Open Defecation Free Districts : Three More Districts From Bengal

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Kolkata: The most important objective of the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission is to end open defecation forever in all villages by 2 October 2019. In its effort to make West Bengal open defecation free by August 2019, the state government will declare three more districts.

These three districts are -East and West Burdwan and Howrah, as ODF this month. The declaration is likely to be made in the second or third week of this month by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, according to source. Once the verification is complete, these three districts will be declared open defecation free.

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Nadia was declared in 2015 as the country’s first ODF district under the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, which is ‘Mission Nirmal Bangla’ in the state. Thereafter, Hooghly, East Midnapore, Cooch Behar and North and South 24 Parganas were named ODF districts.

The state government has declared April 30 as Nirmal Bangla Divas. The Centre aims to make India ODF by October 2, 2019, while the West Bengal government has set a deadline of August, 2019 for the same.

On the steps taken by the state government to achieve this, an official of the panchayat and rural development department said, “We are working much ahead of the schedule and hopefully we will achieve the target before the deadline.

Toilets must be maintained by those who are using them. Non-maintenance will make the toilets unfit, leading to open defecation again. The state government is being assisted by UNICEF and some NGOs in creating awareness among the people.

The Mission is named as Mission Nirmal Bangla and under the mission the Government of West Bengal endeavors to achieve the larger objective of reduction in child mortality and morbidity, overall mortality and morbidity by reducing chances of water borne and fecal brone diseases due to prevalence of open defecation, especially girls due to lack of appropriate toilet facilities in schools; improve overall cleanliness in the villages thereby contributing to improved environmental conditions.

Thus the overall goal of the Mission will be to bring about positive changes in the physical quality of life in the villages by romoting cleanliness, hygiene and elimination open defecation. To achieve these larger impacts on the villages and the community, the specific goal of the Mission is to transform all the villages of West Bengal to Open Defecation Free (ODF) villages by 2 October 2019.

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