In the drought-stricken village of Nandgaon, Nashik, the Hingane Dehare Pazar Talav percolation dam, built-in 1972, stood as a symbol of unfulfilled agricultural potential. For five decades, neglect had led to a dam filled with sludge, diminishing its water storage capacity and percolation rates. Valmik Viththal Bachchav, a retired teacher turned farmer, faced the consequences—crop failures, water scarcity, and financial struggles.

In 2019, a ray of hope emerged through Yuva Mitra’s de-silting initiative under the ‘Gaal Mukt Dharan, Gaal Mukt Shivar’ scheme. Supported by Tata Trusts and ATE Chandra Foundation, the project aimed to revive water bodies and enhance agricultural fertility.

Excavating 23,777 cubic meters of silt from the Hingane Dehare dam, Yuva Mitra facilitated the deposition of sludge on 29.72 acres of farmland owned by 64 farmers, including the Bachchav family. This process increased the dam’s water-carrying capacity by 23.7 million liters.

For the Bachchav family, depositing 425 cubic meters of silt in their 3-acre farmland meant a rejuvenation of hope. The cost of transportation, only 5,000 rupees due to owning a tractor, was manageable compared to the potential 18,000-20,000 rupees for private excavators.

The impact was swift. By October, the wells that once touched the bottom had 5-6 feet of water. The family dared to dream of a second crop, estimating year-round water availability for fruit fields.

Planting sweet-lemon and drumsticks post-silt deposition, they invested 30,000 rupees. With improved soil quality and confidence in sustained water availability, the Bachchav family, once limited to staple crops, now aspires to plant cash crops like teak, bamboo, and papaya.

Bachchav Gurujee, now a fervent advocate for water conservation, collaborates with Yuva Mitra to establish Water Users Associations, aiming for equitable water management. His vision extends beyond personal prosperity; he envisions a community flourishing on the foundation of enriched soil and sustained water sources.

In Bachchav Gurujee’s story, the de-silting project not only revitalized farmlands but also rekindled the spirit of self-reliance, transforming a barren landscape into a blossoming orchard of possibilities.


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