In a bid to promote the ‘Mission Nirmal Bangla’ campaign across the district, the Jalpaiguri district administration has started manufacturing its own handwash.
Self help groups in the district are involved in the manufacturing and packaging of the handwash.The handwash bottles were delivered to different Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) centres free of cost. The district administration, meanwhile, is set to start ‘Health Week’ in all schools next week.
“We have to protect our children from pollution, micro-organisms and harmful bacteria. School children will now wash their hands before taking meals,” said Mukta Arya, Jalpaiguri district magistrate.
Mission Nirmal Bangla endeavours to achieve the larger objective of reduction in child mortality. Aimed at reducing the chances of overall mortality and morbidity by water-borne and faecal-borne diseases due to prevalence of open defecation, the mission has already reaped benefits for the state government.
Other objectives include reducing the loss of active workdays due to prevalence of diarrheal diseases among daily wagers; reducing drop out of children, especially girls, due to lack of appropriate toilet facilities in schools; and improving overall cleanliness in villages, thereby contributing to improved environmental conditions.
The overall goal of the mission is to bring about positive changes in the physical quality of village-life by ensuring cleanliness, hygiene and elimination of open defecation. The state government also aims to transform all the villages into Open Defecation Free villages by October 2, 2019.
Developing community-managed solid and liquid management systems in the rural areas will also feature as priorities to improve overall cleanliness and environmental sanitation in the villages. Mission Nirmal Bangla is an off-shoot of the Centre’s Clean India campaign and was launched by the state government on October 2, 2014. The idea, explained by government officials, was to bring all existing sanitation projects under one scheme.
Meanwhile, the handwash will be named after a meritorious girl Tista, who was also the mascot for the recent Assembly election in Jalpaiguri. “The bottles of handwash will be delivered to the schools free of cost. Our intension is to convey the message among the villagers to keep their neighbourhood clean,” Mukta Arya added.