The coronavirus pandemic saw one of the worst job crisis across the country, with hundreds of migrants running out of their sources of earning.
At a time like this, close to 800 residents of Mavaiya village in Barabanki district in Uttar Pradesh had found themselves a good job amid lockdown, which earned them some money as well as helped in restoring a 2.6 km of the Kalyani river.
With the ensuing lockdown, came the epic opportunity of cleaning the river of all the waste that had accumulated over time due to excessive human activities.
Under the initiative of District Magistrate Dr Adarsh Singh, the project was designed in two segments — while the 2.6 km stretch in Mavaiya has been cleaned and restored while the work in the 1.5 kms in the neighbouring village of Haidargarh is still underway.
According to a report in The Better India, the IAS officer said, “Lockdown was, in a way, a boon in disguise for us. We had to stop in February due to movement restrictions. When we learnt about the plight of daily wage earners and how their livelihoods were in danger, we thought of employing them to solve the two problems."
A plan was chalked out last year to clean the river, however, due to a lack of manpower the project was brought to a halt.
Officers inform that the entire operation was started by first sensitising villagers about the need to keep the river water clean, open defecation and dumping garbage.
“It wasn’t difficult to get people’s cooperation after we told them they could use the river water for farming,” said Dr Singh in the report.
In 60 days 500 workers were successful in desilting the river stretch in Mavaiya, while the work in Haidargarh is expected to be done by 30 June.
The project has been funded under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) with a budget of more than Rs 59 lakh allocated for it in phase 1.