Bankura does Bengal proud, becomes top ODF district in India
Kolkata: Bankura has ranked first among 412 districts in the Open Defecation Free (ODF) contest in the country organised by the Centre in connection with World Toilet day.
The Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation had organised a nationwide contest to select the best ODF district in the country from November 9 to 19, 2018. Accordingly, 412 districts from 25 states and union territories had taken part in the contest. The result of the contest was announced by the ministry on Wednesday. Bankura bagged the first prize, followed by Ganderbal in Jammu and Kashmir and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. Murshidabad has bagged the 9th position.
Bengal and Jharkhand are the two states having two districts each among the first 12 states in the country. The 12 states are Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Meghalaya, besides Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. Cooch Behar district has received a special mention.
It may be mentioned that Mission Nirmal Bangla was announced before the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which was announced by the Prime Minister on October 2, 2014. Accordingly, the Panchayat and Rural Development department had taken special drives to make the districts ODF. Nadia became country's first ODF district.
Massive campaigns were launched by the Panchayat and Rural Development department in this regard. Senior officials of the department visited the districts to oversee the work and surprise visits were conducted. Teams were set up in the districts that had urged the people to use the toilet and not defecate in the open. Folk artistes performed in the campaigns as well.
The District Magistrates that took part in the contest took photographs of the toilets and sent them to the ministry. The information submitted by them was cross-checked and finally the best ODF district was announced. It is hoped that all the districts in Bengal will be ODF by March, much ahead of the deadline which is October 2, 2019.