This Young Sarpanch Created a Model Village With CCTV Cameras, WiFi , a Renewable Energy Power Station

Punsari is one of the best villages of India, with all the amenities of a city but it was not always the best. Know how the efforts of one man changed the village in the past few years.

Himanshu Patel was born and brought up in Punsari village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. However, once he was done with his schooling, the family shifted to a nearby town for Himanshu further education.

It was then that the difference between town and village became clear to Himanshu, in his trips back to the village during his holidays. In the village, there was no electricity, no water system and law and order were almost out of control. There would be at least one police case every month due to feuds in the village. By the time Himanshu completed his graduation, the situation had worsened.

Many families had migrated from the village, the village Panchayat was carrying a loss of Rs 1.2 lakh, and there were 328 families below poverty line living there.

Even while he was studying, Himanshu researched on government schemes that could be adopted to change the situation in the village. He would voluntarily work for the betterment of the community and urge the Sarpanch and other authorities to make use of the schemes.

However, no one was willing to listen to a young boy who didn’t hold any position in the village.

“They would tell me that you are too young to understand how a village works. It is not easy to change the mindset of the villagers,” Himanshu said while talking to The Better India.

Himanshu realised the only way to bring about change was to hold a dominant position in the village.

After finishing his graduation, he contested in the Gram Panchayat elections of Punsari in 2006 and became the youngest Sarpanch of Punsari at the age of 22.

The road ahead was not that easy!

There were 23 different communities in the village, which today has a population of 6000. People were non-cooperative when it came to adopting a better living style. 98 per cent of the villagers were uneducated and in the agriculture or dairy farm business. The Panchayat had no funds at all. Rather, it had a debt of Rs 1.2 Lakh, and there were influential people always ready to oppose the new Sarpanch.

“I needed a team to work. I couldn’t have done it alone. But the Panchayat had no funds to recruit even a single member. Hence I made a 60-member team from already appointed Govt. employees in the village like teachers, Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and the staff at the health care centre etc. I asked them to progress step-by-step in their own fields,” says Himanshu.

Basic Amenities in the village through government schemes

The first step that Himanshu took to improve the village was to build trust among the villagers. He tried to understand the priorities of the villagers and what they wanted.

In the first three years of his tenure, he took care of all the basic needs of the villagers. Himanshu was very firm in that he would not seek the help of any NGO or CSR or any donations for funds. Instead, he used government schemes to fill the gap.