South 24 Parganas will have over 7.52 lakh toilets under Nirmal Bangla Mission, which is the country’s first district to have the highest number of toilets.
It may be recalled that Nadia was the country’s first district which was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
PB Salim, District Magistrate, South 24 Parganas said as per the baseline survey, 5.57 lakh households in the district did not have toilets.
In addition to this, toilets have been constructed for the houses which were not reflected in the baseline survey along with construction of 88,000 toilets in seven municipalities and urban areas.
Of these, over 7 lakh toilets have been constructed so far and the district will be declared ODF latest by March 2017. “Work is on in full swing and we will be able to meet the deadline well in advance,” Salim said.
Cooch Behar will be North Bengal’s first district to be declared as ODF. The deadline has been fixed at March, 2017. By then South 24 Parganas and Burdwan will be declared ODF.
It may be mentioned that along with Nadia, North 24 Parganas, Hooghly and East Midnapore have been declared ODF districts. The state government has decided that by March 2019, every rural household will have a toilet.
A special drive has been taken up by Soumitra Mohan, District Magistrate of Burdwan. A special task force has been constituted and the task force request the villagers not to litter in the open. The team is often led by the District Magistrate.
In Cooch Behar, work is on in full swing. The survey work started slightly late but soon the administration rose to the occasion and work started on a war footing.
It was Subrata Mukherjee, minister for Panchayat and Rural development department who had urged the District Magistrates to take a pledge to stop open defecation much before the Prime Minister announced Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The DMs agreed and baseline survey began.
Dibyendu Sarkar, Panchayat Commissioner said along with construction of toilets in every household, massive awareness campaign was launched urging the people to develop the habit of going to the toilet and not to litter in the open.
In Nadia, a human chain comprising lakhs of people was formed to create awareness on hand washing. The people have been taught about the usage and maintenance of toilets.
“The way construction of toilets is progressing, we will able to declare all the districts in Bengal as Open Defecation Free ahead of the given deadline,” he said.