Journeys from barren land to UoP sub-centre

Though the lure of riches and temptations for a good life have been alluring, the tiny village of Babhurdi Ghumat in Ahmadnagar district, which has a population of merely 3,000 residents and does not even have a high school, is set to emerge on the global map as an educational hub because of the selfless people who reside here.

Noble cause: Villagers of Babhurdi Ghumat village in front of the existing sub-centre of the University of Pune in Ahmadnagar. Pic/Zang Aier

Around 83 acres of land located adjacent to the village was handed over to the University of Pune (UoP) last month to establish a full-fledged sub-centre of the institution, which can be converted into separate university in the near future.

The university had come up with the proposal in 2008 and the villagers approved. Though the grampanchayat of Babhurdi Ghumat has received numerous proposals over the past four years from industrialists and even some government departments seeking to acquire the barren land, they have refused to back down from their decision to hand it over to the UoP.

Knowledge centre: The plot in Babhurdi Ghumat village in Ahmadnagar district which has been proposed to be developed as a sub-centre for UoP 

“Recently, we received a lucrative offer from a major educationist of Pune seeking to establish a separate campus on the village land. But we blatantly refused and all the villagers unanimously decided to hand the land over to the UoP. We are doing this so that our next generation can be benefited once it becomes the newest education hub of the famous university in the state,” said Janardan Mane, former sarpanch of Babhurdi Ghumat village.

The village is located some 10 kilometres from the main Ahmadnagar city on state highway 147. The 83 acres of barren land was originally state government land, which had handed over to the grampanchayat of the Babhurdi Ghumat some years ago. Thereafter, all matters related to the land were left to the discretion of the grampanchayat.

Regarding the reason for them refusing the offers that have been coming in from industrialists, the villagers claim that they did not want to see it becoming like the Hinjewadi model, which is a village converted into an Information Technology (IT) hub near Pune.

“In Hinjewadi, farmers sold their lands for lakhs of rupees. But today they don’t have any participation in this big IT hub. We don’t want to see a Hinjewadi replicated. That’s why we have rejected many proposals before. The UoP has a unique brand in higher education and our village will experience the prosperity with the new campus of the university,” said villager Dattu Parbhane.

Currently, the Ahmadnagar sub-centre is situated in a small building in the city. “On September 18 the sub-centre got possession of the 83 acres of land. Formalities like converting land ownership from the grampanchayat to the UoP will be completed in the coming week. A total of Rs 32 crore has been allocated for the proposed sub-centre by the government,” said Dr S S Rindhe, director, UoP’s Ahmadnagar sub-centre.

Rindhe added that the villagers were cooperative with UoP’s proposal since 2008. Along with villagers, former Member of Parliament Dadapatil Shelke put in whole-hearted efforts to ensure the deed was done.

“Currently, around 1 lakh students from Ahmadnagar . This new proposed full-fledged sub-centre of the UoP will change the entire scenario. The 83-acre education campus will not only benefit Ahmadnagar but nearby Talukas of Solapur district like Barshi, Karmala, Ashti and also Patoda,” Shelke said. 

Problem solved
Babhurdi Ghumat village has a school till Std VII only. For further schooling, students have to walk four kilometres to a school in nearby village Valki. The UoP’s proposed sub-centre will end all their problems as it has provision for a school till Std X.

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