New Delhi: Sonbhadra, second largest district of Uttar Pradesh, is doing all it can to achieve its target of going open defecation free (ODF) by August 15, 2018. Out of 1379 villages, only 342 villages in the district have achieved ODF status by June 5, 2018. To gear up the process and achieve its own target, the district has initiated a campaign ‘Ab Ki Barsat Izaat Ghar Ke Saath’ (This monsoon build a house of respect). The initiative targets to build 50,000 twin-pit toilets before monsoon. The campaign that got a green signal on June 5 will continue till July 5 and with this campaign 210 villages in the district aim toachieve ODF status.
Sharing details of the campaign with NDTV and why it was initiated, Sunil Kumar Varma, Chief Development Officer, Sonbhadra said,
To bring in a mindset change and make people use toilets, we have linked the construction of toilets to monsoon. In the past, in monsoon, numerous cases of deaths due to snake biting, lightning have been reported. During monsoon, water logging and insects make it difficult to defecate in open and we have taken that in our favour. We are urging people to construct a toilet instead of defecating in open during monsoon and get bitten by a snake.
How To Make ODF Campaign Successful
In a bid to fulfill its target, the campaign is being driven by community participation. Women from 2700 Self Help Groups (SHG), school students, have been made part of the campaign to spread awareness towards sanitation, health, and education. To motivate self help groups to be a part of the campaign, the corporation has decided to incentivise them. Apart from this, shramdaan (volunteering hours) by government officials and public representatives is also being done to motivate individuals.
To motivate SHGs to help district officials construct toilets and declare the district ODF, we have decided to incentivise them. Each member of self-help groups has been given a target of constructing 25 toilets and for each toilet they construct, they will get an incentive of Rs. 75. With this, each member of SHGs will be able to earn Rs. 1,875. It is a benefit for them, says Mr Sunil Varma.
To promote IEC (Information, Education, Communication) activities and surveillance at village level, ‘Bal Swachhta Sena’ (Children’s cleanliness army) has been formed. The aim of ‘Bal Swachhta Sena’ is to ensure that constructed toilets are being used. For this, students from different schools have been made a part of the group. Armed with caps, whistles, posters, and hooter, the students will roam in the village and ensure that no one defecates in open.
Current Status Of ‘Ab Ki Barsaat Izzat Ghar Ke Saath’ Campaign In Sonbhadra
Since the initiation of the campaign, 110 villages have been declared ODF. 30,357 toilets and 35,490 toilet structures have been constructed. 82,150 pits have been dugged. The district administration is confident of achieving its target of 1 lakh pits that is 50,000 toilets by July 5.
With this campaign, we are converting our weakness into strength. Slow pace of toilet construction in the district can be attributed to water scarcity in summers and water logging in monsoon. So, before the monsoon arrives and people give reasons for not constructing toilets, we initiated the campaign. After this campaign, within next one month, we plan to declare the district ODF, signs off Mr. Sunil Varma.
Current Status Of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan In Uttar Pradesh
Since the inception of Central government led Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014, the state has doubled its sanitation coverage. As per the data available on Union government portal, Uttar Pradesh’s sanitation coverage was mere 35.36 per cent before the start of Clean India Mission and in four years, the level of sanitation has risen to 77.70 per cent.