PERAMBALUR: Efficient source segregation, disposal, composting and sewage treatment are considered the mark of excellence in an administration. Pudunaduvalur panchayat in Perambalur district has been executing that for the past three months, becoming a model for other panchayats to emulate. According to sources, over 1,000 families live in Pudunaduvalur panchayat.
The solid waste management and vermicompost unit, which was started under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme project, remained operational only for a few years. This eventually led to the dumping of waste into waterbodies and the vermicompost shed suffered damage.
The District Rural Development Agency, which inspected the panchayat, decided to make it a role model for other local bodies. Three months ago, the agency cleaned up three pits dug under the Solid Waste Management Scheme in two locations at a cost of Rs 2.5 lakh.
Sanitation workers started using these to compost biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste collected from each house. The vermicompost shed was renovated at a cost of Rs 80,000. The facility is being used to produce compost from biodegradable waste and provided to local farmers at an affordable cost of Rs 20 a kg. Non-biodegradable waste sent for recycling.
The agency set up individual soak pits in 372 houses to treat grey water and improve water table, at a cost of Rs 24.18 lakh. A small tank and pit were constructed to collect sewage, where it is treated and let into the Marudaiyaru canal. In 2001, an Integrated Women Sanitary Complex was set up in the panchayat to prevent open defecation. It is still in use and was renovated three months ago at a cost of Rs 1.9 lakh.
Speaking to TNIE, District Coordinator of Swachh Bharat, said, "At present, garbage is collected properly and segregated the same day. Sanitation workers have been given a battery car, 10 push carts and other equipment." DRDA project director A Lalitha said, "Five years ago, a total of 973 individual toilets were constructed in the village.
Only 22 houses do not have individual toilets owing to lack of space. So, they continue to use the sanitary complex. We have renovated it twice. Thanks to all this work, there is no open defecation in this panchayat. Collecting garbage every day prevents dumping of waste into waterbodies and at public places. We have plans to implement all these in eight villages, including Aduthurai and Nakka Salem." S Sudha, a resident of Pudunaduvalur said,
"There was a time when waste was found in heaps all over the panchayat. Sewage was getting mixed with river water and water table was also getting affected. It is totally a different scenario now. Officials should continue to monitor these programs and maintain status quo."