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Bengal’s village gets India’s best Panchayat Award

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Can you imagine, a village in Sunderbans’ remote Patharpratima, dispose their garbage in a hygienic way just like we do in Kolkata? Digambarpur gram panchayat has a proper trash collection mechanism that starts from their doorstep. Moreover, they pay for the water they consume, something that is not even done by many urbanites.

For such path-breaking achievements, Digambarpur has been recognised by the Central Government and adjudged the best Panchayat of the Year. This award is given after checking the track records of gram panchayats across the country on various developmental paradigms. A visit to this panchayat reveals a modern picture. Every morning a sweeper blows the whistle and someone from each household deposits garbage in his cart. This garbage is then recycled into manure which in turn is sold to farmers at Rs 2 per kg. They also have a metered water supply and residents pay Rs 50 a month for the first 6,000 litres of water they consume and 20 paisa for every extra litre. Incidentally, even rich residents of many of Kolkata’s high-rises also do not pay money for water.

Digambarpur Gram Panchayat has won Rs 20 lakh award and the other areas they have excelled in are healthcare, education, road and participation of women in every developmental work. Every woman of the village are enthusiastic and attend all gram panchayat and gram sabha meetings that decide on developmental projects and their execution. Even they have a women brigade who go from house to house, advocating against child trafficking. This panchayat has a total population of around 2.5 lakhs.