A study of service centres helps to better understand the region in sharing the functions of a rural setup. It takes into account the growth poles of the region and gives a glimpse of the possible bases for expansion in the future. Planners while considering the extension of services in rural areas, know only vaguely the distribution patterns of facilities, the extent of the area, and population which are covered and which needs to be served. The rural service centres play a very effective role in the life of the villagers. They can be considered from the aspects of medical, educational, market centres, transportation, water supply, Post and Telegraph, banking and shopping facilities. The size, distribution and location of these have a very important bearing in the village
community. It is observed that in the larger settlements, better facilities are present as compared with the small settlements.
Perhaps a village may better serve as a market-centre or an important location for a dispensary, or perhaps have educational facility. Village is the basic unit of settlement development. Recreational Centres are, comparatively, very few and all villages do not necessarily have one. A radio, a drum to call the village together, or a simple reading room with couple of newspapers is common in a good number of villages. Rural settlements have the need for service centres so as to make the life of the village more congenial in several aspects.
Some villages serve as recreational centres. These centres are attractive for tourists as recreation is a vital aspect of tourism.
Collection and Distribution of Goods
Trade and commerce play dominant role in the economic structure of any place or area. It is largely concerned with the type of raw material that is readily available locally or that which is brought into a particular location from nearby places.
The raw materials that are made available from the villages have to be marketed and this is at the market centres on specified days in the villages. In most rural areas, the weekly market is the central economic institution. Several studies have been made with respect to the fairs and markets by economists and geographers by studying both the lesser developed and advanced economies. In order to understand more fully the nature of periodic markets in the developing countries as in India and Africa, studies have been made by Johnson (1965) and R.H.T. Smith (1971), so also the writings of Broomely (197D. With respect to the location of the weekly markets, they are located in the larger rural centres to cater to the economic and social aspects.
Very little is known about the origin of the periodic markets, but taking into account the distance between them, it is probable that it had its beginning in the Medieval
period. Most of the market centres are located 3-5 miles apart, and the range is also governed by the round about trip distance people can walk in one day. The number of market days and the location is to reduce competition as far as possible among the neighbouring villages and also to facilitate the traders in visiting as many different
markets as possible.
Most of the markets are situated along the road passing through the village. It is not uncommon to find the peddlars and hawkers from outside and from within the
village who set up stalls. Articles for sale in addition to the local agricultural produce include tobacco, oil, cloth, spices, salt, earthenware, coir, gunny bags, blankets, snrees, brooms, ropes, shoes and fodder. In more recent times, ready-made materials of different types are being sold as well such as plastic ware, toys, hardware, soaps, etc. By the time noon arrives, the business and brisk is mostly accepted in cash without employing any intermediaries. It is observed that there may be brokers with respect to the livestock sale. Attendance to the weekly markets is not always the same and alters seasonally—the least during the rainy season and maximum during the winter. “There is a slow movement especially during the time of the harvest and sowing periods.
Cattle Markets are a particular type of periodic markets. In these markets villagers come to buy cattle of need.
In the interest of saving money, the banks have become very important not only in urban centres and central places, but also in the rural areas. Daring the last decade, there has been a spurt in the location of banks not only in the urbanized areas but also in the village locate although their numbers may be be representative to those found in the hierarchical system of location of places. Although the earning capacity of the
villagers is small, they have, no doubt, contributed to a regular basis to save money.
Post and Telegraph Offices
In many ways, the rural areas are less fortunate as compared to the urban centres and with respect to the communications, i t is no less the better.Post office are important service centres for villages.
Health is fundamental to any progress made by a nation or country. It is really a measure of energy and productive capacity in relation to the total number of persons maintained by the country. If health fails, the efficiency in the national production also is adversely affected, especially in the industrial and agricultural aspects. Health is not only the absence of disease, but complete adjustment of individual to external environment, physical and social.
Drinking Water Supply
In the rural centres, drinking water is a precious commodity. To save themselves from the problem of getting adequate water supply, the villagers are forced to construct their own wells for a dependable and regular supply of water which would be otherwise impossible. As the rainfall is not certain in all years and the rivers cannot be dependable for the clean water, it is necessary to have a good supply of water for domestic purposes.
The importance of education hardly needs emphasis in the development of a nation and more so in a planned rural development. There has been, therefore, a rapid growth
in the number of primary schools in the tahsils during the past decade and consequently, more students can obtain an education if they had the opportunity and the desire for the same. In fact, there is compulsory education propagated but there are also, at the same time, those who would prefer earning a few extra rupees than not studying to substantiate the meagre earnings of their parents or guardians.
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