Gangadevipalli (Andhra Pradesh): If India lives in its villages, then the model it
perhaps must follow is Gangadevipalli, a hamlet in Andhra
Pradesh's Warangal district where every house has the bare
necessities of life, and more.
From regular power and water supply to a scientific water
filtration plant, a community-owned cable TV service and concrete,
well-lit roads, Gangadevipalli has been steadily gaining in
prosperity thanks to a disciplined and determined community that
has also managed to work in harmony towards goals set
The village, about 200 km north of state capital Hyderabad, has
won several awards, including the "Nirmal Gram Puraskar", for
health and hygiene.
Now, the village headman has been invited to Nepal to recount
Gangadevipalli's success story.
"Our village has been hogging the limelight for all the right
reasons. I have now been invited to Nepal to explain how we work
so cohesively," headman K. Rajamouli told IANS.
With a population of a little over 1,300, the village has 100
percent adult literacy. The school dropout rate has been zero
"The unity of the village and the realisation of the need for
community development are at the root of the achievements of
Gangadevipalli," says S.S. Reddy of Bala Vikasa Social Service
Society, an NGO that has been working closely with villagers.
The village has over two dozen committees, which manage areas like
health and hygiene, the provision of drinking water, cable
television and literacy.
Another remarkable achievement for the village is that its married
population under the age of 35 does not have more than two
The village now boasts 100 percent survival of new-born babies,
their inoculation and immunisation, as well as regular vaccination
of children below five. The supply of nutritious food to children
and pregnant and lactating women, along with regular health
check-ups, is also among the unique achievements of the village.
The gender ratio of women and men is almost the same. Each woman
is also a member of a self-help group, making a significant
contribution to the family income.
Apart from having savings of at least Rs.10,000 each, every family
has a life insurance policy, prompting authorities to give the
village the "Beema Gram" award.
The farmers' development panel looks into improvements in
agriculture; experts explore ways of increasing productivity as
well as reducing farming costs.
But sometimes, even discipline could result in loss: "While
farmers all over the state rejoiced after the government announced
waiver of agricultural loans for small and marginal farmers,
peasants here suffered a loss of over Rs.40 lakh because we had
repaid our loans on time," headman Rajamouli said.
There is also a committee to come to the help of villagers engaged
in family disputes. A civil supplies body ensures that no
corruption takes place in the supply of essential commodities
through ration shops.
The village also enforces a complete ban on the sale of alcohol.
"Drinking may lead to communal disharmony as well as domestic
abuse. Hence the sale of liquor has been banned for more than a
decade now," said Kusam Ramaiah, head of the prohibition
The journey to progress has not been smooth sailing, though.
"The essence of our prosperity and development is our unity, and
it took years to forge that. There were so many divisions on the
basis of caste, religion, political belief, etc, but we did not
lose heart," says S. Kaadambani, the member of a self-help group.
As the village became famous, the residents launched a fresh
scheme to garner revenue - visitors are charged Rs.1,600 for a
conducted tour with proper guides to explain the progress that the
village has witnessed. Government functionaries, members of other
gram panchayats, media people and NGO activists from within the
country and abroad are among those who have dropped by.
There are at least two visits to this model village each week.
(Anurag Dey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)