This Assam village aims to go cashless
Rangchapara (Assam), Feb 26: Having already earned the distinction of being free from open defecation, alcohol, tobacco and drugs, this tiny village in Assam's Goalpara district now aims to go cashless.
Adjudged the state's cleanest village, Rangchapara has also not witnessed any incident of crime in the past at least 17 years. It has now taken a pledge to be plastic-free from next month and plans to become the first village in the country to go cashless, says village head Roberth John Momin. The 'clean initiative' here started much before the NDA government initiated its ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission. "It was in 1999 when the villagers began talking about cleanliness and in 2000 we formed a 10-member committee headed by me," says Momin.
"The committee took four resolutions to be a peaceful and united village, to be a clean village, every household should have toilets and availability of clean drinking water for all," he says. Since the formation of the committee, there has not been any case of open defection, violence or anyone consuming drugs, alcohol or smoking in the village which has 88 households and a population of 475, all Christians.
"We announced a fine of Rs 5,001 for anyone who violates our resolutions, but the best part is that the fine was never imposed, as everyone was following the rules," says Momin. Rangchapara was declared the cleanest village in Assam for 2016-17 by the public health engineering department earlier this month and rewarded with a sum of Rs 5 lakh rupees by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The village was selected by Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development, a third party which examined every village in the state on criteria like attempts to become open defecation free, presence of pucca toilets and their conditions and attempts to promote awareness on cleanliness.
According to Goalpara Deputy Commissioner J V N Subramanyam, the Swachh Bharat Mission was a blessing. "With the help of the mission in 2014 and efforts of public health engineering department, the villagers began to have pucca toilets," he says.