By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Out of 365 villages which have been awarded with the Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) 2011 Award, it is suprising that none of the villages from Jaintia Hills received the award.
As per the total sanitation campaign report, which showcases the performance of the Khasi Hills, Jaintia and Ri-Bhoi, it was mentioned that one of the no villages from Jaintia Hills qualified to get the NGP Award for 2011.
During the year 2011-2012, the report stated that the State Government forwarded the NGP application for 1053 villages from seven districts to the State Government to be considered for NGP award.
“The Union Government appointed the verifying agency to visit all the 1053 villages. After thorough field investigation and interview with the villagers, the verifying agency found that only 365 villages qualified the parameters set in the NGP guidelines of Union Government for the award,” the report said.
Out of the 365 villages for the NGP Award 2011, 266 villages are from East, West and South Garo Hills, while 216 villages from West Garo Hills alone. The remaining NGP awards were awarded to 40 villages in East Khasi Hills, 44 villages in West Khasi Hills and 15 villages in Ri-Bhoi district.
Meanwhile, PHE Minister Shitlang Pale who distributed the award to the various villages, won the NGP Award 2011 from East Khasi hills, West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi district during a function was held at Don Bosco Hall in Shillong on Friday.
Speaking on the occasion, Pale said that the State bagged the third position in the country in the TSC 2011, while the second and first positions went to Gujarat and Maharashtra respectively.
“Rural sanitation programme with a new demand response initiative under the centrally sponsored Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) has been taken up in all the districts of Meghalaya,” PHE Minister informed while adding that to encourage the implementation of the programme, the Union Government has instituted the NGP Award, as per the TSC guidelines, to be felicitated to clean and open defecation villages.
Congratulating the 99 villages of the three districts from Khasi HIlls, he said that maintainance of cleanliness and hygiene reflects one’s love and concern for the motherland.
He also said that Meghalaya has shown tremendous improvement in TSC in the last two years and that the government acknowledges the effort of its citizens. He stated that one of the visions of the government is to make the state green and clean and to achieve this goal the participation of everyone is necessary.Further states that the bandh culture was impeding the development of the state.
Later all the participants took a pledge to maintain cleanliness, preserve and conserve nature and to leave behind the legacy of a green environment to future generations.
Among others who took part at the ceremony were GHADC CEM P K. Sangma, co chairman, State Planning Board, Clement Sangma, former MLA Billykid A Sangma, Rangsakona sitting MLA Adolf Lu Hitler Marak, former minister Brening A Sangma, East Garo Hills deputy commissioner, Vijay Kumar Mantri, Principal Secretary, PHED, P W Ingty and officials from the PHE department.
A roadmap drawn by the state in achieving Nirmal Meghalaya has shown an upward trend in the graph. As far as the sanitation status or toilet average is concern, with over 73 percent achievement, which is more than the national average, experts claimed.
Experts of the Water and Sanitation Programme-South Asia (WSP-SA) has claimed that the state can become Nirmal Meghalaya in a period of two years.
Adding that Meghalaya is one of the leading states as far as implementation of Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) now known as Nirmal Bharat Abiyan (NBA) in rural areas of the state is concerned.
However, coming to reality, it may be mentioned that Meghalaya is still facing the problem of open defecation with only 365 out of over 6000 villages, which had received NGP as on 2011. Only 11 villages had received NGP award in 2008.
It was also mentioned that the total open defecation in Meghalaya was 46.9 per cent with 38.5 percent recorded for open pits while 7.4 per cent of septic tank outlet flows.