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    1) The first industrial co-operative venture in Asia

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        Ahmednagar , the largest district in the State.  It is home to 19 sugar factories  and  is  also  the birthplace of the cooperative movement. Sugar, milk and bank cooperatives flourish here. Exactly 100 years ago, a great visionary was born  in  deep into the  heartland  of  Maharashtra.  Padmashree Dr. Vithalrao Vikhe Patil was one such visionary.The pioneer of Cooperative movement was bestowed a Padmashri for his Contribution to the community he belonged to.         Born in the drought prone district of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra    ( Western India ) in an ordinary peasant family, he was deeply moved by the pathetic  condition  of  the  rural  masses.

 But he was also aware of the immense storage of resources hidden within the humble rural people. which could be tapped to combat poverty, illiteracy, disease and inertia among the rural masses. He had made a decision. He had decided to take the lead.    His lack of formal education did not deter him from his chosen path. With his untiring efforts and the unfliching support from stalwarts like Shri. Vaikunthbhai Mehta as well as Shri.D.R.Gadgil, the first industrial co-operative venture in Asia - Pravara Sugar Factory (1948) was started. What started as a small step, soon developed into an approach that has since been widely recognised as The Pravara Model of Integrated Rural Development.

He established the first sugar Factory at Pravaranagar for uplifting socio-economic condition of the farmers. Towards the fulfillment of the vision of the great son of soil, a mission of educational Institutions were set up in Loni, Ahmednagar, Pune and Nashik District. Padmashri Dr. Vithalrao Vikhe Patil Foundation is one of such educational trust.

2) An Ideal village –Ralegaon siddhi

A role model of water conservation work can be seen at Ralegaon-Siddhi, which is also called the

  Ideal Village.

  A success story –                 

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In 1975, when Anna Hajare, a retired army man, went back to his village in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, he found the village reeling under drought, poverty, debt, and unemployment. He decided to mobilize the people and, with the collective support of all the villagers, he began to introduce changes. Today Ralegaon Siddhi is being taken  as  a  role  model  for  other  villages  by  the  Maharashtra government and by other states too. Massive tree plantation   has  been undertaken, and  hills  have been terraced to check   erosion.  Large canals  with ridges on  either  side  have  been  dug to  retain  rainwater.

 

As a result, the water table in this area is now considerably higher and the wells and  tube  wells are never  dry, making   it  possible  to raise three crops a year where only one was possible before.

       The  villager's   biggest  achievement  is undoubtedly in   the  area  of  non-conventional   energy. All the streets in the village are lit by solar  lights,  each   with a  separate  panel. There  are  four  large   community biogas plants and one of them is fitted  to  the  community  toilet. There  is a large  windmill  used  for pumping water. A number of households have their own biogas plants. The village is self sufficient .

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3)  An Ideal village-HIWARE BAZAR

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The visionaries of the village, along with some youngsters, invited Mr. Popatrao Pawar for the gramsabha (village meeting). He was unanimously elected as the Sarpanch after he addressed the need for an all-round development of the village that touched a chord in the people's hearts.
On January 26, 1990, the first gram sabha (meeting) was called, and the following basic needs of the village were identified:

  • Providing Drinking water
  • Providing fodders to cattle
  • Providing irrigation to agriculture

 

  • Providing educational facilities
  • Providing health facilities
  • Providing village roads
  • Providing electricity
  • Providing employment and their social and cultural activities.

The village has managed to beat back drought and fight drinking water problems. In Hiware Bazar, they have implemented a drip-irrigation system throughout the village to conserve water and increase food production, and have avoided water-guzzling crops like sugar-cane and bananas.

Soil and water conservation treatments - from contour blocking of rainwater, to afforestation, to trenching on private land, to built earthen structures and percolation tanks - all have played an important role.

Together with the green agenda, the reformer in Hiware Bazar have also implemented a program for social change, which involved banning liquor, adopting family planning program, and rendering voluntary labour - called shramadan  - to develope their village.

Positive results are being reported from the field - the out-migration of villagers to nearby urban areas has been arrested; there is now an influx of families seeking better water, health and economic conditions.

For Shri.  Pawar, the young man who changed the image of the high-crime village, prone to infighting that was Hiware Bazar prior to 1989, there has been a positive fallout too, personally. He has been elected the village head continuously since 1989 without opposition.

"The ban on grazing increased the production of grass from 200 tons in 1994-95 to more than 5,000 tones in 2001-2002," says shri. Pawar. "Likewise, the ban on felling trees has increased the biomass by 900,000 trees. Banning liquor has increased the efficiency of manpower,"

Villagers in Hiware Bazar also decided at their local council meetings to ban the sale of village land to "outsiders," and make HIV/AIDS testing compulsory before marriage.

Shri. Pawar says that their experience shows it is easier to carry on such work without an influx of big money.
Today, the village has been awarded the prestigious 'Ideal Village' status by the government of Maharashtra.

4)  Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV)

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The Maharashtra Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri is established on March 29, 1968 and subsequently named as Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV) after a great social reformer "Mahatma Jyotiba Phule". It has started functioning from October, 1969 at Rahuri, District  Ahmednagar, Maharashtra,  India.

The Campus is situated 35 kms from Ahmednagar  on Nagar-Manmad highway. The campus is 10 km from Rahuri Railway Station and 110 km from Manmad railway junction.

The basic mandate assigned to this University are advancement in teaching, research and imparting extension education to the farmers of the State. There are four Agricultural Universities in the State , catering the similar services in their locality. The jurisdiction of Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri extends over Western Maharashtra covering ten districts.

     The University has two faculties namely Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering. The under-graduate and post-graduate  programs  are offered  in  both  faculties.  The University  also  deals with lower agricultural education through Agricultural Schools, Mali Training Centre and Training's for Livestock Supervisors.

      The University has a very good network of research stations spread over different agro-climatic zones. In all 23 research stations, 4 State level specialists and 16 research testing/verification centers are located in different agro-climatic zones in addition to 4 Zonal research stations.

      Of the three fold functions, it is mandatory on the part of the University to transfer the technology from the research centers to the ultimate users through extension education program.

 

5)  Sanctuary for Black-Buck

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There is a sanctuary for Black-Buck at Rehkuri  in the Karjat taluka of the Ahmednagar district.

The total area of the sanctuary is 340 hectares, wherein exceeding 400 black bucks and 300 Chinkara antelopes can be seen. The total sanctuary, is surrounded by agricultural cultivation outside. Many a times it used to happen, that the antelopes destroyed the crops. It was hence that a fence which gives a mild shock generated from solar means is raised along the sanctuary borders. 

 

6) Maldhok( The Great  Indian Bustard) Bird Sanctuary

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Beautiful birds called the great Indian bustard  (Maldhok)  which is not seen at any other place is seen in Karjat, Shrigonde, Nevase  talukas. This region has been declared a sanctuary for these birds. The sanctuary occupies space of nearly 300 hectors. September to December is the best  period to visit.

 

7) Vehicles Research & Development Establishment

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The history of Vehicles Research & Development Establishment dates back to 1929, with the inception of ‘Chief Inspectorate of Mechanical Transport (CIMT) at Chaklala (now in Pakistan) in 1947, the Establishment  was shifted to Ahmednagar and was renamed as Technical Development Establishment [Vehicles], popularly known as TDE [V].  In 1962, the Engineering Wing was separated with the establishment of an independent establishment at Pune, named as R&DE (Engrs).  Further in 1965, the activities were bifurcated between ‘R&D’ and ‘Inspection’ and two separate establishments viz. Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (VRDE) and Controller ate of Inspection Vehicles (CIV), (now known as Controller ate of Quality Assurance Vehicles (CQAV), came into existence.    Click for more