Aizawl/Guwahati, November 25: Biate, a sleepy town in the eastern part of Mizoram is making news for all the good reasons. With a population of around 2,000 people, Biate takes pride in being among the first open defecation free towns and also placed itself as the cleanest town in the whole of Mizoram.
Biate began its cleanliness drive almost a decade before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014.
However, the 20 years of insurgency in Mizoram had posed an obstacle for the smooth sailing of the cleaning activity in the town. The year 2003 was memorable as YMA Chhang, the children wing of the largest voluntary organisation of the Mizos Young Mizo Association (YMA) was formed and there was no looking back since then.
The local leaders of the town started sensitizing the people about cleanliness and encouraged them to adopt a holistic approach to improvement in the overall health and hygiene. One remarkable feat of the town is that since 2012, not a single Biate resident has been reported to have suffered from malaria.
This remarkable feat can be attributed to their advancement in cleanliness and sanitation driven by the Biate Community Health Center, which was in fact declared the cleanest health centre in Mizoram.
Though it has been found difficult to develop a proper waste management system in most cities, the strong sense of community participation among the residents has enabled the town to develop a systematized approach, setting an example for others.
Garbage trucks were deployed to reach every corner in the area and also better internal road connectivity was made a priority. Resources were contributed by the village council and residents, many families also came forward and donated their land so that better and wider roads could be constructed.
The most striking feature is that there are no strictly enforced rules in the town. There are no legal penalties for smoking in public places, for urinating in the open and for littering. For Biate, that is just the order of the day and their way of life.
Blessed with clean air, water and clean living, Biate will probably become a model town not only for India but for the whole world. In today’s time, when the world is bearing the brunt of global climate change, good quality air for breathing, clean drinking water are becoming a rarity.
Edited by: Arnab Jyoti Das