Three districts in Bengal namely Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore are likely to become Open Defecation Free (ODF) in September.
The state Panchayat and Rural Development department will organise a day-long high-level meeting on September 5 to take a stock of the work carried out in different districts to make them Open Defecation Free under Mission Nirmal Bangla project. The representatives of UNICEF will also be present at the meeting.
The meeting will be held at Eco Vista Club in New Town. All the District Magistrates and additional District Magistrates and Sabadhipatis of Zilla Parishads will attend the meeting. Subrata Mukherjee, minister for Panchayat and Rural Development department, Sourav Das, the department’s principal secretary and Dibyendu Sarkar, Commissioner of the department will be present at the meeting.
It may be mentioned that before the Swatch Bharat Mission was launched on October 2, 2014, the state government took steps to make its villages Open Defecation Free. Subrata Mukherjee in a meeting held in Nadia had urged the District Magistrates to take a pledge to ensure that their districts become ODF. It may be mentioned that Nadia became the country’s first ODF district.
The Panchayat and Rural development department has so far constructed 25.66 lakh toilets. Over 9,305 villages have been declared ODF. It has been recorded that 77.12 per cent household have toilets. It has been decided that every rural household will have a toilet by October 2019.
The work carried out in each district will be discussed in every details and the target for declaring them ODF districts will be fixed. Also, the solid waste management, financial streamlining of Nirmal Bangla Mission and the sustainability initiative taken by the districts will be discussed.
In the brainstorming session, the main thrust will be on timely completion of the project. The department has taken massive awareness programme and has chalked out elaborate schemes for maintenance of the toilets that had been constructed before the introduction of Mission Nirmal Bangla project.
It has been decided that Burdwan and South 24 Parganas would be declared ODF by March 31, 2017. In 2017-18, South and North Dinajpur, Birbhum, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling will be declared ODF. Malda and Murshidabad will be declared ODF in 2018-19.
For example, in Purulia only 7,288 toilets had been built in Purulia in 2014-15. But the work has been expedited and in 2015-16 50,878 toilets have been built. The meeting helps the department to understand the actual situation and then fixes the target on its basis.