PUNE: “Gaining inspiration through agri-bound rural development, sarpanches participating in the Sarpanch Mahaparishad should focus on fundamental, societal and financial factors. This will make you an inspiration for others. Sakal Agrowon and my government are behind you to take care of various problems faced by the sarpanches in the panchayatraj,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
He was speaking at the inaugural function of the 7th Sakal Agrowon two-day Sarpanch Conference held at Alandi on Thursday. Along with him, State Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde, Force Motors Tractor Division Business Head and Senior Vice-President Pradeep Dhadiwal, Sakal President Prataprao Pawar, Sakal’s Editor-In-Chief Shriram Pawar, Agrowon Editor Adinath Chavan and Administrator Pramod Rajebhosle were present.
The conference, which deliberated on rural development and agri-development, saw a whopping participation of 1,000 sarpanches from various parts of the State. The main sponsor of the event was Force Motors, while SmartKem Technologies Limited and Vikram Tea were the other sponsors. The State’s Water Conservation Department, Employment Guarantee Department, Animal Husbandry and National Horticulture Campaign too supported the conference.
Fadnavis said, “Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram through their sayings and writings underlined the importance of rural development, nature conservation and water saving. The conference is taking place here in Alandi, the place these saints belonged to. I congratulate Sakal Agrowon for organising the conference here.”
He said various policies implemented by the earlier government were not successful as all of them were mired in corruption and there was no public participation.
“Eight years ago, plan for water conservation was made worth Rs 28,000 crore, but it was run by the contractors as it lacked public participation. With a budget of Rs 4,500 crore, as many as 12,000 villages were made drought-free by our government. Whenever there is any project by the government, it is neither owned by government or any other agency. The project is a failure if it has no public participation. But our government involved people and these projects were successful as people kept an eye on it,” he added.
“Forty-eight per cent people live in urban areas and 52 per cent in rural areas. But 50 per cent people from the State have employment through farming or agriculture-related jobs. Thus, we cannot achieve success without rural development. Sarpanches should, besides road, electricity and water which are fundamental works, bring social schemes like health, nutrition, women and child welfare in villages to generate employment and boost economy,” said Fadnavis.
Munde said, “We are in the process of issuing identity cards to sarpanches besides working out a scheme for giving stipend to them. We will soon get it sanctioned. The 14th Finance Commission has given strength to sarpanches. The plan of ‘Amcha Gaav Amcha Vikas’, (our village, our development) is ready. We have a plan for rural development and under this developmental plan, sarpanches will be elected. This will give the opportunity to young and new sarpanches to hold the position. This will change the look of the villages.” Sakal President Prataprao Pawar said, “Sakal Agrowon is the most successful experiment. This project solely aimed at the welfare of the farmers has been whole heartedly accepted by them. Sakal has always been in the forefront in affirmative development through Tanishka and Sakal Relief Fund.”
Pradeep Dhadiwal said, “We are extremely happy to be part of the conference for last eight years. We have imparted training to seven thousand sarpanches so far and these sarpanches have done various experiments in their villages.”
Also present were Hirve Bazar Sarpanch Popatrao Pawar, Municipal Council President Vaijayanti Umargekar, Vice-President Sagar Bhosale, former minister Babanrao Pachpute, MLA Baburao Pacharne, MLA Mahesh Landge, District Collector Saurabh Rao and Tehsildar Sunil Joshi.
‘DO FUNDAMENTAL WORK’
“Sarpanches participating in this conference should not stop their development work after constructing two-three roads but should do fundamental work. Agrowon has done a commendable job of providing training through this conference. If your complaints reach me through Agrowon, then I will certainly stay firm behind you. If Agrowon forms a group, then I will be part of it and I would like to reach the sarpanches of 1,000 villages,” said Fadnavis.