Meghdoot Sharon, CNN-IBN
India | Updated Jul 03, 2012 at 09:34am IST
Punsari: Ever heard of a village with CCTV cameras, 24-hour Wi-Fi Internet and solar-powered lamps? Well, Punsari village in Gujarat is providing its citizens much more than what even some urbanites can hope for. And all this is being done without any NRI funding or any special donations. Their formula for success? Make optimal use of the government schemes.
At a government primary school in the village, the students are under constant CCTV observation. This is to keep a tab on any wayward activities. Says Bhagwatiben Patel, Principal of the Punsari Primary School, “With the cameras in place, we can monitor the kids better. And even the children know they are being watched.”
A reverse osmosis plant in the village provides clean drinking water at a nominal cost of Rs 4 for a 20-litre drinking water can. An indepenent bus service, a Wi-Fi tower providing 24-hour free Internet connectivity, water-proof public speakers and solar-powered lamps have enhanced Punsari’s brand equity. And with each villager being insured for an accidental cover of Rs 1 lakh and a mediclaim cover of Rs 25,000, the people here have little to complain.
Sarpanch Himanshu Patel says, “The main intention was that we should have an atmosphere of a village, but facilities like those in the city. The government talks of urban-rural connect now, but we have already done it.”
Punsari’s turnaround happened when the village sold part of its land for plotted schemes. The money, deposited in government coffers, is used to fund the village’s welfare schemes. And the village has now received good governance awards from both the central and state governments.
Meanwhile, neither is the village drenched in NRI funds nor have its schemes been funded through donations. It’s just that the village has managed its accounts well and has made optimal use of government schemes.
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