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The plant is maintained by the village development committee and villagers pay a nominal amount of Rs 120 per month for maintenance, Talukdar says.

"Earlier, we were spending more than Rs 300 on medicines due to illness caused by water-borne diseases and so making a payment of only Rs 120 to lead a disease-free life was more than welcome," says Choudhury.

Following the establishment of the water treatment plant, the next step was to set up toilets as most households practised open defecation.

"The target was to set up hundred toilets within a year and the task was not easy, particularly during the monsoon but we did manage to complete it at a cost of Rs 16,000 each," Project Coordinator Surajit Dutta says.

The highlight of the project was, however, providing solar power to homes as well as for street lightning, literally bringing a ray of light for the villagers, he says.

Solar Home kits were provided to hundred households and the Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited helped with technical assistance is setting up these panels.

The Solar Home kits consist of a battery, solar panel, transformer, three LED lights and one fan.

Another key area which the project has emphasised on is skill development with several training programmes conducted for weaving, cutting and tailoring along with basic computer courses where ideas were discussed with trainees to maximise their skills and turn it into revenue streams, Dutta says.

A yarn bank has also been set up in the village which will be managed by the Village Women Committee with an initial deposit of 40 kg of yarn made by NTF while subsequently the Committee will run the bank on a sustainable model.

A warping drum has also been provided to the committee as the weavers had to travel earlier to distance places to get their yarn warped.

Several health camps were conducted during the year with free cataract operations being also carried out along with legal and financial awareness camps.

"We have completed within a year what we had dreamt of and turned Barsimaluguri into a smart village with its residents committed to bring in more improvement in the future," Talukdar adds.

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