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21-Yr-Old Woman Looks After Villagers in Naxal Area of Gadchiroli

Bhagyashree Lekami was elected sarpanch in 2019, after two years of that village not having one.

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21-Yr-Old Woman Looks After Villagers in Naxal Area of Gadchiroli
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21-year-old Bhagyashree Lekami drives her bike through kutcha roads, bordered by forests, in relentless pursuit of her sarpanch duties in Maharashtra’s Naxal stronghold, Gadchiroli.

Lekami is the sarpanch of Koti village, located in Bhamragad Tehsil of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra. The village is situated close to dense forests and the mountainous Naxal-dominated area of Abujmarh, at a distance of 2,000 km from Mumbai, reported ANI.

Lekami was elected sarpanch in 2019, after two years of that village not having one.

Speaking to ANI, the 21 year old said:

“Our village is at a distance of 2,000 km from Mumbai. Even the government cannot reach here. This is why the government cannot understand the problems of our village. To change the situation, the people in the village will have to come forward. Therefore, I decided to become a sarpanch.”   
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New Goals Replace Old Dreams

Lekami, like any other student in the village, had initially dreamt of moving to a big city and starting a career there, but soon after her election, she decided to stay back and work towards resolving the problems faced by the villagers.

As per ANI, in the two years since her election, the village has already witnessed significant changes including the construction of pucka roads and water supply.

Presently, Lekami is working to combat the biggest problems faced by the village: Unemployment and lack of medical facilities.

She has also made women’s health and menstruation-related diseases a top priority on her agenda. Further, she has made sanitary pads available to the women of the village, using government funds.

Lekami has informed ANI that she wants to make her village number one, but she also does not want to hurt the identity of the village in the process of development.

“Whatever work I will do, it will definitely change the picture of the village, but the village will retain its importance," said the young sarpanch of the Koti Grampanchayat.

Lekami, as per ANI, travels to the nine villages falling under the Koti Gramanchayat, despite the fact that she has to travel through kutcha roads.

"I was born and brought up in this village. All the people have seen me since childhood. This is the reason why people give me love and respect and tell me their problems without any hesitation. They also hear what I say and never consider me weak as a woman.”

Further, Lekami informed ANI that she also works “neck and neck” with her male comrades.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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