Bengal Minister seeks separate toilets for transgenders

Minister for women and child development and social welfare, Dr Shashi Panja, said on Wednesday that transgender persons deserve to have separate public toilets.

“They deserve separate toilets, which unfortunately are not there. Just imagine the difficulties faced by them. They are human (beings) too,” Panja said while addressing the 8th CII Corporate Social Responsibility Meet, 2015 here.

She also appealed to the corporate houses to earmark a part of their CSR funds for setting up separate toilets for the transgender.

As per state government figures, the number of transgender persons in West Bengal is 30,349. The issue of the community’s welfare is being discussed in Bengal since the state government has set up a transgender development board.

Also, with Manabi Mukhopadhyay becoming the first transgender principal of any college has given an impetus to the transgender development movement in the state.
“The government alone cannot do everything. Please come forward and help us achieve our social goals,” Dr Panja said.

Dr Panja also spoke of the need for quality education and vocational training at anganwadi centres where children need good teachers and mentors.

“All you are required to do is approach the urban development department for land,” she said in her appeal to the corporate houses.

Earlier, the state government had asked the Kolkata Police to begin recruitment of transgenders into the Civic Police Volunteer Force. The move was seen as a way to end the “stigma” and “discrimination” against the community.

mamata banerjee sagar island

Gangasagar Mela to go green in 2016

Ganga Sagar Mela next year would be declared Green Mela where sanitary toilets would be provided for all pilgrims, South 24 Paraganas district magistrate P B Salim said.

10,000 sanitary toilets would be set up for the mela, which attracts lakhs of pilgrims from across the country.

He said the pilgrims would be made aware of the demerits of open defecation at various stages of their journey right from the city to Sagar Island, where they take the holy dip on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.

Referring to the situation in the district vis-a-vis sanitation, he said the model set by Nadia, declared a total sanitation district, would be followed though South 24 Parganas had a much larger population.

“Next year on Gandhi Jayanti we plan to declare South 24 Parganas a total sanitation district. For this we are involving people from all sections – students, Anganwadi and Asha workers, SHGs, NGOs besides religious heads,” he said adding at present there are no sanitary toilets in at least seven lakh households in the district.

The government will provide Rs 10,000 for each toilet built and the beneficiary would pay Rs 900 or provide labour. In West Bengal 40 per cent of the people have no sanitary toilets at their homes compared to 58 per cent in the country.

UNICEF all praises for Nirmal Bangla Mission

Bengal will become completely open defecation free by 2019, a delegation from UNICEF led by Chief of Section for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sanjay Wijesekera was told by West Bengal government.

Representatives of UNICEF on Thursday held a meeting with the State Minister for Panchayat and Rural Development, Subrata Mukherjee where they were shown a presentation on Nirmal Bangla Mission.

The delegation from UNICEF was impressed by the progress of Nirmal Bangla Mission. Mr Wijesekera assured full cooperation to West Bengal government in this regard.

Subrata Mukherjee said, “Not only Bengal, Nadia is the first district in the entire country to be declared open defecation free. Several districts like Hooghly, North 24 Parganas, West Midnapore have performed exceptionally under Nirmal Bangla Mission. These districts have almost achieved their targets.”

“We have taken the initiative to build toilets in every household. We are discouraging people from open defecation should awareness campaigns. This will usher in a social revolution,” he added.

A booklet and music video on Nirmal Bangla Mission was launched by Subrata Mukherjee on the occasion.


Nadia shows the way for Clean India: WB CM

While the Centre’s much-publicised Swachh Bharat Abhiyan hasn’t yet hit top gear across the country, a district in Bengal has stolen a silent march in becoming the country’s first to be declared open defecation-free.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today made a formal announcement of Nadia becoming the first Indian district to earn Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. Hooghly and Bardhaman are placed on second and third rank respectively.

Nirmal Bangla Divas

One lakh school students today took the Nirmal Bangla Pledge (see video here) along with the CM at Krishnanagar, Nadia. Representatives from UNICEF and World Bank were present on the occasion.

To celebrate the success of the efforts in Nadia, 30 April will be observed as Nirmal Bangla Divas across the state every year, announced CM.

WB CM thanked people from all sections of the society for making Nadia the first open-defecation free district in India. “The district of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Dwijendra Lal Roy has again led the way in social awakening,” she said.

Nirmal Bangla Mission

As part of the Nirmal Bangla (Clean Bengal) Mission, as many as 3.47 lakh toilets were set up across Nadia. These were constructed not just in the interiors of Nadia, but also in the urban centres and townships. By March 2015, all households in the district had access to toilets.

It is estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation and nearly half of them still defecate in the open.

Toilets for all: Bengal shows the way

West Bengal Government is committed towards Open Defecation Free status for the State by October 2019. Within 2015-16, districts like Nadia, Uttar 24 Parganas, Purba Medinupur will be free from open defecation. Hoogly and Bardhaman will be free from open defecation by 2016-17.

Nadia, Bardhaman, Hoogly feature among the top four districts in the nation, in terms of toilets constructed in the last 2 years.

In the last 2 years, 11.92 lakh toilets have been constructed in West Bengal. In Nadia more than 2.42 lakh toilets have been constructed, in Bardhaman more than 1.5 lakh toilets have been constructed and in Hoogly more than 1.1 lakh toilets have been constructed. Nadia district has been shortlisted for the United Nations global award for public service. Currently toilets have been constructed for 95% of the houses in Nadia district.

In the last 2 years, 11.92 lakh toilets have been constructed in West Bengal.

The allocation has been proposed to be increased to Rs 8500 Crore in 2015-16 Budget, from the existing Rs 7460 Crore of 2014-15.