An inspiring story of a village community in Karnataka fighting against the government to save ‘stream’ in their village

I am glad to share an inspiring story learnt during SALT visits facilitated by The Constellation, India Community Life Competence Group and SAMRAKSHA on 24th October 2010 at Koppal in North Karnataka, India.

Ojanahalli is a small village located 7 kms away from Koppal District head quarters in North Karnataka in India. About 4000 people live in this village and major source of income for the village is through Agriculture. During the off season young people engage in construction work to earn their bread. One common thing the men, women and children enjoy the most and are proud of is a beautiful stream located in their village. All three generations of people gathered spontaneously said that they enjoy this beautiful gift of God.

Since the village is close to the District Head quarters some of the vested interests wanted to capitalize on the sand mine in the stream. The price of sand is very high due to industrialization and growing construction business. Even the government has become party to generating income by inviting tenders from businessmen to lift the sand from the stream.

Village leaders sensing the danger of damage to their stream collectivized themselves to protest against the government inviting tenders to lift the sand. Since men, women and the children love their stream it was not difficult to convince every one to come together to fight for this cause. As the Village leaders have huge support from its members they courageously gave a representation to the government to do away with inviting tenders to lift the sand. Though the government tried to convince people saying that if the sand is not removed the area would be affected by the floods, the village communities were ready to face the floods than allowing the government to lift the sand from the stream. As the entire village communities united for the cause, government has withdrawn the invitation of tenders to lift the sand.

Village communities proved that together we can succeed against any force. The people in the village claim this incident as their proudest moment.

Thanks to the village communities for sharing this inspiring story. Thanks to Ms.Sangamitra, Ms.Lawan, Ms. Roselina, Ms.Olga and Mr.Arun the SALT team who facilitated the discussion. Thanks to the Constellation, India Community Life competence Group and SAMRAKSHA for organizing these visits.

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Comment by Divya Sarma on November 4, 2010 at 4:14pm
Thank you Anthony, an inspiring story of how people get together over something they value. Thank you Lawan for sharing about how the pride in their stream was transferred from generation to generation in the village.
Comment by Lawan Vejapikul on November 1, 2010 at 10:16am
Thanks for sharing Anthony, for me it was very nice to discover their dream and what they proud of !!

When I asked the children, what is the most proud of about your community/village? and the answer is "the stream" then when I asked again to the women (house wifes) group, the answer were the same!!!

For some people, it maybe just "a small stream" but for them this is something that also show their love and concern about their environment within their community and this probably be the reason why they insist to fight against the government and whoever want to take their sand!!!

Even a small point of view, we can still be able to explore about the big strength of the community if we are looking for it !!!
Comment by Gaston on October 26, 2010 at 1:28am
Thank you so much for sharing this. I couldn't make it to the SALT visits due to another travel, but these sharings help me to be at least there in spirit! Inspiring local response and well written. Thank you Anthony.

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