From singing and talent contests to cooking shows, competition based reality shows are the current trend across the country attracting large audiences. In keeping with this trend, the district administration of Barwani in Madhya Pradesh (MP) has organized ‘Mistri No.1’ a 10-day toilet building competition for both men and women masons, starting on January 10th.
“Mistri No. 1, designed along lines of Masterchef, will encourage villagers to be a part of the winning team. The prize is a running shield, with a ticket to the 26th January parade in Delhi and sightseeing in the national capital,” Collector of Barwani, Tejaswi Naik said.
With a separate Department of Happiness in place, Anand Utsav is a State government initiative organized after the Ujjain Simhasth Kumbh. During the Anand Utsav, scheduled to be held from January 14-16, all of MP normally celebrates through rural sports and cultural events. Mistri No. 1 will be a part of the competition this year.
At the same time, the ‘Narmada Seva Yatra’ is an event launched by the State Chief Minister (CM) to create awareness about conservation of River Narmada. Having commenced from the source of the river on December 11th, the Yatra will come to an end in May. The district leg falls in between February 13th and 18th.
Mistri No. 1 will have women as well as men participating with separate prizes allocated for each of them. The village of Chhota Badada will see all-women teams competing as the village has been designated a Mahila gram in the Narmada seva preparations. Further, all its officials, judges and mistris (100 in all) are ladies.
Considering that the district already has over 900 trained mistris under PM Awas Mistri training, the officials are keen to train an additional 300 mistris. For this, during the competition, the administration is placing one master trainer with two trainees for help. “We hope this hands-on training in competition mode will ensure best practices to be shared,” the Collector said.
Significantly, about 1/3rd of the participants are women. They are enthusiastic and ready to face the challenge, which would not only scale up their skills but also their livelihood. Most of them are daily wage labourers who work in cotton/sugar cane fields.
“They will now earn double as a mistri. With 5000 and more houses being built under PM Awas Yojana, there will be no dearth of work for them,” he added.
A Member of Parliament will inaugurate the event on January-10 and participate in toilet building with the help of a mistri. Further, work stations have been allotted to officials. The actual contest will commence on January-11, Naik added.
A backward area with over 70% of population from the tribal community, open defecation has been common in Barwani. It is among the 10 districts in all of India which have a Vanbandhu block. Vanbandhu blocks are those with the lowest HDI (human development index) parameters selected for special intervention by the Government of India, popularly known as the Gujarat Model.