INDIAN SILK: April-June, 2017
Swachh Resham Gram: Promoting cleanliness for sericulture development
Cleanliness campaign launched in mission mode by the present government, sensitizing every individual household both in rural and semi-urban areas, using mass, social as well as digital media tools, has started showing signs of increased awareness by involving them as conscious citizens. Along side, there has been a significant qualitative improvement in their daily life, work culture and what they produce. Prompted, Central Silk Board has launched the concept of Swachh Resham Gram in silk producing pockets in the country through its network of research institutes. To start with, Gopalapura in Musuru district, Karnataka; Bhaisajhal village in Bilaspur district of Chhatisgarh; Mallickpur village in Murshidabad, West Bengal; Borholla village in Jorhat district, Assam and Hutar village in Jharkhand were identified as Swachh Resham Gram.
The focus was on all-round development of these villages by combining cleanliness campaign with sericulture activities to develop a healthy environment and also awareness on maintenance of hygiene in the rearing house to harvest a successful crop. The emphasis on maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene at various stages of silkworm rearing does not call for any elaboration, for the impact it makes on rich harvest of cocoons. It is an essential input not only in terms of creating and maintaining hygienic conditions in and around the grainages that produce silkworm seed; chawki rearing centres that help the tiny worms hatch out and care young worms grow, and rearing houses at farmers' scale that rear silkworms to harvest quality cocoons.
The approach was multi-pronged. On one hand, it aimed to educate villagers, who were largely sericulturists, on the seri-practices to keep the surroundings clean like, utilization of seri-wastes through reduce-reuse-recycle process in vermi-composting; popularization of disposal methods of diseased worms; proper disinfection to avoid contamination, and promotion of biological control methods, to name a few. On the other hand, it included conducting cleanliness drive in the dwelling areas with periodical cleaning of village roads and drainages; construction of public/individual household toilets; promoting the villagers for collection, segregation of general waste disposed hitherto in the open for conversion into compost.
Under the initiative, dustbins, brooms, bleaching powder and phenol were provided to help maintain general hygiene; personal hygiene products were distributed to the village school students. Plantation of sericulture related food plants along the roadside as well as premises of government offices, school etc., in collaboration with forestry department ensured better eco-balance. Awareness camps and group meetings were organized on importance of cleanliness in daily life, maintenance of hygiene in and around the village; health and nutrition; women and child welfare, etc. Interactive sessions; displaying posters and banners in prominent places on cleanliness in public life and sericulture, came handy, in this regard.
While the concept revolved around participatory involvement of the stakeholders, in this case the villagers, formation of Swachh Resham Gram Cell at the CSB institutes, association with the local bodies, health and forestry departments, schools, NGOs forming village level consultative groups could inculcate a sense of belongingness for the well-being of the farmers by and large. The need of the hour is to intensify such initiatives, with an eye on scaling up in newer areas, that these models promote and cause the change in a much larger perspective.