South Dinajpur to be declared ODF district
Kolkata: The district administration will declare South Dinajpur as Open Defecation Free (ODF) district at a function on Monday.
Subrata Mukherjee, state Panchayats and Rural Development minister along with Dibyendu Sarkar, Commissioner, Panchayats and Rural Development department will be present.
The run-up to the declaration includes the district administration first doing the self-assessment and sending the report to the Panchayats and Rural Development department which in turn, conducts a cross-check and if satisfied, the district is declared as ODF district by the department.
Eight districts in Bengal have been declared as ODF. They are Nadia, Hooghly, North and South 24-Parganas, East and West Burdwan, East Midnapore and Cooch Behar. Nadia was country's first district which was declared ODF. Four districts — Howrah, Birbhum, Malda and South Dinajpur — have declared themselves as ODF districts and the department is now busy checking the information submitted by them. By March-end, 12 out of 23 districts in Bengal will be ODF districts. Attempts have been made to declare the remaining districts as ODF by end of this year though the deadline is December, 2019.
It was Subrata Mukherjee who, during a meeting in Nadia where all the District Magistrates were present, urged them to make their districts Open Defecation Free (ODF) much before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, 2015. All the District Magistrates took a pledge and accordingly, plans were chalked out and work was carried out on a war footing.
Nirmal Bangla is another successful project of the state government. In all the districts, teams have been set up to request people not to defecate in the open. Along with this, a massive campaign has been carried out encouraging people to use toilets and look after their maintenance.
In 2017, the Panchayats and Rural Development department honoured the women who had carried out awareness drives in different districts on the International Women's Day.