The Himachal Pradesh is poised to achieve cent-percent targets before 2019 under the “Swatch Bharat Mission” in order to ensure a clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF) State. For this an action plan had already been prepared by the State Government.

The aim of the present Government under Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) is to achieve 100 percent access to sanitation for all rural households by the year 2022, which under Swatch Bharat Mission has now been preponed to make the Pradesh Open Defecation Free by the year 2019, by construction of individual, institutional, cluster and community toilets. For this, water pipelines have to be laid in all villages enabling tap connections into households. Keeping villages clean, efficient solid and liquid waster management through gram panchayats have been ensured.

The Government also approved a strategy and adopted Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) as a demand driven community led and people cantered programme to achieve the Nirmal Himachal status. The strategy was to address all sections of rural population so as to bring about relevant behavioural changes for improved sanitation and hygiene practices in the rural areas of the State. In order to ensure that the State’s achievements under the sanitation campaign are sustainable, the universalization of Nirmal Gram Purskar has been given priority.

As per the fresh base line survey conducted in early 2013, it was observed that out of 1483562 households in Himachal Pradesh, 1274555 have already toilets facility and around 2.5 lakh, including defunct left to be covered. The State has been given the approval of Rs. 852.55 crore for revised projects under Swatchh Bharat Mission, out of which the first instalment of Rs. 48 crore has been received. As many as 2.2. lakh individual toilets would be constructed out of which 54000 have already been constructed apart from 1200 toilets under construction in the Schools. The State Government is certain to achieve the target of making the Pradesh ODF quite before 2019, the targeted year.

The State Government has linked various schemes with NBA to provide incentives and awards for the achievements. Under the Maharishi Valmiki Sampooran Swachta Purskar scheme a provision of Rs. 1.48 crore as prize money has been made annually on State, District, Sub Division and Block level for cleanest Gram Panchayats. School Sanitation Scheme for cleanest schools has also been announced under which the prizes are being distributed at district and block level. Similarly, Mahaila Mandal Protsahan Yojna has been implemented to encourage the Mahila Mandals in sanitation activities. Nirmal Gram Purskar are being provided at District level.

The State Government had identified 477 panchayats of the State for providing solid and liquid management system in the first phase and all 3243 panchayats of the State would be covered under the system in a phased manner. Awareness programmes are being organized on regular bases to the village level, so as to make the people aware about the benefit of cleanliness. The Government has made adequate provision of funds under the Information Education and Communication programme.

Swatch Bharat Mission

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.