Kolkata: The Panchayats and Rural Development department has come up with a number of projects for the protection of environment and sustainable development.
The World Bank has provided funds for Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayat Programme (ISGPP Phase II) and its one of the important components is Environmental and Social Management which depends on the functioning of the Gram Panchayats as they are the ones who will make the schemes. It has been decided that environment impact survey of every project will be carried out seriously and any project that affects it will be dropped or if carried out then its negative impact will have to be removed. For example, no work that affects coastal areas or its adjoining forests will be taken up. No project will be taken up by just assessing its immediate result and its farfetched impact will have to be studied before clearance is given. The pesticides that are banned by the government cannot be used and the villagers will have to be made aware of them. Before any project is taken up, it will be discussed at the para baithak and gram samsad and awareness campaigns will be launched regarding the same. The Gram Panchayats will not only supply drinking water to every household but will also ensure that quality water is supplied to the villagers. It may be mentioned that in the two-day Panchayat Sammelan held in early 2017, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had asked all the Gram Panchayats to come up with plans to develop the areas under their jurisdiction. The panchayats will prepare solid waste management policies and stop the use of plastic, apart from giving more emphasis on compost manure.
The panchayats will construct the base before installing any tubewell which should be above the ground level. Regular checks will be conducted to detect leaks on the underground pipeline that will be laid to supply drinking water to the households.
The water reservoirs will be cleaned on regular basis. Generally, there is a water testing laboratory for every three blocks. Some of these labs are being run by the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department while others are looked after by NGOs. The water will be tested once a year and its results will be announced publicly. The panchayats will ensure that the toilets that are constructed under Nirmal Bangla Mission are maintained by the houses. The success of open defecation free districts largely depends on the functioning of the toilets that have been built under the project. The house owners will be asked to maintain them and the panchayat will ensure that there is no scarcity of water in the toilets.