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Ordinary citizens went the extra mile to achieve target

In Madhya Pradesh’s Shekhpur village, the district administration claimed that in the past one year, the cleanliness improved the quality of life and decreased the outbreak of seasonal diseases.

Updated: Oct 03, 2019 02:58 IST

By HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times Bhopal/Dehradun/Lucknow

A homestay made of used plastic bottles in Hartola village in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Over 26,000 bottles were used to make the four-room homestay. (HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared rural India open defecation free (ODF) on Wednesday, but over the years, a number of villages have already the tag by taking up extra measures for the cause.

In Madhya Pradesh’s Shekhpur village, the district administration claimed that in the past one year, the cleanliness improved the quality of life and decreased the outbreak of seasonal diseases.

In this village, there are 735 toilets for an equal number of houses. The village was declared ODF in February 2018 but local residents didn’t stop here.

They turned the village into one of the cleanest villages of the state through management of cattle dung and proper disposal of garbage, said Kamal Singh Yadav, district coordinator of Swachh Bharat Mission.



“The village has at least 200 cows, buffaloes and goats. The village panchayat imposed a ban on dumping dung in public. The panchayat also helped them earmark a designated place for their cattle,” said Dev Kushan Tyagi, 60, the village chief.

Shekhpur is not the only one. A number of villages across India have shown initiative in joining the nationwide programme to build toilets and give people access to sanitation.

A small village tucked away in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, Kusauli has not only got itself free from open defecation practices in June, 2017, it made efforts to cover drains and use vermi compositing for making manure out of organic waste that was generated from its households.

For these efforts in sanitation and making the village open defecation free, the village has been felicitated many times. Local residents said the village was awarded the Rajya Swachhata Gaurav Samman in 2017 and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran award in 2019 for their efforts and focus on sanitation.

“Our village was one of the first villages to be declared ODF”, said Raghubir Singh, former village chief.

In Uttar Pradesh, a small village near the state capital of Lucknow, Mujasa, wore a colourful look this Gandhi Jayanti. October 2, 2019 marked the third anniversary of the village being declared ODF.

Villagers said the day was special for them. “It’s not just Gandhi Jayanti for us, it’s the third anniversary of a new era. Hence we have painted the walls in yellow colour, with all anti-open defecation free slogans on it,” said Mohammed Miyan, the village head of Mujasa.

Mujasa, a success story now, saw its transformation in October 2016, when efforts to make it an ODF village first began under Swachh Bharat Mission, which the Panchayati Raj department launched with the help of an international non-governmental organisation, WaterAid India and city-based organisation Vatsalya.

Apart from the combined efforts by the government and the villagers, there have been a few cases where an individual has taken the initiative in making their village ODF.

This was seen in Uttar Pradesh’s Bihrojpur, located in Azamgarh district. Here 36-year-old Poonam Singh, who was passionate about hygiene and sanitation, facilitated the construction of 985 toilets and helped make three villages ODF.

“I wanted to make a difference to my community, hence I decided to create awareness among the people on the importance of using toilets,” she told HT.

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