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Janak Singh and his wife, Sundari in a wheat field next to the water pump which was installed recently with the coming of electricity to a pylon close by.

The pump has enabled villages to irrigate and cultivate 51 bigha (9 hectares) of land this winter. Prior to this there was no irrigation, so the villagers could only harvest one rain fed crop. Now they can cultivate two crops. The second crop that they are planting is wheat, with carrots planted on the small bunds around the wheat fields (carrots like loose deep soil), and some mustard plants.

Janak Singh: “Before four to five years ago there was no water here, everything that we were able to grow was as a result of rainfall. These were the crops that grow naturally in this areas, crops like mustard, and pigeon peas (pulse). Now that this tube well is here, things have changed a lot. It looks completely different to what it did before (green instead of arid yellow). Prior to the pump we used to plant gram and pigeon pea. This is the first year we have planted wheat, and we are using water like this for the first time. This is increasing my income.

”Sundari: “We would like our children to stay in our village, and hope that they don’t have to move away when they are grown up. We don’t think that they will have to move away now. Our daughter will get married soon so we are looking to find a nice husband for her. The tubewell belong to families from each of our three villages in Choti Ber, some are from Sundarpura, and some are from Laxmanpura (near this tube well). Our small hamlets make up the village of Rithora.”

Parmarth have been based in Jalaun since 1995 working with men and women of scheduled caste in some of the most remote parts of this dry, arid part of Uttar Pradesh. The main focus of their work is to build awareness of the benefits of cooperative working, and to be a catalyst, adviser, and funder of community based schemes that will enable villagers to strengthen their rural wa