Even as the states across the country are finding it hard to dispose of waste efficiently, Aima Panchayat in Palampur in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh has come up with a model for a cleaner and greener way to resolve the issue.

Aima Panchayat, which has a population of 7000, has set up a modern garbage treatment plant for efficient waste disposal and has become the first panchayat in Himachal to do so.

The model has been appreciated by National Green Tribunal (NGT) with HP High Court directing other panchayats of the state to follow the model. In fact, state Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister Virender Kanwar had recently showcased self-sustaining model during a national level workshop on Total Sanitation that was organized by Union Water Resources ministry at New Delhi.

Talking about the model, Aima Panchayat pradhan Sanjeev Rana told The Statesman that the locals were facing the problem of garbage disposal in recent years.

Earlier, the domestic waste was thrown in nearby tea gardens but as it soon turned into a serious problem, the residents decided to dump the waste in a landfill site.

But soon the solution too seemed unviable for the future and the villagers, along with Rana, decided to find more eco-friendly technique to resolve the ever-growing problem.

“It was during a national seminar under Swachh Bharat Mission in New Delhi in 2017 that I came across an Israeli technique on waste disposal that was put on display. After the meet, I went to see the garbage disposal unit in Noida in Uttar Pradesh and decided to adopt the model for Aima Panchayat,” Rana said.

Rana then discussed the model with residents who donated a vehicle for carrying waste from each household to the treatment plant and now the panchayat has the distinction of using e-rickshaw for transporting the waste material.

The garbage disposal plant converts plastic waste into construction material while organic waste is converted into compost with the help of modern machines. The treatment plant has been set up at a cost of Rs 15 lakh and the panchayat is now earning Rs 1.20 lakh every month which is being utilized for development works in the area and meeting the cost of operations.

Besides resolving the needs of local residents, now the plant is also catering to waste disposal needs of nearby panchayats, hotels and Municipal Council Palampur too.

To implement the scheme, Swachhta Committees have been formed in all the 13 wards of Aima Panchayat and an annual fee of Rs 300 is charged from each household.

“Now we have launched GPS monitoring of sanitation workers to ensure that garbage is collected from each household on a daily basis,” Rana added.

So far, delegations from over 200 panchayats of the state have visited the waste disposal plant in Aima Panchayat to study it and later implement in their respective areas.

Recently, the teams of government officials from Maharashtra and Meghalaya too had visited Aima Panchayat for studying the model to replicate it in their states to adopt means of efficient waste disposal.