MADURAI: In a feat that has made the whole of Tamil Nadu proud, Chinnapatti village in Madurai district has bagged the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Award for best village panchayat for attaining sustainability on indicators of sanitation and water conservation. During the 'Panchayat Raj Day' grama sabha meeting on Sunday, Collector S Aneesh Sekhar handed over the official award announcement letter to panchayat president P Sakthi Mayil.
Chinnapatti is a quaint little village consisting of six wards and as many as 1,886 residents. Most of the villagers are employed as construction labourers. Just over a year ago, the rural body elections were held and independent candidate and first-time contender P Sakthi Mayil entered the fray. The results were in her favour and the villagers' love for her has only grown since.
Sakthi encouraged everyone to quit open defecation, and took efforts to build individual toilets in all the houses. She planted 1,500 saplings and within a year, 95% have grown promising a wide green cover for Chinnapatti in the future. "Rainwater harvesting, reusing borewells, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, intensive afforestation under Jal Shakti Abhiyan were the steps we took towards enhancing our conservation of water resources," she said.
Out of total 522 houses in the panchayat, 344 received individual pipeline connections, and the remaining households are expected to get it within a month. "The focus is now on education and women empowerment. Banks are periodically providing loans to Self Help Groups for several trades, including tailoring. We will also try to help unemployed people land jobs in the coming days," Sakthi said.
Speaking to TNIE, District Rural Development Agency Project Officer Abitha Haniff said though Chinnapatti is a small hamlet, everyone there now uses individual toilets, and also segregates biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes before disposal. "They are turning bio-degradable waste into manure and are using it to nurture trees. Non-degradable wastes are sold and the money thus received will fund cleanliness activities in the panchayat. All 13 registers in the civic body are maintained efficiently," she said.
While addressing media on Sunday, Collector Aneesh Sekhar said Chinnapatti has set several sustainable development goals (SDG) for itself. "Moving forward, they want to eradicate poverty, achieve primary education for all, maintain sustainability in water conservation, health, sanitation, etc,. Sakthi Mayil will receive the national-level award for best panchayat from Chief Minister MK Stalin soon," he added.