East, West Burdwan and Howrah to be declared ODF
Kolkata: East and West Burdwan and Howrah will be declared as open defecation free districts after the Pujas.
The announcement will be made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and steps have been taken to make all the districts in Bengal open defecation free by August 2019, much ahead of the schedule.
The district administration of Burdwan East and West and Howrah have submitted their reports which are being verified by the Panchayat and Rural Development department. Once the verification is done, the districts will be declared open defecation free.
It may be mentioned that Nadia was country's first district which was declared open defecation free.
After Nadia, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas, East Midnapore and Cooch Bihar districts have been declared ODF.
Steps have been taken to declare four more districts Howrah, Birbhum, South Dinajpur and Malda ODF within this year. The progress of work in making these districts ODF is satisfactory.
Senior Panchayat and Rural development department officials said along with the work to make the districts open defecation free, stress has been given to make people aware on the use of toilets. "If after construction of the toilets people refuse to use them, then the whole exercise will become futile," a senior official said.
Also, stress will be given on the maintenance of toilets. Once the toilets are built, the state government will not maintain them and due to lack of maintenance, if they become defunct after a year or so, then again open defecation will start.
The department has begun discussions how the toilets can be maintained after handing them over to the individuals.
There are 41,000 villages in Bengal along with 341 blocks. Uninterrupted supply of water to the toilets is an important issue and this will be addressed also.