- Farmer’s appeal ignored by local officials in Marathwada
- Sold part of his land, funded and built his own dam
- Dam can hold 3 crore litres of water, will share with others, he says
Akola, Maharashtra: For years, the monsoon has been stingy with Maharashtra’s Akola district, but when it did rain, a section of Sanjay Tikde’s farm would get flooded and disintegrate, the precious soil streaming away.
Nobody in the administration agreed to help him. So the 42-year-old farmer sold part of his 10-acre farm for 55 lakhs and used 20 lakhs to build a makeshift dam. The construction, which began in March, will be completed by the end of this month, just in time for this year’s monsoon.
“I repeatedly asked the government for financial assistance for this but they said there was no such scheme. An official told me I won’t get money. I said I will build a dam and show them,” said Mr Tidke, who farms soyabean and cotton.
The dam that now stands on the edge of his farm can hold 3 crore litres of water – a bonanza he plans to share. “I will let all farmers use the water from my dam for free,” said Mr Tikde.
“Villagers said he is a fool. But today he has built a dam which no farmers has done before. He is not human. He is our God,” said farmer Sanjay Tidke.
Officials filed a case against Mr Tikde for moving sand in the area illegally for private use. The harassment added to the challenge of the massive project.
Worth it, he says, standing on his farm. Mr Tikde was able to trump government apathy with his own resources. Many smaller farmers in the area have nothing they can use to beat the vicissitudes of weather.