While most of the villagers use ponds to store waste water of the village, turning them stinky and a serious concern for the health of the locals, residents of Sakanwali village, 15 km from Muktsar on the Ferozepur road, in Muktsar district, have turned the village pond into a small lake and plan to introduce two boats in the clean waters of the lake.
The credit of development of the pond goes to the whole village though the government has also been very benevolent to the village in offering grants. Besides it, the village has also about 20 acres of ‘shamlat’ land which also contributes to the development of the village by fetching about Rs 8 to Rs 10 lakh annual income.
Four years ago, the villagers had stopped throwing dirty water into the pond and began to collect it in a separate tank from which it was carried to a drain, about 500 metre away, by pumping it out into a pipeline.
“We stopped throwing sewerage water of the village into the pond to turn it clean. The government offered us about Rs 21 lakh to construct a boundary wall around the 2.75- acres pond and we managed to save some money out of this amount and contributed more towards the development of the pond,” said Charanjeet Singh Sandhu, 40, an undergraduate, who is the village sarpanch.
“But all the credit for the development of the pond goes to the entire village as everybody contributes towards it. With the help of the locals, we have made ‘pacca’ paths around the pond by laying interlocking tiles for taking a walk, installed lights, grown plants and also renovated an old well in the middle of the pond besides constructing a hut to discuss common issues here,” added Charanjeet singh.
The village has a population of around 2,000 and 50% the villagers are farmers.
The sarpanch said it was his idea to clean the pond after he visited Gujarat and saw the clean ponds there.
“The village has risen above political groupism and all the people have come together to do good work. Now, we have two boats ready to sail in the pond, which has been named Sagar Singh Sandhu lake. Sagar Singh Sandhu was a prominent resident of the village and resided here about 300 years ago,” the locals said.
Besides turning the pond into a lake, villagers have also widened the streets. Earlier, some of the streets were only 10 to 15 feet wide, but now all the streets in the village are 22 to 40 feet wide as people vacated place to allow widening of the streets on their own.
“We are studying development of ponds in other villages also. I appeal to the people to come forward like Sakanwali village residents for the development of the ponds. They have contributed a lot to do everything on their own instead of only looking up to the government,” said Jaskiran Singh, deputy commissioner, Muktsar, who had also visited the village.