Raipur (Chhattisgarh): While scores plastic cups and plates after the functions like wedding is an usual matter for many places in Goa, a small-time village panchayat in Chhatisgarh can show the way for Goa’s rural bodies.
Patora panchayat in Chhattisgarh, few kilometres away from Raipur, has taken up all the unique initiatives that helps it to save the nature. A structure next to the village panchayat building near Durg is a home for “Bartan Bank” (Bank of utensils).
“Whenever there are family functions in our village, we offer the utensils from Bartan Bank, free of cost. We have 1,000 glasses and equal number of plates which we provide free of cost,” said Gopesh Shahu, member of the panchayat body, who spearheads this movement.
What started as an initiative in the year 2021 with an initial investment of Rs 35,000 from the fifth finance commission, the Bartan Bank is a model adopted by at least 70-80 villages from Chhattisgarh.
Gopesh explains how the panchayat takes a donation from the people for this bank and keeps on adding utensils to it. “The basic idea is simple. People usually have plastic cups and plates for their function which creates dry garbage and also impacts environment. We provide them the utensils free of cost,” he said.
This is not the only initiative taken up by thepanchayat. Ardeep Dhidhi, Assistant Project Officer for MNREGA, narrated how the panchayat has been instrumental in roping in the self help groups to collect the garbage from the village.
The members of self help group claim that they are economically self dependent from the time, they are part of the dry garbage collection drive. Dhidhi stated that they have been given a rickshaw which they cycle around the village to collect the dry plastic garbage.
The garbage is given to the scrap dealer after it is segregated at a facility in Patora panchayat area.
Gopesh is currently working on another solution for this plastic garbage that is collected. He along with like-minded persons have already innovated “plastic bricks” which are used to create fence around the plant near the panchayat building.
“We want to have entire garden of eco-bricks. We have submitted the proposal to MNREGA,” he said, adding that they are waiting for the approval.
Few metres away from the garbage seggregation unit is country’s first ever sewerage treatment plant set up in the panchayat in association with international NGO — Water Aid.
The sewage water, which is collected in the tank mounted a tractor, is brought to this plant which works on the gravitational force technology. The water is treated and used for the plants nearby.