To take stock of the ODF (open defecation free) Plus activities being carried out by Sarpanchs and other PRI officials in their respective villages and Blocks, and learn about challenges being encountered, the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) held a Sarpanch Samvad with PRIs (Panchayat Raj Institutions) of five States on December 15, 2020.
The purpose of the dialogue was to encourage Sarpanchs and offer support. The main points discussed were – the role of Sarpanchs in transforming their villages to ODF Plus, ensuring community hygiene; plans for solid and liquid waste management, plans for building an Adarsh Gram Panchayat and setting up Gobardhan units.
Almost 15 participants comprising Zila Panchayat and Block Presidents, Pradhans and Sarpanches from the States of UP, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan participated in the virtual meeting that was chaired by Mr. Arun Baroka, Additional Secretary, SBM-G, Ministry of Jal Shakti, in the presence of Mr. Yugal Joshi, Director-Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G).
In his opening remarks, Mr. Arun Baroka expressed his gratitude to the PRI members for their efforts in making the country ODF. However, the swachhata work is far from over, he said. In Phase II of SBM-G, there is much more work to be done, in terms of ensuring toilet usage, and construction of toilets for new households, and community toilets where necessary, to cater to the floating population and migrant labourers – so that no one is left behind. The AS also emphasised the need to effectively manage solid and liquid waste to ensure visual cleanliness of villages.
Mr. Yugal Joshi talked at length about the different components of SBM-G Phase-II including liquid waste management (both greywater and black water), Gobardhan projects which would result in clean biofuel and organic manure; and solid waste management, all of which when implemented would contribute to Sampoorna Swachhata.
PRI members who shared their achievements and challenges were:
Mr. Kulwinder Singh, Zila Parishad President, Meerut, UP: The ZP official spoke of the efforts being made to sustain their ODF status. Currently, the award-winning GP is exploring Dewats technology for wastewater treatment. Mr. Kulwinder also provided information about the O&M of their community sanitary complex, user charges and strategy for solid waste management.
Ms. Sunaina, Zila Parishad President, Lohardaga, Jharkhand: The ZP official spoke of their plans to build an Adarsh Gram, maintenance of CSCs, colour coding of bins and other activities for SLWM.
Ms. Kiran Bisht, Block President, Almora: The BP explained that all households have toilets which are functional, and no one resorts to open defecation anymore. Composting is done on a regular basis with the wet organic waste and the manure is used in the fields. Plastic on the other hand is segregated and given to recyclers.
Ms. Kusum Fauzdar, Sarpanch, Bharatpur, Rajasthan: With a fair understanding of Phase II guidelines, the Sarpanch said that they have made a model GPDP plan. The village has a highly active Nigrani Committee that visits homes to tell people about management of their organic and inorganic waste. To manage greywater, both vertical and horizontal soak pits have been constructed. Waste collection is done on a regular basis which is segregated at the waste yard. Gobardhan is being done on a small scale and the organic compost is used in fields. A digital model for SLWM has also been prepared.
Mr. Mithlesh Tiwari, Gram Pradhan, Barabanki, UP: In his village, women groups take care of the O&M of the community sanitary complex. Considerable focus is also given to usage of toilets, construction of soak pits and segregation of waste.
Mr. Harish Parmar, Block President, Chamoli, Uttarakhand: Several SLWM projects are done in this district in convergence with MGNREGA, the PRI member informed. Systems to effectively manage waste- both wet and dry are also in place.
Mr. Bharat Patil, Zila Parishad Vice President, Kolhapur, Maharashtra: Having worked in swachhata related matters over the past 17 years, the Sarpanch who has contributed to the ODF movement is now focusing on ODF Plus. He gave details of the O&M of their CSC, and how children are considered agents of change in his village.
Mr. Shyam Pratap Singh, Jahota, Sarpanch, Jaipur, Rajasthan: The Sarpanch talked about the GP’s efforts to manage liquid waste through the construction of magic/soak pits. They have been adhering to the guidelines issued to maintain swachhata and save water.
Ms. Yogita Gaikwad, Sarpanch, Nagpur, Maharashtra: The Sarpanch said that they hold regular Gram Sabhas to make people aware of the importance of Swachhata and how they can contribute to Sampoorna Swachhata. In all their activities, they have enthusiastic participation of NGOs, women’s groups. They look forward to receiving technical toolkits for Greywater Management and the learning tools being developed.
Mr. Narendra Melwan, Gram Pradhan, Dehradun, Uttarakhand: The village leader shared their experiences in waste to wealth initiatives including Gobardhan which they have set up on a trial basis for 15 families. The plan now is to ensure that 100% households utilise Gobar gas for cooking purposes. Their experiment has contributed to women’s empowerment and cleanliness of their villages.
Ms. Nandini Rajput, Gram Pradhan, Bijnor, UP: The village is working in accordance with the SBM-G Phase II guidelines. Amid the Covid pandemic, extra care has been taken to ensure hygiene and sanitation to curb the spread of the disease. They have also made a roadmap to ensure litter-free roads, soak pits at all handpumps and colour coded bins at public spaces to promote segregation of waste at source. They are looking at ways to promote an Adarsh Gaon through building of roads and drains.
Ms. Renuka Murmu, Zila Parishad President, Sahibganj, Jharkhand: All efforts are being made to sustain ODF status in the area by ensuring regular usage of toilets and retrofitting where necessary. The villages are implementing both Namami Gange and SBM-G projects with activities such as construction of soak pits, setting up biogas plants and cultivating kitchen gardens. Plans are in the pipeline to construct household soak pits and ensure proper drains and community soak pits across the villages.
Mr. Yugal Joshi informed the Sarpanchs that DDWS is developing toolkits, and technical training manuals which will be shared with them. Further, all support will be provided to them in the process of building ODF Plus villages.