The formation of Pravara Cooperative Sugar Factory and the successful working it has shared a new area in the history of the Cooperative movement in India in general and in Maharashtra in particular.
The foresight of Late Dr. Padmashri Vithalrao Vikhe Patil has transformed the way of life of agriculturists, collective efforts through cooperation have given a new dimension and in course of time the area of river Pravara has grown up into a big complex where multiple activities viz Sugar Factory, Paper Mill, Distillery, Milk Chilling Plant, Soil Testing Laboratory. Seed Farms, Transport Operators Society, Consumers Society, PVP College of Arts, Science and Commerce, College of Engineering, Polytechnic, Pravara Rural Medical Hospital College, and many more are in existence. Among them Pravara Cooperative Bank under the system of Urban Banks is also marching ahead with successful working since 1975 under the able guidance of Hon’ble M.P. Shri.E.V.alias Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, ExCabinet Minister, Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Government of India, who happens to be the main source of inspirations. Bank has started banking transactions with a meager share capital of Rs.2 lacs and 400 members.
We are living in an environment that is full of paradoxes and contradictions. Whereas man achieved splendid success in the sphere of science and technology, his attainments in the field of social justice, economic uplift, and human relations lag far behind. The benefits of science and technology reached certain parts of the world, certain parts of the country, and certain sections of society. The affluent sections of society both in urban and rural areas were more than successful in fulfilling their ambitions and aspirations while poorer sections of these societies continued to live under grinding and ever-increasing poverty who were denied even basic necessities of life. As far as our country is concerned more than half of the population lives below the poverty line, so percent of the total population lives in villages and nearly 70% of the farmers are small/marginal.
This brief profile of our villages makes it evident that underprivileged village people continue to suffer even amidst plenty. With this in view, the emphasis of the Indian Government on rural development is more than relevant and is most welcome. But the going is not just a walkover. It is hazardous, challenging, and rewarding if one really means it. The only question now posed for an answer is who should take up this challenge and how to go about it?
This requires conscious deliberations individually as well as collectively. One would hardly disagree that the success of integrated rural development efforts is dependent on conscious involvement of all the affluent segments of the society at it cannot be left only to the Government. Social service organizations, medium and big industries, and other commercial cooperative organizations can render yeoman service by accelerating the pace of rural development. Particularly the business organizations may make a landmark in the direction by applying business acumen to the management of rural development efforts. There may not be a dearth of such examples and the example of Pravara Cooperative complex in general and of Pravara Cooperative Bank, in particular, can conveniently be cited as one amongst them.