Outlook magazine carried a fascinating article this week called How Grey Was My Village, about a place in Gujarat called Raj-Samadhiyala which has India's only profit-grossing local body. One of their major successes has been with rainwater harvesting.
Read the entire piece at the link above, but here's an excerpt:
With a population of 1,747, Raj-Samadhiyala now grows three crops, including an amazing 18-20 varieties of vegetables. It garners Rs 5-6 crore annually (over twice the income of neighbouring villages), with its 300 families netting in anywhere between Rs 50,000-Rs 12 lakh per year. And all this in a drought-prone region.
Raj-Samadhiyala is lush with 60,000 trees. Harnessing every drop of the areas 20-30-inch rainfall are 45 check dams, percolation tanks, farm ponds spread across 2,800 acres. Add those to well-maintained houses, well-kept streets, piped water supply to every home, well-appointed health centres, cent per cent enrolment in primary education, an impressive 300-litre milk trade everyday and zero crime rate.
This is inspiring. There should be more people like Mr. Jadejeh.
There is more here that I don't understand than what I do. If the water is not running off the area around their village, have the local streams, fed by that runoff water, dried up or shrunk significantly? What has happened to the downstream towns that depend on that water, and the wildlife supported by the streams? And do we want to support arresting people for not voting? Are their ballots being checked to make sure that they are not empty? And then, that they have been filled out in the way that the ruling party approves? There are other questions, too, but it would be nice to see answers to the above, as a start.
the village is located in a drought prone area, which receives 20-30 inches of rainfall in a particular season. There are no streams that are being blocked by dams, they are simply collecting the rainwater instead of letting it seep into the ground. After this they are redistributing this water for local usage in an efficient way.
They don't arrest people for not voting. According to their local governing committee, the villagers have a consensus of charging a fine from someone who does not vote.
The ballot system in India is now electronic, so there's no question of an empty box.
What more? :)
"They don't arrest people for not voting. According to their local governing committee, the villagers have a consensus of charging a fine from someone who does not vote."
And if they don't pay the fine, are they THEN arrested?
"The ballot system in India is now electronic, so there's no question of an empty box."
Oh, yes there is! Look up Avi Rubin's home page for major questions about the security of electronic voting.
I guess that one of my points is: Someone who's done something great (creatively handling a water shortage) should not be automatically given a free pass when they do other, more dangerously autocratic things. Do you want examples of such?
They fine people for not voting in Australia. It's not such a radical step.