Osmanabad (Maharashtra): Donja, around 95 kms from here, is a typical Indian village — old houses, no pucca roads, overflowing gutters, a ramshackle school and primary health care centre, water shortages and joblessness among the people.
However, suddenly the village has shot into national limelight after cricket icon and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP), Sachin Tendulkar zeroed in on it for development under ‘Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’ (SAGY).
Tendulkar’s team of advisors along with government officials had made a study visit to the old village, around 35 kms from Mumbai, and prepared a detailed report before he selected it.
Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 11, 2014 on the birth anniversary of the late Jaiprakash Narayan, the SAGY scheme envisages each MP selecting one village from their constituency to be developed as a model village.
In April 2012, Tendulkar, 43, became the first active sportsman and cricketer to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha by former President Pratibha Patil and will enjoy the term till 2018.
Locals are optimistic that with Tendulkar’s intervention, things might change for the better in this dusty, dirty and since past five years, drought-afflicted village.
“Donja is an example of a good local village economy, but without any development, infrastructure or amenities for the approximately 4,500 strong population,” said Sanjay Miskin, who hails from the vicinity.
Until barely five years ago, the village on the banks of Sina River in Marathwada and the backwaters of the Koregaon project, was a green oasis.
“However, due to the drought-like situation compounded by scanty rainfall, the village suffered and many people left for urban centres like Pune, Aurangabad, Mumbai to earn a living,” Miskin, a senior journalist with Sakal — a Marathi newspaper — told IANS.
Consequently, only a few farmers, peasants and many daily wage earners were left behind in the village to eke out an existence on the sprawling farms growing sugarcane, jowar, pulses and a handful of farmers even growing grapes.
However, Miskin feels the village, spread across nearly 2,900 hectares, offers tremendous scope for Tendulkar to develop it as an ideal and model village that others nearby can emulate.
Donja village is served daily by two services of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and functions as the transportation mini-hub for the neighbouring small villages or hamlets of Deulgaon, Katewari, Gosaviwadi, Aleshwar, Bangalwadi, Parewadi, Ingoda, Anala, Kandari, Karla and Mugaon.
Private bus services which bypass Donja and its surroundings can be availed only from Paranda, the sub-district headquarters around 30 kms away.
As the transportation mini-hub, it also becomes the weekly village market where farmers from surrounding areas troop in with produce, though a formal market is non-existent.
Locals like Miskin say there is scope to construct roads, a drainage system, set up a proper market for the economic development of the village and its vicinity, repairing the sole old school building and primary health care centre, installing a solar electric network to ensure uninterrupted power supply and other eco-friendly projects.
Under SAGY, the focus will be on the social-cultural development of the selected villages and motivating and mobilizing the local community on various developmental aspects.