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It's a special day today! Everyone's rushing to get to the Gram Sabha! Do you know why? Because the Gram Sabha is holding its first meeting after the election of thenewGramPanchayat. The people of Hardas village are keen to find out what their new Panchayat leaders have planned for the village.
The Gram Sabha meeting begins with the Panchayat President (who is also called the Sarpanch) and the members of the Panchayat (the Panchs) presenting a plan on repairing the road that connects the village to the main highway. After this, the discussion moves to the subject of water and water shortages.
We need to do something more permanent as groundwater levels seem to be going down every year. We're using more water than is seeping into the ground."
Another member, Anwar then tells everyone that he has seen ways of conserving water and recharging (refilling) it in a village in Maharashtra where he'd once gone to visit his brother. It was called watershed development and he had heard that the government gave money for this work. In his brother's village people had planted trees, constructed check-dams and tanks. Everyone thought this was an interesting idea and the Gram Panchayat was asked to find out about it in detail.
A villager called Tijia begins the meeting by saying, "The water problem in Hardas has become very acute. The hand pump water has gone well below the point up to which the ground has been drilled. We hardly get any waterin the taps. Women have to go to the Suru river which is 3 k.m. away to get water." One of the members suggests piping water from the Suru and making an overhead tank in the village toincrease the supply. But the others think that this will be expensive. It's better, they feel, to deepen the handpumps and clean the wells for this season. Tijia says, "This is not enough.
Gram Sabha. As soon as the list is read out people begin to whisper. "Natwar has just bought a colour T.V. and his son has sent him a new motorcycle. How can he be below the poverty line?" Soorajmal mutters to the person sitting next to him. Saroj says to Sukhi bai "How did Birju's name get on to the list? He has so much land. This list should
1. What problem did the villagers in Hardas village face? What did they do to solve this problem?
2. What, in your opinion, is the importance of the Gram Sabha? Do you think all members should attend Gram Sabha meetings? Why?
3. What is the link between a Gram Sabha and a Gram Panchayat?
4. Take an example of any one task done by a Panchayat in your area/nearby rural area and find out the following:
a. Why it was taken up.
b. Where the money came from.
c. Whether or not the work has been completed.
5. What is the difference between a Gram Sabha and a Gram Panchayat?
6. Read the following news item.
Nimone is a village on the Chauphula-Shirur Road. Like many others, this village has also been facing a severe water shortage for the last few months and villagers depend on tankers for all their needs. Bhagvan Mahadeo Lad (35) of this village was beaten with sticks, iron rods and axes by a group of seven men. The incident came to light when some villagers brought a badly injured Lad to hospital for treatment. In the FIR recorded by the police Lad said that he was attacked when he insisted that the water in the tanker must be emptied into the storage tanks constructed as part of the water supply scheme by Nimone Gram Panchayat so that there would beequal distribution of water. However, he alleged that the upper caste men were against this and told him that the tanker water was not meant for the lower castes. Adapted from Indian Express, May 1, 2004
a. Why was Bhagvan beaten?
b. Do you think that the above is a case of discrimination? Why?
7. Find out more about watershed development and how it benefits an area?
Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 6 Civics Panchayati Raj