- Mission Nirmal Bangla has achieved considerable success in West Bengal
- Seven districts are already completely ODF in the state
- West Bengal aims to go completely ODF by August 2019
New Delhi: In its effort to make West Bengal open defecation free (ODF) by August 2019, the state government will declare three more districts, East and West Burdwan and Howrah, as ODF this month. The declaration is likely to be made in the second or third week of this month by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a senior state government official told PTI.
Nadia was declared in 2015 as the country’s first ODF district under the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, which is ‘Mission Nirmal Bangla’ in the state. Thereafter, Hooghly, East Midnapore, Cooch Behar and North and South 24 Parganas were named ODF districts. The state government has declared April 30 as Nirmal Bangla Divas. The Centre aims to make India ODF by October 2, 2019, while the West Bengal government has set a deadline of August, 2019 for the same.
Reports from the respective district administrations of East and West Burdwan and Howrah regarding ODF have been submitted to the government. The reports are being verified by the panchayat and rural development department. Once the verification is complete, these three districts will be declared open defecation free, the IAS officer said.
On the steps taken by the state government to achieve this, an official of the panchayat and rural development department said, they are working much ahead of the schedule and hopefully we will achieve the target before the deadline.
We are trying to declare a few more districts like Birbhum, South Dinajpur and Malda ODF by this year-end, said the IAS officer
The Bengal government is also emphasising on the use and maintenance of toilets in the districts. Toilets must be maintained by those who are using them. Non-maintenance will make the toilets unfit, leading to open defecation again, the official said. The state government is being assisted by UNICEF and some NGOs in creating awareness among the people.