Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharati said that with the present rate of sanitation coverage in the state, Jharkhand will become open defecation free state on it’s upcoming foundation day - 15th November. She was speaking in Ganga Gram Swachchhata Sammelan at Rajmahal in Jharkhand . About ten thousand swachhagrahies, Ganga volunteers, youth organization members, students and people from all walks of the life, where majority participants were women, attended the sammelan.Ganga Gram is a concept to transform banks on the village of River Ganga into ideal villages with emphasis on ODF, Solid and Liquid Waste Management, Water Conservation, Ground Water Recharge, modern crematorium, tree plantation, organic and medicinal plant agriculture being the main components. After making all 4465 Ganga Bank villages ODF, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is working in this direction. In this regard, Uma Bharati stressed upon public participation as the key to make Ganga Bank villages ideal Ganga Grams. She urged people to participate in SLWM activities, not to litter around and pollute water sources, take care of their waste management to promote organic farming etc. Praising the efforts of Sahibganj district in ghat beautification and other cleanliness initiatives, she told the gathering that in past one year, in Ganga Bank revenue land more than 7.5 lakh trees were planted.
Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Parameswaran Iyer highlighted the societal and financial gains of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). He said that in rural India in past four years, sanitation coverage has gone up from a lowly 39 per cent to over 95 percent. Citing reports from organisations such as UNICEF and WHO, he said that an average family in an ODF villages saves Rs. 50,000 annually on it’s medical expenditure, and also that with such a growth SBM would have saved about 3 lakh lives by October 2019. Explaining the concept of Ganga Gram, he urged Panchayats and districts to focus on ODF sustainability and solid and liquid waste management. Underlining the role of Rani Mistries, he emphasized how SBM has led to women empowerment.Shri Anant Kumar Ojha, MLA from Rajmahal area and Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Jharkhand Aradhana Patnaik also spoke at the event.The Union Minister also laid foundation of Maskalaiyya Crematorium and ghat, Municipal Waste Water Project at Rajmahal. She also felicitated outstanding Rani Mistries and inaugurated Ganga Gram Exhibition besides visiting newly constructed Kanhaiyya Sthan ghat.