Who is the cleanest of them all?

Anyone who is even distantly familiar with the work ethic of the Tata Power Company employees would know that they would never settle for a short term solution to defuse a problem in hand. No matter how formidable it appears to be. They are simply not interested in a show case programme, designed merely to display that a task has been completed. This applies to the latest initiative of the Community Relations team of Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power Company. It has just triggered off Swach Kutch Abhiyan, a cleanliness campaign that targets the local communities in Kutch district of Gujarat, living within or around the site of CGPL’s flagship scheme, the Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP). The agenda is to remind the people how important personal hygiene is to remain fit and productive. Also to inform to them that good sanitation practices and a clean habitat are imperative for sustaining a healthy population. 

This would be the first step taken towards the final goal that CGPL has set for itself—to institutionalize the concept and practice of Cleanliness. And the following is the broad outline of its action plan.

While urging the locals to join the Abhiyan, CGPL called upon its own crew to lead in the first lap. Five villages have been chosen for the pilot run, and the Company organised an Employee’s Volunteering Week, when CGPL staff members, along with their families, arrived there to spend time with the villagers. They visited their homes, informally chatting on various topics, all related to the key issues—sanitation facilities, hygiene practices, waste disposal systems and cleanliness in general. The evils of using plastic bags were discussed with much fervour. CGPL volunteers had made a special effort to put as many women as possible at the forefront during these sessions.

The guests came laden with useful gifts. Community dustbins, cloth bags, environment-friendly soap bars—such unconventional yet interesting presents stirred up animated discussions. The mood was festive.

But it has also been evident from the outset that on this front CGPL means serious business. It has worked out a structured approach, and has even put together a team which would implement it on the ground on construction of toilets and making the village Open defection free.. A Community Resource Person (CRP) has been identified from Panchayat, whose mission would be to spread the Cleanliness and Hygiene mantra among the local communities. The CRPs in turn are being taken for exposure visits to local institutes, and being trained by experts in workshops arranged by the CGPL on Sanitation.

Besides this, CGPL partners with Bhojay Sarvodaya Trust of Bidada to hold awareness camps at a large scale. It has also joined hands with the Gandhinagar-based Environmental Sanitation Institute (ESI).Recently the two partners organised a 2-day workshop on Rural Sanitation and Cleanliness, where the role of the PRIs was analysed in details. “I now understand the significance of our (PRI member’s) role at this level. And why it is absolutely essential to involve the local people in any development work planned here,” says Dangera Premji Nakhori of Nani Khakar village, one among the 18 Panchayat members who attended the workshop.

So the journey uphill has begun, and it threatens to be a long and arduous one. The good news is that the CGPL veterans would be solidly backing the climbers all the way up. They are, in fact, geared up to travel many extra miles to ensure a safe, healthy and disease-free future for their closest and most valued partners. The local people.

Source: Reflections Annual Report

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