Aizawl (zoramobserver.com): Mizoram is on a war-footing effort to become Open Defecation Free (ODF) state by March this year.
Officials of Public Health Engineer department said that out of Mizoram eight districts, six namely Aizawl, Kolasib, Serchhip, Mamit, Champhai and Siaha have been already declared ODF under the clean India mission — Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, while two districts- Lunglei and Lawngtlai have to be made ODF by March this year.
Officials also said that a district or village can be declared ODF even if fails to have toilets by every household but do not scatter excreta outside. If some families in a particular village shares common toilet they are fit to declare ODF provided they do not scatter excreta, they said.
The village or districts which have been declared as ODF are examined at block level, district level and state level, the officials also said.
Citing about the significance of ODF, department officials also said that district and villages will stop to enjoy various schemes and facilities from the central government unless they are declared ODF. Moreover, the mission for clean surrounding (ODF) will improve public health by mitigating common cold fever, diarrhea, dysentery and other illness. Financial support from World Bank is also expectable if Mizoram is declared ODF state, the officials said.
As per the baseline survey conducted by PHE department in 2012, over 30,000 household families in Mizoram rural areas were without proper toilets. Of the eight Mizoram districts, Champhai was declared first ODF in the state.
FOUR MORE STATES
Along with Mizoram, four more states- Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, and Uttrakhand are likely to be ODF in next three months.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was officially launched on 2 October 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Under this plan, the government is aiming to achieve an Open Defecation Free India by 2 October 2019, on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
For achieving this, the government will have to construct 12 million toilets in rural India, the work on which is going on. The programme has received funds and technical support from the World Bank and corporate houses as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Sikkim was the first state in the country to be declared Open Defecation Free followed by Kerala and Himachal Pradesh. On December 31 last year, Arunachal Pradesh emerged as the second state in the Northeast, after Sikkim, to be declared Open Defecation Free. Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, around 5,86,45,703 toilets have been created in rural areas and 3,05,593 villages had been declared ODF across the country.