Dehradun, June 23: Open defecation is a major problem in India. Along with personal hygiene, it affects environment also. The practice of open defecation is not limited to rural India. It is found in urban areas too. In spite of a large number of people still practicing open defecation, the Government of India has made progress in reducing the practice. Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, and Kerala were the first three states to be declared as open defecation free state. Now, two more states are included in the list- Uttarakhand, Haryana.
The sanitation coverage has increased from 42% to over 64% in just two and a half years since the launch of Swach Bharat Mission. Uttarakhand has 13 districts, 95 blocks, 7256 gram panchayats and 15751 villages while Haryana has 21 districts, 124 blocks, and 6083 gram panchayats - all of which have declared themselves as ODF in formal declarations in Dehradun and Chandigarh, respectively.
“On 2nd October 2014, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, started the Swachh Bharat Mission. Today, it has become a true people’s movement. People of Uttarakhand and Haryana, the government officials and representatives of other institutions have contributed towards this milestone.”, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said.
The next step for Swachh Bharat Gramin will be to focus on sustaining this ODF status and systematic solid and liquid waste management in rural India.