A grampanchayat in Kerala has become a model for many states and has also received the Prime Minister’s award for best public administration. E-governance, mini drinking water projects, rain water harvesting, village knowledge centre and effective waste management are some of the successful projects initiated by the model grampanchayat of Eraviperoor in Kerala.
Spearheaded by the then sarpanch N Rajiv about five years back, the village has focused on dealing with plastic waste.
Rajiv, Vice President of Eraviperoor Grampanchayat, said, “These activities have been going on for 365 days. The collection of plastic has been going on. The shredded plastic from December to March is being sent to the public works of the panchayat and is then used for road tarring. Some sort of plastic is being sold to small scale industries for manufacturing tarpaulin, plastic rope. It is a unique activity because it can be replicated elsewhere in any metropolitan cities in India where the plastic waste is a big problem. In our panchayat it is not a major problem but then also we are taking the initiative so that it won’t be a problem in future.”
A committee of the elders in the village guide the activities at the village knowledge centre. Retired teachers, headmasters and engineers have come together to train school children for civil services. The Jagratha Samiti consisting of representatives from the panchayat and from police and legal background also meet every first Friday of the month to take up complaints of women and children. Around 209 of the 215 complaints that it received have been solved.
Shanthamma, a resident, said, “My husband used to create problems at home daily after getting drunk. My son was in class 10 and there was no way he could study. I gave a complaint to this Jagratha Samithi, we were called thrice and my husband never created issues after that. He got scared when they said in next step the complaint will be forwarded to police station. For my life this was a new beginning. I am very happy now. We are having a happy and peaceful life. There is food to eat. I am so thankful to this committee.”
The village also boasts of having an ISO certified Primary Health Centre – the first in Kerala. The PHC provides ayurvedic and homeopatheic treatment with patients from neighbouring panchayats and municipalities also regularly visiting it. The pain and palliative care unit in the PHC tends to about 100 patients every month.
Another villager Sunil Kumar said, “There are a lot of changes from earlier. Now there are three new doctors. Doctors will go to the houses and visit the bedridden patients which is of great help. For the elderly this ayurveda becomes very helpful. The facilities have improved a lot and this will continue to be better.”
Boosting about the Digital India initiative, the panchayat has free WiFi. The only challenge before the administration is to sustain these ambitious activities.
Getting the Prime Minsiter’s award was only the beginning for the Eraviperoor grampanchayat. ISO certified primary health centre, free WiFi facility, a fully equipped modern slaughter house are added to the list. The panchayat authorities aim is to sustain these development projects so that people can avail maximum benefits.