The Government of Odisha has given thrust on construction of bathing ghat and dress changing room while renovating or constructing tanks or ponds under Mahatma Gandhi NREGS to protect the modesty and dignity of women in rural areas. Taking a step forward in this regard, the Government has also framed a guideline on construction of bathing ghat and dress changing room along with the works on renovation or construction of tank through MGNREGS.
Like in many other parts of Odisha, the people in Kandha Nuagada village of Dhanantara Gram Panchayat in Shergarh Block of Ganjam District largely depends on the community ponds for bathing and washing of clothes. Changing clothes in open areas near the ponds, especially for women, has been a matter of concern in the community. Renovation and construction of ponds are being undertaken through MGNREGS. The Government of Odisha took a step forward, and included construction of bathing ghat and dress changing rooms along with the construction of community tanks. This was initially taken up in Dhanantara Gram Panchayat during FY 2015-16. Earth work of the pond was completed in 2015. As a result, the storage capacity of the tank has increased substantially, and is enough to meet all the needs of the community. Four bathing ghats and two dress changing rooms were constructed around the pond.
The pond has provided irrigation facilities to nearby land for paddy and vegetable cultivation. Currently, the pond is providing water to 15 acres of land for vegetable cultivation and to 30 acres of land for paddy cultivation. The bathing ghat and the changing room facilities have fulfilled its purpose, and is widely being used by the community members, especially women. Following the success of this initiative in Dhanantara Gram Panchayat, similar works have been taken up in Sagarpalli Tank at Takarada Gram Panchayat and Dhabalpur Gram Panchayat of Shergarh Block in Ganjam district of Odisha during FY 2015-2016.