The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that the State will be declared as open defecation free (ODF) by Gandhi Jayanti this year. This will mean that the State will become ODF one year before the national timeline of October 2nd, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.The announcement was made at a public ceremony at Bhopal, which was also attended by Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sushri Uma Bharti, State Ministers, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri ParameswaranIyer, and other senior officials.Addressing more than 5000 people who came from various parts of the State, the Chief Minister also spoke about how the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has become a jan andolan – a people’s movement – in the State. He went on to emphasize the role of people’s participation in making a sanitation movement like this successful, and said that he looked forward to the continued support of the people of the State in achieving as well as sustaining ODF status in the State.In her address to the gathering, the Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sushri Uma Bharti shared that the national sanitation coverage has risen to over 83%, a more than double increase from the baseline coverage of 39% at the time of the launch of the Mission in October,2014.
She underlined that Swachh Bharat is ultimately a movement for the people, by the people and of the people and that is what has made it a true jan andolan.She shared that over 3.7 lakh villages, 383 districts and 17 States/UTs of the country have already been declared ODF, and stressed upon the need to also start focusing on ODF-plus activities as well. To this end, the GOBAR-dhan scheme was also launched in Madhya Pradesh at the event.Announced in the Union budget this year, the scheme aims at positively impacting village cleanliness and generating wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste. The first among such projects in Madhya Pradesh will be implemented in Kodsa village in Narsingpur District and Chiruli village in Gwalior District.Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri ParameswaranIyerlauded the role played by Swachhagrahis, the foot soldiers of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) in the progress made across the country. He called upon them to keep behavior change at the focal point of their activities at the grassroots and sustain their efforts even after the State is declared ODF. Swachhagrahis, people’s representatives and grassroots officials associated with the implementation of Swachh Bharat in the State were also felicitated along with the launch. These State level awards were given for the exemplary work done in the areas of toilet construction, geo-tagging, conversion of dysfunctional toilets, behaviour change and sustainability.