Kolkata: While the Centre’s much-publicised Swachh Bharat Abhiyan hasn’t yet hit top gear across the country, a district in Bengal has stolen a silent march in becoming the country’s first to be declared open defecation-free. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today made a formal announcement of Nadia becoming the first Indian district to earn Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. Hooghly and Bardhaman are placed on second and third rank respectively.
Mamata Banerjee said that one lakh school students today took the Nirmal Bangla Pledge along with the CM at Krishnanagar, Nadia. Representatives from UNICEF and World Bank were present on the occasion. To celebrate the success of the efforts in Nadia, 30 April will be observed as Nirmal Bangla Divas across the state every year, announced CM.
WB CM thanked people from all sections of the society for making Nadia the first open-defecation free district in India. “The district of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Dwijendra Lal Roy has again led the way in social awakening,” she said. As part of the Nirmal Bangla (Clean Bengal) Mission, as many as 3.47 lakh toilets were set up across Nadia. These were constructed not just in the interiors of Nadia, but also in the urban centres and townships. By March 2015, all households in the district had access to toilets.
It is estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation and nearly half of them still defecate in the open.