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Toilet Donation: Assam’s Latest Mantra To End Open Defecation

Ever since the inception of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014, municipal corporations across the country have been coming up with unique initiatives to realise the dream of Open Defecation Free India by October 2019. Assam's Jorhat administration, being of them, has started a 'toilet donation' movement in the district to maximise citizen participation by convincing people to make a toilet donation for the underprivileged section of the society.

Virendra Mittal, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Jorhat district started the 'Daan Toilet' concept to help 20,000 families who were left out of a baseline conducted to give toilet subsidies under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

The idea aims to fasten the ODF process, the administration draws similarities between Devalayas and Shauchalayas to convince potential donors in making a toilet donation. Just as offerings of milk, oil, clothes are made to God in a place of worship, residents of Jorhat district are now making a tangible donation in the form of a toilet.

The district authorities first identify potential donors who are in a position to make a toilet donation and then personally conduct a meeting with them.

Once the donor gets on board, the administration offers the donor to either take the responsibility of constructing the toilet or sanction the amount to any local NGO which will look after the toilet building process.

To boost the initiative, appreciation letters are given to the donors. Their names also get inked on beneficiary's toilet door.

"My family was forced to go to the bamboo forest behind the house. Now that we have got a toilet via donation, my family's health and future is secured," says Janmoni Bora, one of the many beneficiaries.

From donating toilet in the memory of their late parents to making a donation on occasions like birthday, people are whole-heartedly taking part in this initiative. Besides individual donations, companies like ONGC have shown interest in the 'Daan' movement.

To make the district Open Defecation Free (ODF), residents of Jorhat district have donated 256 toilets in the last seven months. The administration aims to reach 1,000 donated toilets by June this year.

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