At a time when groundwater is depleting fast in Punjab, a small village of Mansa has led by example on conservation of water. And in recognition of its efforts, Man Aspal village has been chosen for a national award by the Union ministry of rural development for the year 2015-16. Union rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar will give away the award to the panchayat on June 19 in Delhi.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) commisiosner C Siban said, "Man Aspal in Mansa has properly implemented the rural employment guarantee scheme with its USP being water conservation. The village panchayat has been chosen for national award which will be presented on June 19."

Water conserved in the Man Aspal village, situated in Mansa block, is not only reused but it also saves flow of waste water to the pond, protecting it from pollution. Water conservation is done by constructing soak pits and septic tanks (concrete tank used to store used water) in every house of the village, which has been completed under MGNREGS.

With the proper implementation of MGNREGS for a village-specific project, Man Aspal turned out to be the only village of Punjab in implementing water conservation. The Man Aspal panchayat has also done wall paintings on water conservation at common places and on walls of houses.

"The soak pit project, which deals with waste water management to make the villages drain free, was started in 2015 as a pilot with the support from a multinational company. Under the project, soak pits of four feet by 10 feet with a septic tank of three feet by four feet were constructed at the cost Rs 3.29 lakh in all the 65 houses. It also solved the problem of flow of waste water to the pond. The village has 107 MGNREGS job card holders. Most of the job card holders were employed in the project and total 113 days of employment were generated in the project," said Mansa deputy commissioner Dharampal Gupta and Man Aspal sarpanch Gurjant Singh.

Mansa ADC (development) Jatinder Singh Brar said apart from the soak pit project, the village also renovated the pond, bricklined a street and laid a drinking water pipeline all under MGNREGS.

Source: June 10, 2017, The Times of India