Padmashri Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil, the pioneer of Co-operative movement in sugar indsustry, established the Asia's first co-operative sugar factory at pravaranagar in 1948. His selfless commitment to ideal of co-operation, untiring efforts and leadership had led to the estblishment of the country's first viable sugar co-operative factory which in turn , had enriched the economic and social life of forty four villege in Pravara canal region in the northern part of Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. The co-operation movement led by the Pravara group's endeavours under the leadership. Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil played a significant role in the development of Maharashtra in key social and economical sphers.
Apart from securing economic progress Dr. Vitthalrao laid stress on social and cultural development through the establishment of Pravara Rural Education Society, Pravara Medical Trust, PIRENS and many other institutes which made available educational facilities to people in all interior rural areas in the region. All round development of the Pravara region through co-operative endeavour was possible only due to the unity, locality and cohesion of membership, which had been fostered by Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil. In recognition of the valuable contribution, he had made to the rural sector, the Government of India conferred on theme the Padamashri award in 1972. The Savitribai Phule Pune University , Pune credited him with a D. Litt degree in 1968 and the Mahatma Phule Agriculture University conferred on him a Doctorate degree in 1979. Padmashri Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil lived and worked like true 'Karmayogi' rendering selfless service to needy and the poor. He wiped out many a tears from thousands and thousands of eyes, earning their goodwill, affection and love.