Neelavathi Shivaram, a graduate, whose life long lessons and leadership qualities ultimately made her a panchayat head and empowered her to challenge oddities being faced by women. Having elected for the first time, she had the chance to get elected to the top most post in the gram panchayat. It was during her tenure as a president in 2011-12, Kadaba got solid waste unit and Liquid Waste Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) for the first time in the State.
With the available funds from Malnad Area Development and MGNREGA, the Gram panchayat has successfully implemented STP.
“The GP has made arrangement to segregate waste from source by distributing two bins (red and green) to shops, hotels, banks, cooperative societies and restaurants. The degradable waste is converted into organic manure. The organic manure is prepared using OS solution and the manure is sold in the name of ‘Kadaba Kadamba organic manure.’ “The manure was tested in the lab and has found that it has all the nutrients for the plants. There is a demand for manure. We have a stock of nearly 15 tonne manure for sale,” she said.
Two women employees employed at the unit, segregate plastics. All the collected plastics are sold to contractors who asphalt roads.
Before the setting up of STP, all the sewage water was flowing directly to the streams in Kadaba. “We have plans to use the treated water for agriculture. At present, the water is let into an arecanut plantation. The treated water is odourless. Before the unit was set up, sewage water from Angadimane SC colony was flowing on the road posing health problems to the colony residents. After the project, the colony has become clean and tidy without mosquito menace,” said Neelavathi. The STP has been designed for a total load of 50,000 litres. However, at present 24,000 litres is being purified per day.
Realising the need for empowering women, the gram panchayat has encouraged activities in Gram Vikas Kendra. The neo literates have been taught to prepare phenyl, liquid soap, cloth bags and are earning their livelihood.
The gram panchayat has constituted 16 water users committee in Kadaba and Kodimbala villages, to ensure regular supply of water. The Gram panchayat has also developed a software for the collection of bills from the consumers.
“As a GP president, I had ensured that no child has remained outside the portal of the school. In fact, when we received complaint on school dropouts, we personally used to visit the families and convince parents to send children back to school. A government school was on the verge of its closure following shortage of students, at Kujakal during my tenure. However, I intervened and persuaded the villagers to enrol their wards to school and now the school is functioning without any problem,” she said.
Kadaba has not seen outbreak of major vector borne diseases in the last three years. There is no infant mortality in the gram panchayat. At the same time, all those civic workers working in solid waste management units are given gloves and shoes by the GP.
The GP in association with various organisations also holds free health camp to the civic workers every week. To create awareness on dengue and malaria among students and general public, a jatha was held recently. The GP had also created voters awareness programmes on the need to exercise franchise, she said. By implementing MGNREGA, the GP has taken up the work on levelling school ground, planting saplings, digging of wells , thereby guaranteeing employment to job card holders.
To check liquor menace, the gram panchayat in association with SKDRDP has been organising de-addiction camps regularly.
“As a member of Sugrama Federation of Elected GP members, I have learnt to face challenges. I have brought in transparency in the administration of the gram panchayat.”
“We members at Kadaba GP plans to plant medicinal plants in and around solid waste management unit and make it a model,” she said.
Zilla Panchayat CEO Dr K N Vijayaprakash said “Kadaba is developing and becoming a role model village in the state. At a time when conserving environment has become a challenge, the GP has achieved sanitation standards.”
Jana Shikshana Trust Director Krishna Moolya said “Kadaba is a model village in the country. It has given importance to integrated development of the entire village by taking community to confidence on the path of progress.”
Neelavathi was the only GP member from DK district having invited to be a part of National Panchayati Raj Day celebrations in New Delhi.