The visit to the two villages in Panvel district was highly enriching and enlightening. Located just few kilometres away from a well-developed district, these two villages are stark contrasts from life as we know it and live. We witnessed the barest minimum necessities that people live with. Neere is more developed than Dhodani by virtue of being easily accessible by road from Panvel. The double edged sword affecting this area is that the farmers who for ages have produced rice which is the main crop have now sold off their land to large real estate companies and have amassed huge wealth.
They are basking in the comfort of this richness with no thought attached to what might transpire in the future. While Neere is home to swanky cars and bikes, the basic medical amenities there are a bare minimum. We visited the local primary health care center present there and noticed the lack of many basic requirements. We understood the several gaps that existed in the system after talks with the administration, nurses and local villagers present there.
A short distance from Neere, nestled in the lap of the Matheran’s forests, lies the village of Dhodani. This is a small village, seemingly tribal. All the basic facilities here are in a miserable state. Be it roads, electricity, water supply or basic health care , there appears to be a complete unavailability of any resources to the poor villagers. We noticed the differences in the society and how there people lived a life of sheer ignorance and cut off from rest of the world.
Back in the main district, we had the wonderful opportunity of meeting with the local MLA, who provided us with deep insights into the functioning of the government and its various operational arms. He explained to us the working of the local bodies and the mentalities of the villagers who lived there with respect to health care. He advised us on the need for a system which compares the actual state of facilities in rural areas and those reported by the government.
This as explained by him, will help identify loopholes and also create an accountability and responsibility structure which will go a long way in aiding the poor villagers. This visit was a life changing experience as it opened up various perspectives on living conditions of people and made us realise that most times we take what we have for granted. It makes one appreciate and acknowledge the true value of life that we lead.