After Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala have become open defecation free under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission. The states have successfully achieved rural sanitation coverage of 100 per cent, with all 12 districts in Himachal declared as well as verified as ODF, according to an official statement.
Notably, the states will receive World Bank funding worth Rs 9,000 crore for projects to sustain the sanitation campaign. The declaration was made at a public event by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in the presence of Union Health Minister JP Nadda and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
“The hill state of Himachal Pradesh has become the first large state to become completely ODF”, the CM said at the event. He lauded the people of the state for supplementing the efforts of the government to achieve ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and said that “such a feat was not possible without the support of the people”.
So far, the central government has also said that urban areas in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are also free of open defecation could not have been fulfilled but for a ‘people’s movement
Tomar said the state achieved ODF status, thanks to the people of Himachal Pradesh who made it a mass movement and added: “I am confident that we would be able to sustain it in the future as well.”
The CM added that the state would be very happy to share lessons that they have learnt in this journey with other states to help realise the vision of a Swachh Bharat.
Making this announcement jointly with Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Union Minister for Health J P Nadda, Minister for Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar said: “It was heartening to note how the state has achieved the ODF target, at least five months in advance by taking up the task for construction of toilets in a campaign mode.”
Apparently, Himachal Pradesh has shown the way to the country and the experience about the strategy adopted for the mission, not only within the country but also internationally.
Singh asserted that government will not lag behind in implementation of central schemes for public welfare It was his desire that HimachalPradesh should overtake Kerala and thus steps were taken to meet the targets. Nadda said it has been observed that a lot of diseases are caused by lack of sanitation facilities and malnutrition. But once the sanitation issue is handled, the occurrence of several diseases is bound to come down. The Ministry of Health will draw up a joint strategy with the Ministry of Rural Development.