New Delhi: The Swachhta revolution in Chhattisgarh is in full swing. While the Urban areas of Chhattisgarh attained the title of open defecation free this Rashtriya Swachhta Diwas – October 2, the rural areas with 90.31% sanitation coverage aims to eradicate open defecation completely by October 2, 2018. But, what sets Chhattisgarh apart from other states of India is an approach to bring in behavioural change in order to get open defecation free status. In Chhattisgarh, people don’t get toilet incentives, they have to construct the toilet with their own money, after using the toilet for 3 months they are entitled for the incentive amount. This unique approach has been adopted to sustain the open defecation efforts.
We don’t want to construct toilets block after block and declare the state open defecation free, we want to make sure people are using toilets, that’s why we are following this unique approach, this is our way to move towards open defecation free, says Vilas Bhoskar, Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Gramin.
The Road To Open Defecation Free For Rural Chhattisgarh
Till date, more than 24 lakh toilets have been constructed in the rural areas of the state. From 27 districts, 13 have been declared open defecation free, while more than 15,203 villages out of a 20,378 villages are free from the practice of open defecation.
Apart from October 2, 2018 target, rural areas of Chhattisgarh have set a goal to make 120 blocks, 1,000 gram panchayats and 1,200 villages open defecation free by this Gandhi Jayanti.
As a part of Swachhata Hi Seva campaign started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ahead of Gandhi Jayanti, we will build around 10,000 toilets and will make one block on Raipur district completely open defecation free, added Vilas Bhoskar.
However, construction of toilets is not the only motive for Rural Chhattisgarh; it is also about sustaining the efforts towards Swachhta and Open Defecation Free status. There are many innovative steps being taken by Rural Chhattisgarh that makes it unique, thanks to all these steps, today sanitation coverage in rural areas has gone up to 90.58% from 41.64% in 2014.
Community Sanitation Model
For instance, when a village/block/panchayat goes ODF and gets the money as a part of their Swachh Bharat Abhiyan fund, it is not given to the authorities as the toilet construction fund, instead it is given to the community and is used within the society for its better future.
Another approach that is being followed is to motivate people to opt for Twin Leach Pit, the authorities give toilet incentive only to people who build Twin Pit toilet at home. The authorities are motivating people to opt for Twin Pit as it converts human waste into manure within the span of 6 months thereby reducing the feacal sludge management burden from the areas. Today, the villagers of Chhattisgarh have turned entrepreneurs, they are using human excreta as manure and selling it in the market
Children As Swachh Messiyah
In two of Chhattisgarh’s district – Jashpur and Kabirdham that boasts OF 100% sanitation now, children were at The forefront of the sanitation program. In a first, in Kabirdham district, the local authorities held letter writing campaign in all schools, where children were asked to write letters to their parents asking them to build toilets for them. Result, over 1 lakh students wrote letters to their families and today these families are enjoying the many benefits of having a toilet.
Meanwhile, Jashpur educational department revamped some of the famous nursery rhymes and gave it a Swachh twist.
Secret Voting Ballot Method To End Open Defecation
Every week in newly declared ODF blocks/villages/districts or those that are on their way to be ODF, a secret voting happens, where people are asked to name defaulters who have toilets in their home but still opt for open defecation.
Explaining the process, Mr Bhoskar added, old habits die hard. We have come up with this unique mantra simply because we want public to know one basic fact – having toilet is important whereas using them is a necessity. Once we know the name of the defaulter, we go to his/her home and ask them why they are not using the facilities and thereafter try to solve the issue by convincing them that using toilet is important.
With these unique approaches, every day one or the other village, gram panchayat or block is moving towards open defecation free status in rural Chhattisgarh.
From Rural To Urban Areas Of Chhattisgarh With Swachhata Dals (vigilance squads) to monitor open defecation and promote toilet use, fines of Rs 500 as for people who are seen defecating in the open and state government’s innovative scheme for construction of toilet, urban areas of Chhattisgarh are upping their Swachh quotient just like rural areas of the state.
In 2015, the state government of Chhattisgarh launched a scheme to achieve 100% construction of toilets in urban areas – under the scheme people will only have to pay Rs 2,000 to the authorities in order to construct a toilet, and the state government will provide Rs 16,000 to the beneficiary and the central funding per toilet will be Rs 4,000.
Today all cities in Chhattisgarh has 100% sanitation. Till date, more than 2 lakh individual toilets and 12,000 community toilets have been constructed and the target for urban areas to go ODF has been achieved on this Rashtriya Swachhta Diwas.
Stories That Inspire
Because of these unique approaches by the state, to promote sanitation and hygiene there is an increase in awareness in Chhattisgarh. 106-year-old Kunwar Bai from Kotabharri village in Dhamtari is known across the country as she became the state’s Swachh Ambassador. Kunwar Bai sold her goats, the only source of income, just to construct toilet at her home and later started motivating people of the village to build toilets. Her swachh efforts, were felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In Jashpur district, a woman sarpanch, Kajal Roy mortgaged her jewellery worth Rs. 87,000 simply to construct 100 toilets for her village and make it open defecation free.
Jewellery will come sooner or later, but the opportunity to work for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan will not be there forever. Currently, Swachh Bharat Mission is being celebrated like any other festivals in India, I want to be a part of it, adds Kajal Roy.
Today with all these efforts, one by one, houses in Chhattisgarh are breaking the age-old tradition of open defecation and proudly painting the word ODF in front of their house, as a status symbol.
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