Sanjay Tidke is a 42-year-old farmer from Akola district of Maharashtra. Faced with government apathy in getting a dam built in his village, Sanjay has sold a major chunk of his farmland to build a concrete dam for himself and other farmers in his village.
Tidke and his brother, who collectively own about 30 acres of land, have sold 10 acres for Rs. 55 lakh to build a dam that will have a capacity to store about 3 crore litres of water.
Canal flows through my farm and since there was no dam to block water, every monsoon a large portion of my farm would get washed off, causing huge losses. I have repeatedly asked the government for assistance to build a dam to stop water from coming into my farm, but there has been no response and so I decided to do something myself,” said Tidke in an interview given to Times of India.
Initially, in 2013 and 2014, Tidke tried constructing a dam made of soil. But, during the rains, the soil dam used to sink. This led Tidke to conclude that a concrete dam was needed.
As the cost of constructing a concrete dam is high, Tidke asked for help from the administration. But, instead, he says, the officials started harassing him and even accused him of buying sand ‘illegally.
“On the one hand the Maharashtra government is spending crores of rupees to undertake water conservation projects, and on the other hand when a farmer is spending money from his own pocket to do something for the village, the government officials still create problems,” he added.
The construction of the dam, which is being made on a budget of Rs. 22 lakh, started in March and will be completed by the first week of June.
Tidke, who grows cotton and soyabean in his fields, is hopeful that the dam will benefit the entire community of farmers in his village.
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