Haridwar: Few miles from Haridwar city, Ajitpur is one among 4,465 villages located on the Ganga river basin which have been identified by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as part of its Ganga Rejuvenation plan.
There are millions of households located in these villages where a massive drive for rural sanitation has been launched with an aim to develop them as model villages so that the waste does not flow into the holy river.
Namami Gange has joined hands with the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti to make these villages Open Defecation Free (ODF) by constructing over 11 lakh independent toilets.
In the process, the 'households without toilets' were identified by panchayats and subsequently, a cash subsidy for construction was provided as per the approved government scheme.
Maya Ram Kashyap, the village head of Ajitpur said, "Now, over 90 per cent of the people in our village are using toilets and not going to defecate in open. They are helping to keep the river clean as Ganga is a symbol of our faith".
Parmila Devi, a villager said, "Dustbins are kept at every nook and corner. We have been given two dustbins for dry and wet garbage. Every day, the vehicle comes to collect garbage under the Namami Gange project. The village is now cleaner".
After the success of ODF, hundreds of villages located on the Ganga river basin have moved towards securing the ODF plus tag.
Under the rural sanitation initiatives for conservation of Ganga, the government laid emphasis on solid-liquid waste management, afforestation, organic farming, medicinal plants and revival of water bodies through MNREGA besides constructing the toilets.
Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG said, "We went to the next stage which says ODF Plus. That means solid-liquid waste management. So, we have done some projects. And for this solid-liquid waste management, we have identified some 500 plus big villages".
"In all these villages, apart from solid-liquid waste management and toilets, we have also encouraged tree plantation. So, we have also taken some plantation activities involving the local community and forest department for medicinal plants and others. That will also help. Uttarakhand, especially in these villages we are promoting organic farming," Mishra added.
The Namami Gange programme also funds solid and liquid waste management in the villages located near the river Ganga.
Under a convergence programme, major stakeholders including Panchayati Raj, MNREGA and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) have been working to devise an effective project for solid and liquid waste in the villages,
Garbage bins were provided to every household and an arrangement was made for door-to-door collection of garbage.
Garbage segregation centres, drainage facilities and incinerators have also been set up for comprehensive solid and liquid waste management.
Rajiv Kishore, Executive Director (Admin) at NMCG said, "In this particular thing, the solid and liquid waste management, very good quality of work is being done by villagers specially from this point of view that we have not empowered villagers so much which regard to carrying out infrastructure work but in this regard they have made a beginning and I think that it promises very well and can be done by the villagers on their own".
As the programme is handled by village panchayat themselves with the guidance from district level authorities, it is helping excellent capacity building among the villagers to handle their own affairs.
Enthusiastic participation from the villagers in Ganga Basin is reflective of the success which the mission has garnered in a limited frame of time....