- Lohara taluka, comprising of 47 villages, has been declared 100 % ODF
- The Osmanabad Zilla Parishad has allocated ₹10 lakh for the trip
- Known for its cleanliness, Singapore was chosen as the destination
34-year old Rajendra Nandey has never been abroad. He has also never used a toilet. Today he is busy preparing to build a toilet at home, so he can take a foreign vacation with his family. What is the link between a toilet and a foreign trip, you wonder? Everything, if a new scheme announced by Maharashtra’s Osmanabad Zilla Parishad is to be believed. ‘Build a toilet and visit Singapore’ is the new buzzword as the district intensifies its fight against open defecation.
The Zilla Parishad aims to build toilets in 734 villages and make Osmanabad district Open Defecation Free by October 2 this year.
While this may seem like an ambitious plan, authorities have come up with the best incentive to motivate the villagers to join in. A lottery system has been set up, under which a total of 32 villagers will be chosen for an all-expense paid trip to Singapore.
The aim of introducing this scheme is to create a healthy competition which not only promises a ‘sanitised result’ but also gives people a reason to rejoice!, says Anand Rayate, Osmanabad Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officer.
Known for its impeccable cleanliness, Singapore was chosen as the destination.
We wanted our people to observe cleanliness standards maintained by Singapore. And this in turn will motivate our people to maintain the swachhta back home, adds Mr Rayate.
How Will Lottery System Work?
The lottery scheme will be conducted in four phases, where villages can participate provided they fulfill certain criteria.
In the first phase, it is mandatory that 25% of the ‘taluka’ must be open defecation free by the end of April. In the second stage, the taluka must be 50% ODF by August 15, followed by 75% ODF on 17th September. The last phase aims to make the entire taluka ODF by October 2.
8 villagers will be chosen by lottery after each phase.
Also Read: This Village Had No Clean Drinking Water, Toilets For Nearly Half A Century
The Osmanabad Zilla Parishad has allocated ₹10 lakh for the trip from their Self-Fund account. Talks are also in pipeline with the Singapore Tourism Board for additional financial aid for the same. As part of their CSR activity,a private travel company has also volunteered with financial help
As of now, Lohara taluka, comprising of 47 villages, has already been declared 100 % ODF.
People’s Swachh Movement
The strength of Osmanabad’s ODF endeavor lies in that it depends on the participation of the people.
Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan it is not only the responsibility of Government but also of the people to eliminate open defecation. This competition is the best way to do so said Mr. Rayate
One of the major challenges to a successful Swachh mission is the maintenance and sanitization after the toilets have been constructed, points out Mr. Rayate.
To ensure the maintenance and use of the newly constructed toilets, the officials are conducting sanitation awareness programmes in all the villages, especially in schools.
After the announcement, women of these villages have come to the forefront to fight against open defecation.
Women, especially college girls have shown their full support and some of them have also declared that they will not marry in a house without a toilet, says Mr. Rayate.
With such an immense effort by the Zilla Parishad officials and an enthusiastic response from the villagers, Osmanabad district is on the way to achieving its target of becoming open defecation free by October 2 this year.
Also Read:10,000 Toilets In 100 Hours: Vizianagaram’s Swachh Miracle