The month has started with a flurry of activity across the blocks of Pughoboto and Tseminyu in Zunheboto District of Nagaland. With the second round of verification for the ‘Clean Village Award’ in progress, every village is doing its utmost, keen to win the coveted award – a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs.
Zunheboto district comprises of 176 villages. Needless to say, the entire village community has to do their part to win the prize, K Ghushito Sumi, Director, Water and Sanitation Support Office (WSSO), Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and State Coordinator (SBM-G), Nagaland said.
In the run up to the competition, each household should have its own locally made bamboo waste bins for collection of solid waste which should be disposed off at an assigned place outside the village area. Bio-degradable waste on the other hand should be dumped in a compost pit dug near the compound. Further each house should have flowering plants and trees for shade, adding to the beauty of the area.
Significantly, individual latrines as well as community toilets should be kept neat and tidy. The maintenance of village roads, footpaths and drainage would also be looked into during inspection. Further, if any village has stray animals wandering about, a fine will be imposed.
“The award that comes under the Local Area Development Fund (LADF) was instituted by the local MLA of Pughoboto sub-division under Zunheboto District who is presently the Minister for Roads and Bridges, Nagaland,” explains Ghushito. During an event last year, the Chief Minister had asked all districts to give importance to sanitation and this competition was a result of that.
Over three rounds of verification, the villages are judged based on various criteria. The verification committee headed by Sub Divisional Officer (Civil) Er. Namang Chang as Convenor takes into account appearance, cleanliness, gardens and plantation, maintenance of public property, sanitation and draining; water supply and source, community initiative, care and management of livestock; and preservation of traditional practices and culture.
The very first clean village award in 2015 went to Ghathashi village. This time around, the first round of verification was carried out in August and the second is currently on while the final inspection for the cleanest village will be carried out around October before the award is presented at a grand cultural event called Thuwu-Ni Pughoboto (meaning Progress-Pughoboto) that is scheduled to be held during 13-14 November, coinciding with the Annual Sumi Festival called Ahuna. The event will showcase the cultural traditions of the region in terms of dance, music, games, costumes and food.
The award for the cleanest village is an encouragement to the community as a whole as it gives opportunity for healthy competition, Ghushito said. The winning village will set an example for neighbouring villages to emulate. Notably, women and children play the major role in cleanliness both indoors and outdoors, also enhancing the beauty of the village through their gardening and rearing of flowers.
All 11 districts of the State are yet to be declared open defecation free. In Zunheboto which is among the SBM phase I districts which are targeted to be declared ODF by 2016-1, there are still 13,991 households without toilets. Towards this, the district has decided to construct the balance toilets during this financial year.
Plans are also in the pipeline to put in place a system for solid and liquid waste management. “We plan to start the programme by year end,” said Sumi.