The roads are cemented and wide. Pavements are tiled. Underground drains backed by a treatment plant keep the stink away. Water and electricity are available 24x7. And, it is not a smart city in the making.
Puttam Rajuvari Kandriga is a small village of 150 households in Andhra Pradesh’s coastal district of Nellore.
The transformation of PR Kandriga from a dusty hamlet to a swanky modern village is writ large next to the front doors of its 150 homes: an image of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar with the house number.
Tendulkar, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, adopted the hamlet under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (Sagy) in October 2014. Over the next few months, PR Kandriga got facilities that even cities struggle to have.
“We never dreamt of these facilities before the young MP visited this village on November 16, 2014. It has given a modern look to our village,” village sarpanch Bujji Nageshwara Rao told HT.
A rural development plan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2014, Sagy requires all members of Parliament to develop – socially as well as economically -- three rural areas into model villages by 2019.
PR Kandriga is well on its way to being one.
Wide concrete roads with tiled pavements lead to the village, where electric poles line the streets. Unlike neighbouring villages, drains don’t overflow -- the drainage system is underground. Water is safe for drinking and taps don’t run dry here, a common problem in the area.
Tendulkar has given a grant of around Rs 4 crore and Nellore administration matched his first contribution with Rs 2.90 crore aid.
Though there is no separate budgetary allocation under Sagy but members of Parliament can channelise money through around 21 ongoing development schemes.
The money seems to have been put to good use. A spacious community hall that can accommodate at least 1,000 people has come up close to the village entrance.
Behind the hall is a big playground built next to a modern kitchen and dining hall for the primary school. The school has an e-toilet -- a self-cleaning facility – and a separate restroom for girls.
But, like Tendulkar’s legendary hunger for runs, villagers want more.
“We continue to work as agriculture labourers despite having all modern amenities,” said Arunamma, who is looking for better employment.
The village school has 32 students and they have their mid-day meal on the premises. The modern kitchen and dining hall were of little use to them, N Masthanaiah, a teacher, said.
Sarpanch Rao wants a high school so that the children don’t leave the village to join higher classes. “The community hall can be used as the school building. We don’t want our children to become labourers like us,” he said.
For PR Kandriga to develop, villagers should have better means to earn a living. “We are asking for a tailoring centre and a pickle-making unit for providing employment to women,” Rao said.
The district administration agrees. They would now focus on improving the social indicators by providing health, education and employment facilities, Nellore joint collector A Md Imtiaz said.
Tendulkar and PR Kandriga look set for a long fruitful innings.
Total population: 465 -- around 200 SCs and 100 STs
MP Sachin Tendulkar adopted the village on October 16, 2014 and visited on November 14, 2014
Grant from Sachin under SAGY: Rs 2.79 crore
Grant from Nellore district administration: Rs 2.90 crore
Expenditure on cement roads and storm water drains: Rs 1.70 crore
Expenditure on drinking water and sanitation: Rs 90 lakh
Expenditure on uninterrupted power supply: Rs 30 lakh
Remaining amount was spent on construction of community hall, arch, kitchen and dining hall, Anganwadi centre, toilets in schools, development of playground, modernisation of village tank for taking up fish culture, etc.
Sachin released another Rs 90 lakh recently under SAGY for Nernur gram panchayat