'Waste to wealth' initiative still a distant dream

Authorities are yet to take any initiative to roll out a centrally sponsored scheme, aimed at ensuring cleanliness and generating energy from organic waste.

One of the important components of Swachh Bharat Mission, the scheme, GOBAR (galvanizing organic bio-agro resources) -DHAN also aims at creating new livelihood opportunities and enhancing income for farmers and cattle herders.

“Not a single awareness or training programme has been so far held under this program. Authorities in other states are working on this scheme tirelessly,” said an official.

On 24 September last year, the Governor Satya Pal Malik declared the J&K open defecation free (ODF). All the 22 districts, 4,171 gram panchayats and 7,565 villages are self-declared ODF as per Swachh Bharat Mission guidelines. The Gobardhan is an important element of ODF.

The official informed that in Jammu, authorities have held meetings with villagers, panches and sarpacnhes and other relevant people. “Lot of initiatives are going on there but not a single activity in Kashmir,” he added.

Panchayats and village communities play key role to leverage the animal and organic waste that goes into water bodies, dumping sites and landfills. Under the scheme, the focus is on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, biogas and bio-CNG.

“With appropriate policies and practices, the schemes can be scaled up into opportunities for growth, leading to increased incomes, long-term livelihoods and, of course, more clean villages. The scheme initiative is intended to be a concrete step in this direction,” said an expert.

“ODF was never a challenge in Kashmir as people at large are using lavatories. The real challenge is to implement Gobardhan scheme. It will help in making villages clean and source of income to farmers,” said the expert.