While Punjab is facing severe depletion in groundwater, a small village in the state's Mansa district is leading the frontier with its own example of conserving water. Man Aspal village has bagged this year’s national award for the conservation of water by the Ministry of Rural Development.
In a report by the TOI, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) commissioner 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.
The water conserved at the Mansa block is reused, which protects the pond from pollution by saving the flow of waste water to the water body. Here water is conserved by constructing soak pits and septic tanks (concrete tank used to store used water) in each household under MGNREGS, said News Bharati. Mansa deputy commissioner Dharampal Gupta and Man Aspal's sarpanch Gurjant Singh said,
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.
Apart from building a soak pit project, the village has also renovated the pond, brick lined a street, and laid a drinking water pipeline all under MGNREGS. With the implementation of MGNREGS, Man Aspal has turned out to be the only village in Punjab to have implemented water conservation.