Dhanora village: First smart village of Rajasthan

Dhanora village, located in the Dholpur district of Rajasthan, underwent a remarkable transformation over the course of a decade, evolving from a neglected and underdeveloped area into a model smart village. A decade ago, Dhanora faced challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, poor sanitation, lack of proper housing, and limited access to basic amenities like clean water and electricity. However, through the efforts of the Eco Needs Foundation and collaboration with the local community and the Rajasthan government, Dhanora’s story took a positive turn.

The village’s journey towards becoming a smart village involved several key aspects:

1. Infrastructure Development: The foundation prioritized the improvement of roads, which were once in poor condition and hindered connectivity. Better roads facilitated access to the village and enabled subsequent development efforts. The construction of proper housing, community halls, recreational areas, and schools followed, transforming the physical landscape of the village.

2. Greenfield Initiatives:Efforts were made to enhance environmental sustainability. Waste management systems were established, including waste disposal and wastewater treatment plants. Tree plantation projects were undertaken, contributing to a greener environment and better air quality.

3. Technological Advancements: The implementation of e-Pan (electronic planning) brought technological connectivity to the village. Solar power was harnessed, providing uninterrupted electricity, and the village gained access to the internet. Schools were equipped with computers, and public libraries were established, promoting education and knowledge-sharing.

4. Sanitation and Hygiene: One of the primary goals was to eliminate open defecation. To achieve this, the foundation worked on constructing toilets in every household, with support from the community and local authorities. The village was declared open defecation-free (ODF) by the state government.

5. Community Engagement: Overcoming initial skepticism, the foundation engaged with the villagers through extensive meetings and open discussions. Community participation was essential for the success of various projects, from building toilets to constructing infrastructure.

6. Water Conservation: Water conservation structures, including percolation tanks and a canal system, were built to recharge groundwater and improve water availability for farming. This initiative significantly benefited local farmers, leading to improved agricultural practices.

7. Skill Development and Livelihood: Skill development centers were established to offer vocational training, enabling residents to enhance their livelihood opportunities. Educational programs and coaching centers were set up to prepare students for competitive examinations and government jobs.

8. Social Impact: The village’s transformation extended beyond infrastructure. The community adopted environmentally friendly practices, such as using cremation ashes as fertilizer and contributing to a fund for newborn girls. These practices promoted sustainability and social responsibility.

9. Funding and Support: The transformation was made possible through a combination of government funds, private donations, and contributions from the villagers themselves. Collaboration with organizations, government bodies, and individuals played a crucial role in funding various projects.

The success of Dhanora village’s transformation into a smart village has attracted attention from governments, corporations, and individuals alike. It has become a beacon of sustainable development and an inspiration for other villages across different states in India. The case of Dhanora underscores the potential of grassroots efforts, community engagement, and innovative approaches in bringing about positive change in rural areas and fostering self-sufficiency and sustainable living.

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