Give Plastic, Take Gold! 

Showkat Itoo (Winner), with Saropanch Sadiwara Farooq Ganai and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai former Advisor to Governor | Picture by author

The campaign on addressing solid waste issues has to be incentivized by the government 

THE Deputy Commissioner Anantnag Dr Syeed Fakhrudin Hamid and Former State Chief Information Commissioner/Ex Advisor to J&K Governor on Sunday presented gold coins to two public spirited citizens at Sadiwara village in South Kashmir’s  Anantnag district.

Two people namely Showkat Ahmad Itoo and Shahid Hussain Bhat had collected a large amount of plastic waste around the village and on Sunday they were rewarded for this work. The gold coin giving ceremony was organised by the Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Sadiwara Farooq Ahmad Ganai who also happens to be the senior advocate of Anantnag district. The programme was attended by District Officers, PRI members, media persons, civil society members and local residents.

Give Plastic, Take Gold  

Sadiwara, a beautiful area, was marred with trash before Sarpanch Farooq Ahmad Ganai had taken charge. Only a few months back, heaps of waste could be seen in local water bodies, open plots ,agricultural land, springs and other public places. Around January, Ganai decided to tackle the issue robustly. He designed a campaign to clear waste through public participation (Awami Muhim/ Janbhagidari).

Around February, he launched a campaign called “Give Plastic Take Gold” to this end.

Under this campaign, it was decided that gold coins would be presented to those who would collect at least 20 quintals of plastic waste. Lots of locals participated in this campaign which continued from February till April.

The campaign led to sensitisation and awareness among local Auqaf Committee, religious leaders and even children.

The village bears a completely different look now that the streets, springs, fields and open lands are free from waste.

Gold Coin winners 

No single individual could collect 20 quintals of waste even as a large number of people participated in sanitation work.Sarpanch Sadiwara Advocate Farooq Ganai didn’t want to demoralise those who had collected large amounts of plastic waste.

Two people were thus selected as winners of Gold Coins. One is Showkat Ahmad Itoo a local resident of Sadiwara and another one Shaid Hussain Bhat who lives in a nearby village called Gawaas. Shahid is also Deputy Sarpanch of Gawaas. Two more persons who also collected a good amount of plastic waste namely Wani Shakeel and Bashir Ahmad Wani were given cash reward during the event organised on Sunday May 14th at Sadiwara.

Two children Hibba Zahoor and Maria Farooq were also awarded for their contribution. DC Anantnag Dr Fakhrudin and former Advisor to Govt Khurshid Ahmad Ganai  gave away the gold coins to winners and they also felicitated several media persons and civil society members who played a great role to make Give Plastic Take Gold a successful public movement.

LG hails Sadiwara Sarpanch 

During his monthly Awam ki Awaz radio broadcast, The Lt Governor of Jammu & Kashmir  Manoj Sinha commended the “Give Plastic and Take Gold” campaign launched by Farooq Ahmad Ganai, Sarpanch of Sadiwara, Anantnag. He said that the campaign was like transforming the Swachh Abhiyan (cleanliness campaign)  into Jan-bhagidari (Public Participation) which is fulfilling the dream of Swachh Bharat (Clean India).

LG Manoj Sinha recently invited Farooq Ahmad Ganai to Jammu Raj Bhavan and felicitated him along with some other PRI members from J&K for their public spirited work.

LG Sinha in his Awam ki Awaz programme called upon the PRI representatives to replicate the noble initiative taken by Sarpanch Sadiwara and ensure community participation in cleanliness drives. He added that Youth clubs also have an important role to play in promoting cleanliness and their involvement in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was very important.

Who provided Gold Coins to Sarpanch ? 

When I spoke to Farooq Ahmad Ganai , he told me that he didn’t ask anyone to pay for the Gold Coins. Infact, he purchased these coins himself and some amount was donated by his wife. Sarpanch Farooq Ganai runs a small trust namely Social Reconstruction Centre Kashmir (SRCK) and this organisation also provided some support to Gram Panchayat Sadiwara during village cleanliness campaign.

The function that was organised on Sunday May 14th at Sadiwara was also supported by Social Reconstruction Centre Kashmir (SRCK).Deputy Commissioner Anantnag Dr Fakhrudin Hamid who presided over the function appreciated the work done by Sarpanch Farooq Ganai. He said that work done in Sadiwara will be replicated in other villages of Anantnag.

Former Advisor to Governor and retired senior IAS officer Khurshid Ahmad Ganai who was guest of honour during the function said that Kashmir valley needed immediate solution for managing waste on scientific lines. He gave details about hazards of plastic pollution including the effects of macro and micro-plastic on human bodies. He appreciated the role played by Sarpanch Sadiwara for cleaning his village.


The model set up by Advocate Farooq Ganai is praiseworthy and should be replicated in other places by public spirited citizens, NGOs and local Panchayats. Now the biggest challenge before Farooq Ahmad Ganai is to make this work sustainable and long lasting. He has to ensure door to door waste collection.

The Rural Waste Management program under Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) will be of sure help to him in the process. Additionally, logistical support must also be provided to him by District Administration Anantnag  and local Block Development Officer (BDO).

The Government needs to incentivize waste management and sanitation programmes. For instance, Municipal Committee Dooru Verinag in Anantnag district is going to felicitate those households in the town who have the most clean houses. President MC Dooru Veeinag Mohammad Iqbal announced this during the function held at Sadiwara.

Such initiatives must also be launched in cities, towns and villages so that we can prioritize waste management and sanitation.

  • Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

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Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat

Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat is an Acumen Fellow and Chairman Jammu & Kashmir RTI Movement. Feedback [email protected]

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