The second edition of Gaon Chaley Hum was organised by Alexis Society and Adhrit Foundation from 28th to 30th March, 2014.
Singrauli, India’s Energy Capital is the 50th district of Madhya Pradesh. It was granted district status on 24th May 2008, with its headquarters at Waidhan to fulfill the aspirations of people of this place. It has been formed after dividing it from Sidhi district. The area in the eastern part of the Sidhi Distt. in the state of Madhya Pradesh and the adjoining southern part of Sonebhadra Distt. in the state of Uttar Pradesh is collectively known as Singrauli. As you can see in the map it is in the the northern-central part of India.
Singrauli has three tehsils namely Singrauli Deosar and Chitrangi. It has three development blocks by the same name. Singrauli town is a Municipal Corporation with a population of about 2 lakhs. The population of Singrauli district is about 11 lakhs. It is fast emerging as the power hub of India, especially for electric power and coal and therefore locally it is also call as Urjanchal (a Hindi word which means land of energy). The total installed capacity of all thermal power plants at Singrauli is around 10% total installed capacity of India.
Singrauli is poised to take a big leap forward with an impressive line up of new project in power, coal, aluminium, cement and infrastructure. Despite of the rapidly changing landscape due to these mega projects, and open cast minig, Singrauli has some great hideouts for nature lovers. It’s parks, waterfalls, prehistoric caves and wild life habitants are enough to keep the outdoor aficionados completely engrossed.
Today, five large scale power stations, an aluminium smelting plant, and a chemical factory stand on the shores of the lake. The power stations, which have a total output of more than 10,000 megawatts, are supplied with fuel from coal mines via conveyor belts, and rail carriages aid they are cooled with water out of the lake.
The population of Singrauli mainly consists of professionals and workers of these large industrial units and businessmen and employees of other organizations dealing with the power or coal industry, in addition to staff members of various government agencies. There exist good education facilities in Singrauli upto school level with the network of DPS, DAV, KV & St. Joseph, aided by the corporate sector, which are serving the local population also in addition to the family members of these companies.
Singrauli was earlier known as Shringavali, named after the sage Shringi, was once upon a time covered with dense and unnavigable forests and inhabited by wild animals. The place was considered so treacherous that it was used by the Kings of Rewa State, who ruled the area till 1947, as an open air prison for detaining errant civilians and officers.
Just two generations ago, small holders were tending their parcels of land here, and the original inhabitants were gathering honey and herbs in the forest. In the late fifties, a large scale dam banked up the water of the River Rihand. The dam known as Govind Vallabh Pant Sagar, was inaugurated by Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1962. Later, rich coal deposits spread over an area of 2200 km² in the state of M.P. (eastern part of Sidhi District) and U.P. (southern part of Sonebhadra District) were discovered close to the artificial lake that could be used to generate electricity.
Content Courtesy: District Administration, Singrauli.
Season 1 - Bundelkhand
The first edition of Gaon Chaley Hum was organised by Alexis Foundation and YUVA Foundation from 5th to 7th April, 2013. Development Alternatives and Model Governance Foundation were the partners for the 2013 Program.
Bundelkhand is one of the most fascinating areas of Central India with ancient history, famed temple complexes, rich forests juxtaposed with a harsh land and a defiant people. Known as ‘Chedi Kingdom’ in the ancient times, this geographic region got its name from Bundela Rajputs that ruled here until the 16th century. The region lies between the Indo-Gangetic Plain to the north and the Vindhya Mountains to the south. It is administratively divided across the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP). Bundelkhand's most well known tourist and archaeological site known for its sculptured temples is the world heritage site of the temple city of Khajuraho. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the most powerful god in the Hindu Trinity, it has a number of 10th century temples devoted to fine-living and erotic sculpture. Extensive forests are found in the hilly areas of southern Bundelkhand. The forests spread over an area of 543 sq km, across Panna and Chhatarpur districts, and have been notified as the Panna National Park and Tiger Reserve. Rainfed rivers of Ken, Betwa, Tons and Kali traverse the land which has rich mineral and stone deposits, the diamond mines of Panna being most famous from where a very large diamond dug from the last excavation is kept in the hill fortress of ancient Kalinjar, built in AD 150.
Life is tough for the rural majority in Bundelkhand. This expanse of sun-parched plains spanning 13 districts of southwest Uttar Pradesh and Northern Madhya Pradesh is one of the most marginalised and deprived in the whole country. But it hasn’t always been this way; history confirms the influential role that the region has played through the ages in the sub-continent. Beyond the rich cultural heritage, there was a strong tradition of management of the natural heritage- land, water and forests that formed the basis of hard but sustainable lifestyles of the people who inhabit this land. Today, however, Bundelkhand is inundated with the problems of poverty and penury. Dwindling natural resources, poor industrial development and very few livelihood options characterize the rural areas. Agriculture is the mainstay of Bundelkhand's economy, however, recurring droughts and poor land productivity, coupled with impacts of a changing climate threaten food security. Mass migration to cities is a regular phenomenon for a people with few economic opportunities.
It is a unique concept; a livelihood resource center demonstrating models of sustainable development, with facilities for training and conferencing. It is as much a destination for development practitioners in their quest for new learning as it is for the local village community whom it seeks to serve. Three such TARAgrams have now been established. TARAgram Orchha
Located on the banks of Baberi stream, this Sustainable Livelihood Resource Centre is very close to the beautiful and historic town of Orchha. TARAgram Orchha was set up in 1995 as a technology village by Development Alternatives. It has, over the years, demonstrated the economic viability of sustainable production systems. It has world class training and conferencing facilities with residential options. A small shop stocks attractive handicrafts produced by women groups from the area. It provides lessons from varied development interventions such as:
• TARAHandmade Paper recycling unit, started in 1995 run by Sahariya Tribal women. • TARA Nirman Kendra - a building material research cum production centre - started in 1995 produces a range of innovative, resource efficient affordable building products for construction of houses and public buildings. • DESI Power - India's first commercial 100 kW biomass gasifier - set up in 1996 ensures uninterrupted renewable power supply. • TARALivelihood Academy - provides training and capacity building services to women and youth for jobs and enterprises. • Radio Bundelkhand - The first Community Radio in Madhya Pradesh, Orchha set up in 2008 using 'entertainment' format for raising development issues.
TARAgram Pahuj is a Sustainabile Livelihood Resource Centre, located near Pahuj dam, in Village Ambabai, in Uttar Pradesh. The centre focuses on natural resource management and sustainable agricultural practices. It provides training and information services for local farmers and demonstrates:
• Rainwater harvesting, soil and moisture management practices. • Land reclamation and development especially using green organic manure. • Energy and water efficient farming practices. TARAgram Datia
TARAgram Datia located strategically on the north-south highway corridor demonstrates different models of energy conservation and green technology. TARAgram-Datia undertakes extensive research and demonstration related to the manufacture of energy efficient bricks. It is equipped with a Material Research Laboratory to undertake testing and analyses of clay and non clay-based bricks and building materials. It houses a women’s entrepreneurship center and provides facilities for training. Highlights are:
• A running model of the Eco-Brick Kiln that provides a clean solution to building construction and climate change mitigation. • Amaterials laboratory. • Biomass gassifier that provides green power to the operations.