May 6, 2015
Derek O’Brien makes a Special Mention on the achievements of West Bengal’s sanitation programme | Full Transcript
Nadia district of West Bengal has become the first in India to have modern toilets in every household. This remarkable feat in sanitation, called ‘SobarSouchagar’or ‘Toilets For All’,has made Nadia a ‘NirmalZilla’. International recognition has also come.
The project has been shortlisted for the prestigious UN Public Services Award, 2015. Loughborough University, UK has selected the project as an inspiring model for eliminating open defecation, and it is to be presented at the WEDC International Conference in July.
Open defecation is a major problem in India. The State of West Bengal has taken a commendable lead in tackling this issue. To change this social behaviour, the administration started a practice of oath-taking by children in schools that they will ensure total sanitation in their houses. This has proved to be the biggest game-changer as children went home and forced their parents also to use toilets. Besides, religious leadershave also done their part in spreading the message of safe sanitary habits during gatherings.
Other districts, like Hooghly, North 24-Parganas and Bardhaman, are also well on their way to achieving a 100% open defecation-free status. Funds from Central schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan and National Rural Livelihood Mission are being used for the purpose.This kind of district-level sanitation programme is the need of the hour; the State of West Bengal has shown the way to success, and now it’s for the others to implement similar schemes to remove the scourge of open defecation.