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Netravali bins the garbage

Netravali bins the garbage

The village of Netravali has adopted a novel model to tackle the multiple issues that the Panchayat is grappling with. Café delves deeper to understand the model and analyses if other villages should follow suit.

In a new initiative aimed at tackling the issue of garbage and to generate revenue for the panchayat, the Village Panchayat, Netravali has recently begun charging entry fees from the tourists. The panchayat charges Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 400 for two-wheelers, four-wheelers and six-wheelers, respectively, and provides the vehicles stickers that help the locals identify and assist them if need be. The panchayat also gives the vehicles recyclable garbage bags to make tourists refrain from littering. The tourist can return garbage-filled bags while exiting and redeem 50% of the amount paid.

Locals are exempt from this but the VP Netravali, however, defines locals as people, or friends and relatives of people, residing in Netravali. Everyone else is a tourist. Interestingly enough, the forest department too has been charging a similar amount as entry and parking fees from tourists for the last 6-8 years.

Deputy Sarpanch, VP Netravali, Abhijit Dessai says, “The forest department, despite charging fees from the tourists, hasn’t provided parking or safety facilities. There are no lifeguards; seven lives have been lost in the last four years. The tourists continue to park on the main panchayat road in a haphazard manner.

We had to do something to tackle these issues without spending money from the panchayat’s coffers.”Hardly a few days into this model and it appears to be working wonders for the panchayat. According to Dessai, last Sunday saw about 150 vehicles enter the village of Netravali. The panchayat generated a revenue of around Rs 17000 (!) solely from the entry fees from the tourists, in a single day.This initiative is evoking positive reactions from people across Goa who acknowledge that the garbage issue needs to be tackled on a priority basis.

An avid trekker from Ponda, Harshal Kamat says, “One the one hand, it seems a little unfair that the locals also have to pay the fees. But on the other, it is a minimal amount that will go towards maintaining cleanliness of our own land. In that regard, it appears to be a bargain. Natural beauty can be enjoyed only if it is garbage-free.”

The model adopted by VP Netravali seems to be a lucrative one for other villages to follow, especially those that have been grappling with the garbage issue. Sarvesh Naik, a resident of Quepem who is usually sensitive to civic issues, says, “It is a welcome initiative. At a time where umpteen examples of tourism destroying our natural habitat seem to be vividly visible, the folks in Netravali have set up a great example. The execution is key, though.

The process may need a bit of monitoring too. Unlike the pay parking system, where the contractors merely collect the fees but do nothing to make the lives of the public convenient, I hope the panchayat of Netravali utilises the money wisely and for the development of the village.”

This article was written by Kishore Amati & was first published in Herald newspaper on 19th July 2017.

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