MPCB to help make villages eco-sustainableNews — By The Desk on November 9, 2010 at 12:04 PM
Times of India: The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the state department of rural development and water conservation have taken up an ambitious plan to transform select villages in state into environmentally sustainable ones.
In the first phase, villages with population of over 10,000 will be included in the eco village development plan’ to be implemented with the participation of the local residents of each village. According to MPCB officials, the development of each village is to be planned after taking into account the demographic, social, cultural and educational status. Emphasis will be given on harnessing various potentials of the respective villages in the field of industry, ecology and tourism. The development plan is to be implemented by ensuring that natural resources of the village are not adversely affected.
The scheme entails conducting a situation analysis of the villages by gathering information, and later identifying issues and gaps related to air quality, surface and ground water resources, solid and bio medical waste management. The situation analysis would include study of the village structure, existing land use plan, the present development pattern of the village and adjoining areas, depending on whether there are any industrial areas, special economic zones or urban settlements near the village. The plan will take into account the available infrastructure, socio-economic demography of the village, the occupational pattern, and later identifying the agricultural, industrial and tourism potentials.
Each village will have its separate environmentally sustainable village development plan ( ESDVP) which will be prepared after considering the situational analysis and the environment improvement measures. The development plans would be prepared by using GIS information and by involving citizens, NGOs, and elected representatives. Depending on the situation of the villages, the possible environment improvement measures would involve projects related to water conservation, rain water harvesting, water recycling, improvement of public health, eradicating open defecation, solid waste management, increasing green cover, use of renewable energy resources and promotion of eco housing and organic farming.
Senior MPCB officials told TOI that the role of the MPCB in the scheme will be to prepare the development plans. The state government will integrate its projects with the plan and provide the necessary funds. The scheme will be implemented with the approval of the gramsabhas. The names of the villages where the village development scheme is to be implemented is yet to be short listed, the officials added.
According to officials, the concept of the eco village development plan evolved since there was a need to integrate the concept of sustainability with rural development planning and village administration. While initially the scheme will be implemented in select villages having a population above 10,000, officials said the scheme will be replicated in smaller villages as well after taking into account the progress of the scheme in the first phase. The MPCB will be involving NGOs, institutes and private firms which can take up the work on village to village basis.