| Development as Unleashing Potential Efforts : the Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT) of Yellamanchili in Andhra Pradesh (1995) |
|Section 1 BCT and its activities|
Having decided to settle in, and work for his village, Dr Rao needed some work to keep himself going and he looked around. From Yellamanchili towards the sea, down stream the river Sarada, a beautiful sight awaits the traveller. The river Varaha joins the river Sarada at its mouth and together they pour themselves into the Bay of Bengal through a deep and narrow cut in the hill range guarding the coast. During high tide, the waves pump sea water up a long creek that runs into low-lying land between the rivers. This brine soaked expanse forms the salt tract of Vakapadu. A little to the north are similar tracts falling under the jurisdiction of Marripalem village.
Dr Rao’s initial attempt at mobilising local effort to manufacture common salt met with all-round opposition. The villagers did not understand the logic, the village leaders did not like outside initiative, the small-scale industry department of the government kept its own slow pace and his family was skeptical about the commercial viability. He fought on regardless on all four fronts and set up a public limited company - only to suffer a set-back in the 1977 floods.
In 1980, Solar Salts limited picked up enough momentum to reach a sales turnover of about Rs 200000. The demonstration effect was the development of salt-making in the area. Salt making caught up with the local people. Here the water from the sea is drawn into large reservoirs where prawns are grown. In summer, the water is drawn into the salt pans with wind mills where it evaporates leaving salt crystals. Work is in full swing by the local people, helped by seasoned skilled labour from Tuticorin down south, preparing reservoirs, condensers and crystallisers for new salt pans.