Alwar

Continuing to prepare rural communities for the most unprecedented events in Alwar.

India’s national lockdown to curb the fast-expanding community transmission of coronavirus led to life coming to a standstill across the country. The long pause of over three months is starting to ease, and the new shift towards “normal” gives health and hygiene ultimate attention. The government has announced the opening of educational institutions with 30 percent attendance starting from the first of July.

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Collective management, participation and equity are the foundations on which community economies are sustained.

The exodus of migrant workers from urban areas back to their villages in the wake of country wide lockdown has brought rural poverty into sharp focus. Reconstruction of rural economy therefore needs policy and planning attention. Community economy is a branch of rural economy and among other ways of reconstructing the rural economy, promotion and strengthening of community economies of the poor is important.

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Toilets in households have only increased the drudgery of village women as they have to fetch water from faraway sources for toilet use.

Rajasthan is all geared up for the open defecation free (ODF) status well before the national deadline of October 2, 2019. According to the assistant engineer of the nagar parishad, Resha Singh, 4.75 lakh toilets have been constructed since October 2, 2014 in Alwar district which is about to be declared ODF.

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Water conflict in Rajasthan’s Alwar district is not just between upstream and downstream users; it is also between users with domestic, agricultural and industrial needs.

Lewari, a village located around 17 km from Alwar in Rajasthan, is the site of a water conflict these days. “The production of Jayanti jaljeera, haazme ka lalantop drink (a digestive drink) has left our village parched,” says Nanak Singh, a resident. Singh is referring to the excessive quantity of water being used for manufacturing a digestive drink by a factory located in his village. The indiscriminate use of a lake bed in the village for industrial use has led to groundwater scarcity during peak summer months.

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Nanduwali in east Rajasthan started flowing again when the villagers decided to work with nature and not against it. The river is now lifeline to those settled on her banks

Gajanand Sharma is excited about the monsoon this year. He is building an anicut on the small stream that runs through his farm. “After the rain, the land will be filled with water and then I will sow wheat and reap record production in this area,” he prophesises. This forecast doesn’t come from his knowledge of astrology, but that of geology, gained over the years.

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Community efforts over a decade led to the revival of johads, traditional rainwater harvesting structures in Alwar, Rajasthan. This book shares the process of this remarkable achievement.

It is an astonishing thing to see the five rivers of Alwar in Rajasthan flowing for more than 6-8 months in a year. This is no miracle though. It is the result of a decade-long effort by Jal Jungle Andolan lead by Dr. Rajendra Singh. 

Traditional rainwater harvesting structues called Johads that are native to Rajasthan were rvived by involving communities, which led to this change. Shree Padre writes more about the effort in this book titled "Matte Roopararel Battalilla".

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