and gymkhana and renovated the old village temple through financial contributions and shramdan.
In the last 35 years, many institutions and cooperatives like Gram Panchayat, Cooperative Consumer Society, Cooperative Credit Society, Cooperative Dairy, Educational Society, Women’s Organization and Youth Organization, with different mandates are operating in Ralegan Siddhi.