Fast forward to the past

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The village Pokhlabeda in Patamda block near Jamshedpur is unlike most other villages in the tribal population-dominated districts of Singhbhum today. Fifteen years back, farmers here considered themselves fortunate if they harvested one healthy crop a year. Today, most farmers manage about three crops a year, and some households even harvest four to five crops a year. This seemingly miraculous transformation is the result of a process of rediscovery of traditional water harvesting methods in the region.

Amarjeet Sinha was the deputy development commissioner (ddc) of the Singhbhum district during the late 1980s. This was the time when the government had set in motion a rather extensive well construction programme. Sinha observed that the traditional tribal method of harvesting water through tanks built for the purpose worked better than the government's programme. "I decided that the department needs to learn from the local community, and the government programme should shift focus to construction of tanks.'

From 1987