AHMEDABAD: Gujarat has given the country — and the world — the concept of cooperation in the fields of banking, housing, milk and production sectors, which runs on the principle of collective ownership. Now one more sector has joined the glorious tradition – water cooperatives.
Experts point at the Mohini Water Cooperative Society in Choryasi taluka of Surat, founded in 1979 as the first-of-its-kind surface water irrigation cooperative in India. Founded with 145 members and a capital of Rs 7,900, it soon expanded its operations to six nearby villages.
Apoorva Oza, CEO of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India), said that the state is very open to such experiments and successful examples such as Samadhiyala and Tingut have shown what citizens can do with the right direction and faith from the government agencies. The efforts of the water cooperatives, known as paani or piyat samiti, have turned barren lands into fertile farms. The agency works with over 10,000 hectares under irrigation in Gujarat.
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