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Subrata declares Howrah an ODF district

Kolkata: Subrata Mukherjee, state minister for Panchayats and Rural Development, declared Howrah as an Open Defecation Free (ODF) district at a function on Friday morning.
Howrah becomes the 9th district to become ODF. The other ODF districts are Nadia, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly, East Midnapore, East Burdwan, West Burdwan and Cooch Behar.
It may be mentioned that Nadia was the first ODF district in the country. Three other districts, namely, Birbhum, West Dinajpur and Malda have made self-declaration and state level verification is on.
Birbhum district administration declared the district as ODF. Dibyendu Sarkar, Commissioner, Panchayats and Rural Development department, was present at the function. As per the norms, self-declaration is first made by a district, which is later verified by the Panchayats and Rural development department and then the district is declared as ODF.
The district administration of Murshidabad and West Midnapore will soon declare these districts as open defecation free. Thus, within a month or two, 15 districts in Bengal will become ODF.
Attempts have been made to declare all the districts in Bengal as ODF by December 31, which is much ahead of the deadline.
It may be mentioned that the project Nirmal Gram was taken up much before the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, announced by the Centre on October 2 in 2014.
It may be mentioned that Subrata Mukherjee, at a meeting held in Nadia, had requested the district magistrates to ensure that the districts under them become open defecation free.
In all the districts, teams headed by the district magistrates were formed and the teams requested people not to defecate in the open.
Women in different districts took the leading role, particularly in Cooch Behar and the Panchayats and Rural development department had awarded some of these women at function in 2017.
Intense campaigns have been carried out to change the habit of the villagers. They have also been trained about the usage of the new toilets and maintaining them. Senior state government officials said that unless the villagers maintain the toilets, the effort to make the villages open defection free will be wasted.

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