A renovated pond builds hope for prosperity for a village


By Chandrika Patnaik

6 September 2023

A Village Development Committee mobilises funds to renovate a pond and bring in benefits for its farmers and residents.

The Gram Vikas team in discussion with the VDC members of Taraba village on renovation of the Akanurba pond.

Photograph shared by Banabasi Pattanaik

Taraba village in the Gumma block of Gajapati district faced water shortages during the summer season. The entire region around the village faced water scarcity issues during dry months. The shallow pond in Taraba dried up during the hot summers.

Due to water drying up in the pond during the summer, farmers owning land adjoining the pond could not cultivate crops. The water shortage also created concerns when the nearby Church attracted approximately fifty-sixty thousand people during special services conducted every alternate year during February-March. Many among them stayed back in the village for a few days. During this time, there was an excess demand for water.

To combat this issue, the VDC members suggested a meeting to discuss the matter with Gram Vikas for support in digging the pond deeper to ensure it held water throughout the year. They presented a plan to rebuild the pond to serve as a water source for washing clothes during summers, help irrigate the 60 acres of cultivable land adjoining it and address regular water supply for all in the village.

In July 2022, the VDC members of Taraba village met with Gram Vikas. The topic of discussion was the renovation of the Akanurba pond in Taraba village, which was around 400 meters in radius and was shallow.

The Gram Vikas team suggested that the VDC members write an application seeking support from the Sarpanch of Taraba to release funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for the renovation of the pond at the earliest.

The VDC members approached the Sarpanch of Taraba with an application on 2 August 2022. They discussed how having water in the pond during the dry months could benefit farmers and residents of the village. The Sarpanch put this on the agenda for the next Gram Sabha meeting. On 15 August 2022, during the Gram Sabha meeting, the Taraba VDC President Nazir Gomango, 49, spoke on the issue and requested the Gram Panchayat to release funds to renovate the pond in his village on priority, attended by The Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members, other leaders and VDC members from the eight villages under the Taraba Panchayat and village residents.

On 4 October 2022, the Taraba VDC received the funds in its account from the Panchayat, and work commenced soon after that under the Government’s MGNREGS.

The pond rebuilding began with digging at the site for 30 days by men and women from each household in the village. Upon completion of digging, the VDC ensured the construction of wide steps on opposite sides of the pond for convenience. These were made on either side for men and women separately to be able to wash their clothes or walk down to the pond to fetch water for their cattle and goats. The work completed in the first week of December 2022, just before Christmas.

The Sarpanch of Taraba Panchayat inaugurated the pond on 26 January 2023, on India’s Republic Day, in the presence of VDC leaders from the eight villages, PRI members, Samiti members, Gram Rozgar Sevak of Taraba Panchayat, Ward members, and the eight newly-elected Gram Panchayat Coordination Committee (GPCC) members.

Sarpanch Javedi Gomango, 38, unfurled the national flag and sang the anthem in the presence of the dignitaries.

At the event, the Sarpanch felicitated the gathering and spoke about the proactive manner of the VDC members of Taraba village who took the initiative to renovate the pond in their village for the benefit of farmers, residents and visitors. He told the audience he felt proud that a village under his Panchayat took the initiative to improve and develop their village by following official procedures, requesting approval in a written application and requesting release of funds through the MGNREGS.

The pond renovation in Taraba village benefited not only the farmers who had land adjoining the pond but also the village who now had a durable asset. He further said that since funds came through the MGNREGS, village residents could earn wages during the renovation work.

In his speech, the Sarpanch encouraged the VDCs of the other villages under the Panchayat to emulate the work done by Taraba VDC to mobilise funds through Government schemes and setting in motion development in their villages.

The newly elected GPCC members were present during the meeting. For the first time, they learned the management approach to approve and release funds through Government schemes for development work in the villages. They also learned how to prioritise work to fulfil the demands of villages.

Overall, the renovated pond has been a significant development for Taraba village; it will provide water for various purposes to the residents during summers and aid in irrigation for farmers whose land adjoins the pond. Starting this year, these farmers can cultivate around the year, thus improving their income abilities. The village will host a large number of people during annual festivities without having to face severe water shortages.

The pond will provide water for various purposes to the residents during summers and aid in irrigation for farmers whose land adjoins it.

Photograph shared by Banabasi Pattanaik


Banabasi Pattanaik, a Thematic Coordinator in Village Institution and Convergence and Jannatun Begum, Thematic Manager, helped collect data for the story. Amrita Haldipur edited the story.


Chandrika Patnaik leads content production within the Communications team in Gram Vikas.


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