In a significant achievement under Swachh Bharat Mission, four Urban Local Bodies of Jammu division namely Lakhanpur, Vijaypur, Doda and Thathri were simultaneously declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) towns.According to Ms Sushma Chauhan, Director, Urban Local Bodies Jammu, the declaration was made officially by Quality Council of India (QCI), after its rigorous audit process, which spanned across 3 continuous days at all municipalities. She said with this achievement, these 4 towns also became the first in Jammu Province to achieve ODF status.According to Ms Chauhan, declaration of ODF status for any city is important not only from achieving an important objective of Swachh Bharat Mission but it is also a glaring testimony of the changing behavior of citizens of these places, with improved sanitation being accepted as one of important facets of life.She said it was a team effort and the Executive Officers of these four Municipal Committees, which have achieved ODF have played a significant role and displayed required leadership skills to pass through the tough ODF certification process of QCI. The preliminary stage was set for this target by focused implementation of construction target of Community Toilets /Public Toilets (CT/PT) and Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) in all 36 ULBs under Directorate of Urban Local Bodies Jammu. The strategy kicked off with formulation of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Strategy, which was essential for information dissemination and motivating people about ODF, she said.
She further said that in order to achieve ODF status for remaining ULBs, of Jammu Province, a departmental resource team has been constituted comprising of Tariq Balwan, CEO- Doda MC, Sanjay Sharma of Thathri MC, DalipAbrol of Vijaypur MC, Ravinder Singh of Lakhanpur MC for guiding and helping other ULBs to achieve ODF Status. This team shall be fully supported by Ravinder Sharma from DULB HO. Necessary technical guidance shall be provided from Dr Bharat Bhushan, State Solid Waste cum Sanitation Expert of IPE Global AMRUT PDMC team.It is pertinent to mention that so far, only two cities -Leh and Srinagar have been conferred by ODF status.Director Urban Local Bodies Jammu, further informed that this ODF certification is valid only for 6 months and these ULBs shall be again audited for recertification in Nov 2018. So, Sustenance of ODF status shall be a big challenge for these ULBs in coming days.Felicitating the Urban Local Bodies Jammu for the landmark achievement, Minister for Housing & Urban Development (HUDD), Satpaul Sharma said it’s indeed a proud moment for the entire state as this achievement shall help the state to improve its ranking considerably in the next year’s Swachh Sarvekshan.Financial Commissioner H&UDD, K B Agarwal, said it is a landmark achievement, as these towns are located in high perineal migration and tourist influx zones of state, with high occurrences of open defecation. “It was a real challenge for all local administrative staff and DULB team to not only provide access to better sanitation facilities to all denizens, but also motivate them to use these facilities,” he said.