Berhampur, November 14 (LocalWire): Much before the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by the central government, a tribal-dominated village in Ganjam district, about 15-km from Berhampur was declared open defecation free (ODF).
The achievement was the results of efforts by an NGO, Gram Vikas, that helped build pucca houses with toilets and 24X7 piped water supplies to each household in the village Tamana.
The houses along with toilets and the water supply system were built as part of the rehabilitation work after the village was devastated in the 1999 super cyclone.
“Each and every household in the village has these basic facilities and people have forgotten the days when people had to visit the nearby jungle for defecation and miles to fetch a bucket of water,” 40-year old Meeni Mallick said.
“Esther Duflo, the co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics this year had visited our village about 12 years ago and had gone to some houses to see the toilet and inquired about its use. She was very happy as we respond positively,” another woman in the village Sarada Mallick recalls.
There were 84 houses earlier in the village, which has increased to 95, Mallich stated, adding that all new houses in the villages now have water and toilet facilities.
“The 24-hour water supply was made possible by installing a water tanker near the hilltop and lifting the water through gravitational force from a well in the village,” a Gram Vikas coordinator Sarat Mohanty, said, adding that the village does not have any drinking water problem even during peak summers.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene are some of our core areas, we have been working on this for four decades,” Gram Vikas chairman Jeo Madiath said.
He further stated that the NGO has helped develop such facilities in over 1,200 villages in the state, almost all of them in tribal villages with around one lakh households.
Praising the works on sanitation and piped water supply in the village, Abhijeet Banerjee and his wife Duflo, both of whom got the Nobel Prize in Economic this year had said in their book Poor Economics: “Nevertheless, the conventional wisdom is that today, at $20 per household per month, providing piped water and sanitation is too expensive for the budget of most developing countries. The experience of Gram Vikas, an NGO that works in Odisha, India shows, however, that it is possible to do it much more cheaply.”