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At least 27 villages from eastern Maharashtra's Chandrapur district will be developed as "ideal villages" modelled on the lines of Ralegan-Siddhi and Hiware Bazar in western Maharashtra, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said here on Saturday.
He said 27 sarpanches, deputy sarpanches and gram sevaks from Chandrapur are being motivated by Anna Hazare's Ralegan-Siddhi and Popatrao Pawar's Hiware Bazar, which are 35 kms apart in Ahmednagar district.
"We have taken up a mission to develop Vidarbha villages on the lines of these two villages through motivation. The fundamental principle of development 'top to bottom' will be employed here," said Mungantiwar after a detailed study tour of Ralegan-Siddhi and Hiware Bazar.
He said preserving wildlife is the need of the hour and Chandrapur has a large forest cover, a high tribal population and immense scope for development in terms of Human Development Index.
"Out of 15 blocks, 11 are backward in terms of HDI. We hope that public representatives and gram sevaks of Chandrapur will take motivation from these (Ahmednagar) ideal villages," Mungantiwar said.
Accompanied by Hazare and Pawar, besides Water Conservation Minister Ram Shinde, Water Supply Minister Babanrao Lonikar and other top officials, Mungantiwar termed Ralegan-Siddhi and Hiware Bazar as "walking universities" which can motivate people in other parts of the state, including the 27 villages in Chandrapur.
He visited the temples, farm ponds, watershed projects, afforestation efforts and other projects which could be replicated by the Chandrapur villages.
Interacting with the local villages, Mungantiwar complimented both Hazare and Pawar for their efforts which have made their villages ideal even in terms of happiness.
Both the Ahmednagar ideal villages, which have attained global fame, have implemented family planning, prohibition, restricted cattle grazing, imposed a ban on cutting trees and other revolutionary activities.
Among other things, the villages are leading in cleanliness, have sufficient sanitation facilities and are self-sufficient in water with different water conservation projects even though they are situated in a rain-shadow region.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)