The central government, which has been promoting improved sanitation in rural areas and launched an award based incentive scheme, Nirmal Gram Panchayat (NGP), for fully sanitized gram panchayats in 2003. Since then 283 of the 473 gram panchayats in Mandi district have won the award in the past but have failed achieve the target this time.
The district authorities submitted 40 nominations for the award but none could achieve the same for NGP-2013 award where only 21 gram panchayats in six of the dozen districts of the state could get the award. The six districts are Nahan, Kinnaur, Kullu, Shimla, Solan and Una.
However, Kangra, Hamirpur, Chamba and Lahul and Spiti failed to achieve the target. Nahan district tops the tally with 11 NGP-2013 awards followed by Una with 4, Solan with 3 and Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla with one each.
However, the central government has yet to announce the date of distribution of the NGP-2013 awards.
The inspection of the gram panchayats was done by block, district and state level teams and later on a team of observers of the central government estimated the reports and finalized the results in June this year.
Sources said most gram panchayats failed to achieve the target over collection and mitigation of garbage issues where in fact a majority of gram panchayats in the district have completed construction of toilets and management of water availability but failed to reduce the garbage problem due to several reasons including nonavailability of land or objection of people residing near garbage dumping sites.
"There has been a tremendous increase in rural sanitation management and district has achieved nearly 91% target and encouraging left out people and encouraging them for constructing toilets at their house, schools, 'anganwari kendras' and public places and yielding positive results" said Sanjeev Dhiman, project officer of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Mandi when asked about the failure of 40 gram panchayats to get the NGP-2103 award.
"Perhaps failure in improving solid waste management at the village level could be the reason. The department is waiting for the copy of the estimating the central government team's report to verify the facts of failure and analyze the same to remove the flaws for achieving the target of NGP-2014 next year," Dhiman added.