Kolkata: Come August 2018, Bengal will become an Open Defecation Free (ODF) state with 67 lakh rural households having toilets under Mission Nirmal Bangla.
A two-day workshop on sanitation , which was held at a private hotel in Sector V, concluded on Friday. The main purpose of the sessions was to find out the problems in implementing the work and discuss any alternative technology if any for smooth completion of the projects in different areas particularly in the Hills. Menstrual health of women too came up for discussion. The work was inaugurated by Subrata Mukherjee, minister for Panchayat and Rural Development. Sourav Das, additional chief secretary of Panchayat and Rural Development and other senior officials were present. Three officials from each district which included an Additional District Magistrate attended the meeting. There were brainstorming sessions where the officials shared their experiences.
It may be mentioned that Nadia was the country's first district to achieve ODF status. The other districts that have become ODF in Bengal are North and South 24 Parganas, East Midnapore, Hooghly and East and West Burdwan and Cooch Behar. Malda and Howrah have achieved the target and the Panchayat and Rural Development department is now verifying the data submitted by the district administrations.
During discussion, it came up that Birbhum, Murshidabad, West Midnapore and South Dinajpur will achieve the target by December end. Alipurduar, North Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri will be declared ODF by March 2018.
However, in five districts, the pace of work is rather slow and steps have been made to augment the speed. These districts are GTA, Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram.
It may be mentioned that at a meeting held in Nadia in 2014, Subrata Mukherjee had asked the district magistrates who were present there to take a pledge to make the districts where they are working ODF. The DMs took up the challenge and later with the assistance from the Panchayat and Rural Development Department, the dream is going to come true. "Our target is to make all the districts ODF by August 2018 and under no circumstances it is going to spill over to January 2019," Dibyendu Sarkar, Commissioner, Panchayat and Rural Development department said.