A remote village in Assam along the Indo-Bhutan border has become the first smart village in northeast India. Barsimaluguri in Baksa district has become a model ‘smart village’ after achieving 100% toilets, solar power, and pure drinking water. Here are five things you need to know about the village.
1. The initiative was started by the Nanda Talukdar Foundation
“There are more than 20,000 villages in Assam with numerous government schemes being implemented, but none has been transformed into a smart village. We decided to concentrate on one village and turn it into a model village, independent of government schemes,” NTF Secretary Mrinal Talukdar told The Times of India.
2. The model village working committee first set up water purification plants in the village
Now, this is the first village to have a reverse osmosis plant in the region. “We have worked along four main verticals – alternative energy, drinking water, sanitation and skill development and also initiated several other intervention works ranging from development of educational facilities, playgrounds, health and legal camps along with the establishment of a yarn bank,” says Mrinal.
3. The project was sponsored by India Infrastructure Finance Corporation Limited
Mrinal and his friend Aniruddh Goswami readied a project report by 2014, but found it difficult to get a sponsor. Many organisations were sceptical about the project. Finally, India Infrastructure Finance Corporation Limited stepped in to finance it. The work started on January 15, 2015. The project was led by villagers Dinesh Bhuyan and Dipu Choudhury.
4. Households got toilets and access to solar power
After the water treatment plant was set up, the next on the list was construction of toilets. As many as 100 toilets were constructed and then the houses in the village were solar electrified. Solar home kits – consisting of a battery, solar panel, transformer, three LED lights and one fan – were give to 100 households. Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited helped provide technical assistance in setting up these panels.
5. The village has a yarn bank now
The yarn bank that was set up in the village is being managed by the village women committee. ‘Health is wealth’ and several other checkup camps have been conducted in the village.
As part of the Union government’s vision, other villages that will soon become ‘smart’ are Saddal in Kashmir, Araku in Andhra Pradesh, Lamhi in Uttar Pradesh, and so on.