Impressed by the hygiene initiatives of a urban village in Ludhiana district, four other villages have decided to follow suit. The village panchayats of Minia, Bassian and Maddeh and another from Haryana will now replicate the sewerage treatment plant (STP) model at Chakar village in Riakot constituency of Ludhiana district.
Home to a population of 10,000, Chakar’s sewage treatment plant’s have caught the region’s attention. Apart from the panchayats, schools from nearby areas bring their children to visit the urban village.
The change in Chakar’s landscape is being attributed to three Non Resident Indians (NRIs): Ajmer Singh, Nirmal Singh and Baldev Singh. With a personal contribution of Rs 5 crore, Ajmer and his twin brother, Baldev, have created a chemical free STP, which has now been named as babe ki lake because of its beauty. Three other STPs have been built beside polluted ponds in the village while the residents have installed a 18 km long sewer line with the funds generated by the NRIs and voluntary contributions, with villagers themselves doing kar sewa for the project.
The village also boasts of a world-class sports academy, while the NRIs now plan to make it a tourist spot by constructing huts, a cultural centre and by introducing boating.
“We got our inspiration from Baba Seechewal. Now, the panchayats of Minia village, about 5 km from here, visited us, while Bassian is another village, about 10 kms away, that wants to follow our STP design and other development features. Maddeh, about 15 km away, and another village panchayat from Haryana are the others that want to follow us,” said Ajmer Singh.
The Canadian NRIs, Ajmer and Nirmal, stay for 3 and 6 months respectively in the village and have now become an inspiration for the nearby villagers as well.
The village has also caught the attention of the officialdom. Ludhiana ADC(D) Dr Rishipal Sidhu has urged his block development officers to follow this model in other villages. He has also released a Rs 4 lakh grant for Chakar.