Smt Rohini nilekhani, who is heading an organisation very appropriately named ARGHYAM made me to visit Mulbagilu town in kolar dt yesterday. Mulbagilu is a place where the great DV Gundappa, popularly known as DVG was born. He is the creator of MANKUTHIMMANA KAGGA - the kannadiga common man's Bhagavadgeetha.
Although, Mulbagilu has known live water source nearby, the town’s water resources were dried up thanks to its mismanagement. ARGHYAM has rightly selected this town, to come out with a model to every habitat of Karnataka. Arghyam concentrated on four main issues of water, ground water discharge, rain water harvesting, solid waste management and sanitation. In my available two hours of visit to the town, I visited a community toilet, a revived kalyani and a place where the local community participated in solid waste management.
The public toilet was abandoned years back as no one was there to maintain it. The voluanteers of ARGHYAM motivated local families to ensure that the people stopped public defecating and ensured they started using this toilet. Today, not only the toilet is maintained very well by one of the members of the community, it is being used by fifty families surrounding it. People voluntarily pay a small sum of Rs 50 a month against which an identity card is issued to them. No one is reluctant to pay the amount, as everyone is sure of a clean atmosphere there. The toilet houses bathing facility too.
Kalyani is a word almost extinguished in present days. It was a popular and a holy water body usually attached to a temple or similar place. There are over 8 kalyanis in mulabagilu. One such kalyani has been revived jointly by ARGHYAM and the local TMC. Today the kalyani boasts of containing 9 million ltrs of water in it. This has happened in just a span of a year.
I was told a small anecdote. The then municipal president who was a muslim readily accepted to participate in reviving this kalyani attached to a temple. This surely sent a message in the days when the word called secularism remained just a slogan. The story of community participation in solid waste management was still more encouraging. The local deputy superintendent of police was all praise for ARGHYAM's initiative. He was telling about the changed atmosphere today thanks to active community participation. Each family pays Rs 10/- for the collection of garbage and the garbage is segregated at the house level itself.
After successful initiative, ARGHYAM has decided to hand over the management of these works to the local body as it believes that till now it has served the role of a felicitator and the local empowerment and good governance coupled with proper planning is the manthra. Now, everyone is crestfallen about the news of moving over of ARGHYAM from mulabagilu. People here want ARGHYAM to continue further and guide them in these endeavours.
You all very well know, Mrs. Rohini Nilekhani is the wife of Mr Nandan nilekhani who is heading the central government’s gigantic task of UID. It was just amazing to see this lady's enthusiasm to bring change to the society we live. My kudos to her.