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This village is open defecation free

This village is open defecation free
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Balwanthapur is just like any other village in the country and on first look does not give away its specialty. 22 km from Siddipet, the nondescrepit village is now gaining popularity for it is one of the first villages in Siddipet that is 100% Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Siddipet: Balwanthapur is just like any other village in the country and on first look does not give away its specialty. 22 km from Siddipet, the nondescrepit village is now gaining popularity for it is one of the first villages in Siddipet that is 100% Open Defecation Free (ODF).

All the 384 houses in the village have pucca toilets. Speaking to The Hans India, sarpanch Kongari Kanakavva, said it was possible due to peoples’ participation. The construction work was completed with central government schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREG) and Swachh Bharat mission schemes.

“It was a win-win for us as the people not only got employment but also could reap the benefit as the work benefitted them as they were the final beneficiaries.” Laxmibai, a villager said, “I am 54 and never before did we get to participate in a programme that benefits us. We have always worked for others in farms and construction sites.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Ram, a farmer said, “In the past it was difficult for us as children and women used to defecate in the open. This is like a boon and we feel proud to be one of the first villages in this part to become ODF.” Kongari Rajaiah, the sarpanch’s husband played a part in mobilizing people. He said, “Initially, people were reluctant and also there was opposition to the idea as people were skeptical if the project would be completed at all, but once they were convinced, there was no looking back.”

Haritha Haram too picks up pace

At a time when the government is facing flak for the low survival rate of plants in several districts in Telangana, Balwanthapur stands tall. The village again has the dubious distinction of even topping in the survival rate of plants under the Haritha Haram project. In all, 2,400 were planted out of which 250 perished. Kanakavva says, “There are a lot of animals in the area and the summer took a toll on plants. We did our best and could save majority of trees. We would be planting again once the monsoon sets in.”

Villagers of Balwanthapur are proactive and that helps says Satish, who is presently pursuing degree in Hyderabad and hails from the village. Participatory democracy is doing well in the village and all work in unision, says the sarpanch. “My work gets easy,” she says.

BY Nikitha Mendu

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