Setting an example of self-reliance, good infrastructure and scenic surroundings, Ambuja Cement Foundation’s (ACF) adopted core village - Mangi in Chandrapur, Maharashtra - was awarded the R.R Aba Patil Smart Village Award at the district level. Being Open Defecation Free, having a well maintained drainage system, safe drinking water supply, quality road network, 100% vaccination of community members and a widespread ban on plastic, scored brownie points for Mangi to be declared ‘Smart.’
As per the RR Patil Smart Village Award, villages in Maharashtra are awarded by the gram panchayats at taluka and district levels based on their performance across a variety of parameters. This ranges across areas like cleanliness, health, education, environment, and the use of infotech and renewable energy. District level committee members Dr. Mitali Sethi, President and CEO, Kapilnath Kalode, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Panchayat), and Kiran Kumar Dhanwade Rajura Group Development Officer, inspected the village, and due to meeting all parameters, was declared a ‘Smart Village’.
Since 2017, the community has been dedicatedly working towards achieving a Smart Village status. Every morning for 2 hours, the community comes together to clean the village, discuss ways to raise water levels and ensure maintenance of all infrastructure. As a result, the village has been able to achieve this status with support and involvement of the gram panchayat and Ambuja Cement Foundation, along with available government schemes and community contributions.
Talking about the extra ordinary recognition of Mangi village, Pearl Tiwari, Director & CEO, Ambuja Cement Foundation said, “It is a great satisfaction to see a village that ACF has closely worked with, alongside the gram panchayat, district administration and community members, achieve this remarkable milestone. We are committed to enabling positive change and prosperity within rural communities, and this achievement showcases a great transformation. I am hopeful that many more ACF adopted core villages will be recognised as ‘Smart Villages’ in the years to come.”
Apart from 100% toilet facilities and concrete roads, Mangi is also equipped with an RO plant, a solid waste management system, an outdoor gymnasium and also a village Reading Room. Recently a Village Agriculture Resource Centre was set up, providing farming advice to village farmers and also conducting training programs on advanced agriculture techniques, to improve farming practices.
Adding to the rustic beauty of the village, the gram panchayat developed a garden at the entrance of the community, and planted 8000 saplings across the village. Under its 1 billion tree plantation programme, ACF came up with a new and innovative approach of creating a dense plantation on an extra village land, which will give Mangi a dense forest look with native forest trees, shrubs and orchards, thus making it an oxygen park.
In 2017, Mangi was declared a Smart Village at a Taluka level, and also won the Sant Gadgebaba Gram Swachhata Puraskar for being the cleanest village in the block - later winning the district level award as well. Mangi village now stands as an example of how a community participatory approach produces results, and the community is working towards the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana of achieving a Model Village status.