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Going an extra mile to bring smiles in Bundelkhand village

Gariya, a godforsaken village in the dreary Bundelkhand region, is in for some transformation. And a globetrotting son of this village is making this possible.
Hindustan Times | By Pankaj Jaiswal, Lucknow
UPDATED ON JUL 29, 2013 12:29 PM IST

Gariya, a godforsaken village in the dreary Bundelkhand region, is in for some transformation.

And a globetrotting son of this village is making this possible.

Using his business contacts, he has invited some companies to open a rural BPO (business processes outsourcing) centre in this Jalaun village so that unemployed youths get jobs.

Besides, some other youth have been sent for rural development training so that they become entrepreneurs in the village.

Son of a farmer in Gariya, Deepak Srivastava, 34, is doing every bit to bring happiness on the faces of villagers.

A professor of international business at the Institute of Management, Nirma University, Ahmedabad and a visiting professor at eight European and American business schools, he says: “I want to stay connected with my roots rather than staying uprooted.”

“Since I have the capacity to do something, I must work towards the uplift of this place. Had my fortune not favoured me, I would have been in the village like the other poor villagers,” he adds.

Deepak already arranged a meeting of the district/block officers at the village.

This was the first time villagers witnessed and participated in such a meeting.

The sub divisional magistrate (SDM) heard grievances and sorted out many on the spot.

It was found that many villagers who qualified to be beneficiaries of certain government schemes were left out.

“Now, those left out people have been included on the list of beneficiaries,” says Deepak.

The village had a long-standing drainage problem, but now the block chairman has adopted the village and announced to set up a drainage system that would cost nearly Rs 16 lakh.

Deepak also roped in two NGOs - Samarpan and Parmarth - for women’s empowerment, water conservation programme and other projects in the village.

“My father Dinesh Chandra Srivastava, 56, was born here and so was my grandfather. My great grandfather was a feudal lord. After land reforms, most of the land he lorded over went away to others. We still have agriculture land and my father, who lives with me whenever I am in India, does farming in the village. I was born in the adjacent small town of Orai. I did my schooling and ordinary graduation there. Then migrated to Jiwaji University, Gwalior to do my MBA and PhD and since then there was no looking back. But now I am looking back,” says Deepak.

Deepak says though he spends half of the year abroad, he would handle the transformation remotely.

“Even before I visited the village on July 14, I had made all the arrangements and spoken to all the people who mattered over the phone. The meeting on the 14th was successful. I would visit the village off and on.”

He is using a three-tier system for the transformation of the village -government, non-government and his business contacts.

At the government level, he is coordinating with the district magistrate, SDM, local MP, MLAs and a Rajya Sabha member from the region.

He says that his village was a backward village where houses were all mud houses; power supply was erratic, literacy poor, alcoholism high and poverty abject.

Villagers do not have proper access to government schemes because of rampant corruption.

Primary schools and mid-day meal scheme here do not function well because of lack of interest on both sides - teachers and students.

The villagers have not seen computers and many have not even seen the district headquarters.

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