Due to a lack of groundwater and the failure of successive monsoons, the people of Hivre Bazaar Village have been able to grow nothing but bajra. Of course, that was only until Popatrao Pawar became the sarpanch. As agricultural incomes fell, villagers migrated, unemployment rose, crime became commonplace and illicit liquor-making flourished. Conditions deteriorated to such a level that no government official wanted a posting there. When Pawar, a budding cricketer, was elected as the sarpanch in 1989, his family urged him to stay in the city. "But I felt that I needed to make my village better," he said.
"Hivre Bazaar has become a model village. The Government wants to replicate this ideal across Maharashtra." P. Anbalgan, Collector, Ahmednagar