The new age Sarpanch of Chote Udepur

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When we think of the word Sarpanch, the image that comes to our minds is that of an old man in starched dhoti and kurta who presides over meetings and doles out ancient justice. However, with Ankit Ashok Bhai Shah, or Montu Bhai as he is better known is in stark contrast to this.

He is a 36 year old Sarpanch of Pavi Jetpur Gram Panchayat of the Chota Udepur district who has a very simple philosophy of governance. He believes in providing his wards with the access to opportunities and services in a way that will not clash with their traditional base and customs.

Pavi Jetpur happens to be a taluk having a population of 10,000 and the majority of people here are from the SC and ST category. Ever since Montu Bhai got elected to the post of Sarpanch, he has made it his mission to fulfill his mission of Sapne ka Jetpur or the Jetpur of dreams.

Montu Bhai is not only the youngest Sarpanch but also has a unique take on governance. After he completed his graduation from Vadadora he chose to come back to his roots and serve the people he calls his own. He has carefully cultivated a good working relationship with top bureaucrats and ministers of Gujarat so that governance becomes smooth in his Taluk.

After he came to office, the first thing that Montu Bhai did was to ensure that each and every family should have access to the basic facilities like electricity, water, roads, storm water drainage, education and hospitals. He works with his ear to the ground which ensures that even the slightest grievance gets recorded and addressed. He says, “It was one of the promises that I made during my campaign, to provide facilties like cities in the village itself. I will change the face of the village during my 5 year tenure and I have imagined what kind of place I want my Pavi Jetpur to be. No matter what efforts I need to put for that but I shall not stop till it happens.”

Montu Bhai has succeeded in raising more than 88 lakh rupees from government and private sources in order to fund different projects like Deendayal Upadhayay Awas Colony for poor people, Enjoyment park, Open Gym, Wi-fi in the village as well as a bio gas plant. The committee in the village is non-political and geared towards development of different facilities of the village and it sees active participation by many community leaders.

Image Source: The Optimistic Citizen

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