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Adopted by Sachin Tendulkar

Inspirational figure: Children walk past a mural of Sachin Tendulkar on the wall of the village playground at Puttamraju Kandriga, near Gudur, in Andhra Pradesh.   | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

The dry and dusty village of Puttamraju Kandriga, near Gudur, in Andhra Pradesh, shot to fame two years ago when cricketer-turned-MP Sachin Tendulkar adopted it under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. Grand plans to develop the village’s infrastructure were being laid when The Hindu visited the place then. We went back to the village last week and could barely recognise the place. It is now a model village with facilities that will be the envy of any city. Even interior lanes have been concreted, every house has been connected to a drinking water pipeline and sewage grid, and the village is not just open defecation-free but is also rid of alcohol addiction. In an e-mail interview, Mr. Tendulkar speaks of his hopes till his Rajya Sabha term ends next year, and beyond.

Puttamraju Kandriga is now a well-developed village. What is your next project as MP?

I have adopted Donja in Osmanabad, Maharashtra, after the successful completion of the first phase of development in Puttamraju Kandriga near Nellore, while the second phase of works have begun in the other two habitations in the Nernuru Panchayat. The projects at Donja include a new school, a water supply scheme, concrete roads and sewage lines.

The villagers have welcomed the message of Swachh Bharat and they have promised to build and use toilets. I hope this transformation of both Puttamraju Kandriga and Donja motivates other villages to follow this model of development, as I am confident the people will embrace the changes being made to their lives.

What more do you plan to do for the village in terms of enabling livelihoods before your tenure as MP ends next year?

We have already deployed one of our brand partners at Puttamraju Kandriga to enable anyone who wishes to be trained on computers to be provided free computer coaching, and we also have started classes in stitching and sewing. The other livelihood initiative is vermi-compost, which I believe is taking shape slowly.

Along with the district administration, we have ensured two job fairs in our village, which was otherwise scheduled at Gudur. In this way, we are trying to change the role of a village and its infrastructure into a hub of activity for the nearby region. We are seeing slow changes and we hope the villagers will support all these initiatives and use all this to make themselves self-reliant.

The Nellore district administration has done a commendable job to constantly find avenues of work for the villagers but are facing hurdles due to certain prevailing mindsets, characteristic of many villages in India but both our teams will continue trying as long as we possibly can, even beyond my tenure. We will certainly find some way to assist in my personal capacity as and when possible for the village after my term but I sincerely hope after all our collective effort, this is a village that does not need any help and will become a shining example for the rest of the country in self-reliance and self-sustainability.

My vision for the two villages that is that they witness an overall development and not just a physical transformation. The people living in these villages are the custodians of facilities developed and they understand that well. I continue to closely monitor the progress of the village transformation with my team and provide my inputs to the Nellore Collector's office.

What were your thoughts when you visited the village in November 2016?

I was overwhelmed by the love I got from the people at Puttamraju Kandriga, especially when I visited after two years. The village, which is seeing a complete transformation, is on its way to become an Adarsh village as per the vision of the Hon’ble PM [Prime Minister] Shri [Narendra] Modi. I am really happy with the efforts of the Collector’s office, village leadership and local stakeholders who have worked tirelessly with the villagers in completing the first phase of development, and looking forward to second phase completion in the next few months. It is a wonderful village and I was pleased to see how aspirations in the village have increased and they maintain the village with great enthusiasm.

Between your tremendous achievements in cricket and improving the lives of hundreds of poor people, which gives you more satisfaction?

I have received unconditional love and support from people across the country during the 24 years on the cricket field. My second innings is about giving back in some way and I am trying my best to do that in whatever small way possible. It is an opportunity to touch people’s lives and make a difference in many different ways. It has also been a phase of learning for me as I come to understand the different aspects of life beyond the cricket field. I am thoroughly enjoying this phase of my life as much as my playing career and I cannot choose one over the other. Each has its place in my life and has taught me very different things about our great country and its people.


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Printable version | Sep 14, 2021 10:31:06 PM |

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