Solutions for the rural world

Driving Change

Solutions for the rural world

Mera Gaon Mera Base, a unique exhibition showcasing the top entries of a competition for engineering and architecture students across the country, was recently held at Alliance Francaise.

The competition, which was organised by Ultratech, received 433 entries in total and compelled students to venture into rural India, understanding the challenges faced here and mapping out possible solutions.

Villages in this country are being forced to remain as crumbling units of a derelict past and it is time for building professionals to address this problem.

With this vision in mind, various shortfalls like lack of infrastructure, water resources and sanitation were looked into.

Across the various states, students picked villages like Bholi (Maharashtra), Palheri (Haryana), Tirki Tirlapur (Karnataka), Ponneri (Tamil Nadu), Mayurnagar (Gujarat), Pragpur (Himachal Pradesh) and Charanwala (Rajasthan) among others, spent time there living with the locals and identified core issues that need to be addressed.

Some needed changes in agricultural practices and education and health care centres were missing in most of them. Along with the problems, proposals made by the students and people’s initiatives in the area were also included in the exhibition.

“This gave us the platform to explore the remote, secluded villages that are devoid of basic facilities and infrastructure. Villages are the backbone of India. This is the best step taken to improve the conditions of the villages and help the people there lead a happy and healthy life like the rest of us,” says Arya Katwe, a participant.

For the visitors at the exhibition, it was interesting to see the possibilities of engineering a developed nation. “It’s a fascinating subject, but the objective and goal of the exhibition and competition need to be questioned. Going by predictions, by 2050, 80 per cent of India will be urbanised and 20 per cent will be agriculture-based. But we haven’t learnt urbanisation in the proper way — we’ve turned cities into villages and villages into cities.

It must happen, though, and it’s good to see young minds figuring out how it should happen,” shares K Jaisim, who is well versed with the subject.

He makes a valid point, because while it is important to identify weaknesses and loopholes, addressing them is just as important. The competition was backed by an eminent jury, comprising renowned names such as engineer Chewang Norphel, Nimish Patel and Parul Zaveri among others. The results of the competition are yet to be announced.

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