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Focus on basics to keep villages clean

- Three-day workshop on solid & liquid waste management

Waste management experts on Tuesday stressed on “fundamental aspects”, instead of minute engineering details to keep rural areas clean, arguing both population and filth generated in villages were less than in cities.

“Rural areas and their problems are different. So, the approach should differ too,” said Sujoy Majumdar, director, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) — the centrally sponsored sanitation scheme.

Majumdar was speaking at a three-day regional workshop on “dissemination of guidelines on solid and liquid waste management”, organised jointly by the Union ministry for drinking water and sanitation and Asian Development Bank (ADB), in Ranchi.

Though a solid and liquid waste management programme as a part of NBA kicked off in 2012, specific guidelines for its execution were issued around a year ago.

Since then, the ministry has been organising workshop to apprise different stakeholders of their roles and methods of execution.

After Kerala, Rajasthan, Assam and Odisha, Jharkhand capital Ranchi is the venue for the fifth workshop in this series that began on Tuesday.

Speaking at event, Ramesh Kumar, chief engineer of Jharkhand state project management unit, said the amount of Rs 20 lakh set aside for waste management in villages was not enough and the allotment should be raised.

Majumdar, addressing the delegates from Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand, called for convergence of various government schemes aimed at rural development to successfully implement waste management initiatives.

“Funds given by World Bank under various projects can also be utilised for this purpose. So, the money won’t be a problem,” he said.

ADB consultant Pramod Dabrase urged delegates to adopt the “simplest” and most “cost-efficient” technologies and to focus on innovative waste management and recycling methods.

“The motive is not to encourage profit-making ventures but to emphasise that many innovative efforts can help recover the expenditure involved,” he said.

Similarly, Jayesh Mandlik, another ADB consultant, delved into liquid waste management and advised the audience to look for environmentally safe disposal processes to curb health hazards and pollution.

“Reducing wastage, recycling and reusing used water may generate revenue. In rural areas, population is small and thus, wastewater generated daily is less and manageable. So, the water can be recycled and used in kitchen gardens, ponds for fishery development,” he pointed out.

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