“We noticed cases of stomach and digestive ailments coming into the Health Clinic so we decided to test the water.
Contaminants were high and it was unsuitable for drinking - an RO plant was suggested as the best solution. The Village Development Committee (VDC) approached the Gram Panchayat for help, but were flatly refused - there was a lack of funds. However, land was alloted to rent, which was a starting point.
But we needed Rs 4 lakhs to start - where on earth would we get that from? ACF helped us develop a business plan, showing us how we could sell water and make profits. However after a series of talks, only 20 people came forward as investors, with just 2lakhs raised. Seeing our passion however, ACF loaned us the rest.
Setting up an RO plant requires drilling a borewell to access underground water. Disaster struck, when drilling found no trace of water. We were shattered! With no other way forward, we each invested another Rs 7000 to try again. This time we hit the jackpot - abundant water!
However once established, very few people came forward to purchase water. We needed to make the business model work and bring in some marketing savvy. We advertised in local businesses, schools and nearby villages and it worked! Gradually, profits flowed in and within 10 months investors saw a return of Rs 3.5 lakhs.
Today, the RO plant supplies water to 500 people and 130 households. We also managed to buy the land rented to us by the Panchayat! This is not just an RO plant. It’s an example of the power of our community.” - Shreeram Dattugi Bhogade, Gulab Jithode, Chandrapur, Maharashtra.