The government of West Bengal is gearing up to declare three of its districts as open defecation-free (ODF) in October this year. While speaking on the issue, a senior government official said that the government has chosen the districts of East Burdwan, West Burdwan and Howrah to put under ODF category. The state government has also emphasized on the maintenance of the toilets across the districts and asked users to maintain them on their own, as non-maintenance will make them unusable that may encourage users to open defecation again.
The official said that the government received reports from those districts and now they will send teams for verification before declaring them as ODF districts. West Bengal’s Nadia became country’s first ODF district under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much anticipated ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. Other districts such as Cooch Behar, East Midnapore, Hooghly, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas were also declared as ODF in West Bengal.
The government official also hinted that they are also planning to put districts like Malda, South Dinajpur and Birbhum as ODF by the end of 2017. The Centre has already announced to make the whole country ODF by October 2, 2019, while the state government has resolved to achieve the feat by August 2019. The state government has also been observing April 30 as ‘Nirmal Bangla Divas’.
While speaking on the issue, an official from state government’s Panchayat and Rural department said that the department is working hard to achieve the target before the deadline. He added that the state government is planning to add a few more districts as ODF by the end of this year.