K. Manikandan

They are Sithalapakkam, Vengaivaasal, Mudichur and Kaarapakkam

TAMBARAM: Four village panchayats in the southern suburbs of Chennai are among the 24 rural local bodies in Kancheepuram district to be selected for the prestigious Nirmal Gram Puraskar of the Ministry of Rural Development.

The village panchayats would be receiving the award form President Prathiba Devisingh Patil at a function to be held in Pune, Maharashtra, in the first week of December.

The four village panchayats of St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union, also called St. Thomas Mount Block, are Sithalapakkam, Vengaivaasal, Mudichur and Kaarapakkam.

The village panchayats were selected for the awards for implementing sanitation schemes for the entire village in general and schools, Children’s Centre of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme and women in particular.

The process

The selection of these four villages for the award is a culmination of a process that included implementation of the schemes, creating awareness among residents, elected representatives and mobilising their support and finally, verification of the works in progress by officials of the Government of India and representatives of NGOs appointed by the Centre.

The awards were first given away in 2005 to 38 village panchayats all over the country.

Kaduvanchery village in Sriperumbudur Block, Kancheepuram district, was the first panchayat to receive the award and every year since then, a handful of village panchayats from this district have been selected for it, but this was the first occasion when panchayats from St. Thomas Mount Block were selected to receive this.

S.Moovendan, St. Thomas Mount Block Coordinator of Total Sanitation Campaign, said villages were prepared on a five-fold programme to make them eligible for the award.