GOBAR-Dhan Scheme can lead to environmental sanitation

Sundarban Cooperative Milk and Livestock Producers’ Union Limited under the brand name Sundarini has set a benchmark in terms of using organic fertilizers for producing its products.  This is one of the models that can be adopted for implementation of the GOBAR-Dhan Scheme that is being promoted in a big way, across the country, by the Government of India.

Each family in those villages of the Sundarbans in South 24 Parganas of West Bengal raises cows for milk, and their dung is used to produce biogas in a mini plant.  The biogas produced is used for cooking while slurry – the by-product is used as organic fertilizer in farming.

This was shared by Dr. M.V. Rao, Additional Chief Secretary, Cooperation and Rural Sanitation Department, Government of West Bengal during a virtual orientation on GOBAR-Dhan 2020 – A unified approach by GoI to transform waste to wealth in the rural areas. 

It is certainly a model that we can learn from, said by Mr. Arun Baroka, Additional Secretary (AS), Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti during a virtual presentation on GOBAR-Dhan 2020-21 pilot projects.

Clarifying that the GOBAR-Dhan Scheme was in accordance with the PM’s vision for Sampoorna swachhata, the AS explained the guiding principles, the potential for biomethanation in rural India; the various biogas programmes of the Government of India, the pilot programmes being planned under GOBAR-Dhan 2020-21, showcasing the various business models from Gujarat.

“Many variations are possible – any model can be adopted as per local condition,” Mr. Baroka said, outlining the new developments in terms of funding that have created a positive ecosystem.  He went on to explain the role of the States; and the proposed governance arrangements at GOI, State and District levels.  He elaborated on the next steps, providing an indicative timeframe, assuring that the Government will be extending full support.  It is an opportunity that States should make best use of.

Mr. Rao agreed that it was an excellent forward-looking scheme and States should use natural resources to produce organic fertilizer.  Going by the numerous vegetable and fish markets as also the haats that generate huge amounts of waste that affect the environment and sanitation conditions, he added that the GOBAR-Dhan Scheme can solve the problem and create wealth in the process.  In this regard, the cooperatives can take a lead.

West Bengal would need to identify the nodal Department and undertake all the preparatory work to begin pilot projects.

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