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Project 1:

In the village of Khutidha near the Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra many of the crops were washed away during the monsoon season in the summer of 2007. There will be very difficult times ahead for the villagers whose crops will not be sufficient to feed them for the entire year. Not only did the rising river wash away the crops but stones from the river have now been deposited on their farm land.

flooded river

Bobbe and I visited this village in September, 2007 with Shirish, Madu and the other social workers living at Melghat. We walked the damaged areas and spent time talking with the villagers. Rajaram, who is one of the Melghat Mitra social workers actually lives in this village. Our tentative plan was to pay the villagers to construct a stone bund that would allow flood water to enter the farmed areas but at such a reduced velocity that it would not wash away the crops. The bund would be constructed with the stones that have been washed onto the farms and held in place with a heavy wire mesh that will completely surround the stones used for the 2-3 foot high bund. The bund will need to be constructed close to the high water mark of the river during the monsoon season, so some farm land may be lost but hopefully not to much.

river    tree over river

Because the villagers will be faced with a lack of food and/or money to buy food, the plan was to pay the villagers 60 rupees a day (about $1.60 US) for their work on the bund. The general feeling among most of us was that the bund work should have been paid for by the local or state government. Since this is not going to happen, privately donated funds will be needed.

villagers

While Bobbe and I were at this village we used the GPS we brought with us from the USA to mark the village perimeter. We left the GPS with the folks at Maitri after we gave them some instruction in the use of the GPS. Actually after the first couple of waypoints the social workers entered the remaining points and we quickly saw that they are probably much more qualified to use the GPS that we are or were. Missing from what we brought with us was a cable to connect the GPS to a computer. The folks at Maitri tried to find the cable in India but without success. We have now purchased the cable in the US and will mail it to India when we receive it. This will allow the folks from Maitri to map the village area and further define the work plan.

us with GPS

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