In one-of-its-kind achievement, 10,000 toilets were built in ten days in Abahanpur development block of Chhattisgarh’s Raipur district under the Swachh Bharat Mission. Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani today took part in ‘Swachhta hi Sewa’ programmes in Kendri (Abhanpur development block) and Mandir Hasaud (Arang development block) villages of the district. “Perhaps during my entire political life, I am seeing it for the first time that 10,000 toilets were constructed in only 10 days in a block,” the minister said while addressing the people in Kendri, located around 25 kms from here. She also congratulated local public representatives, officials and people for the achievement.
The work to construct toilets in 10,000 households in villages of Abhanpur block was started on September 7. As per the officials, the entire block, which houses 91 gram panchayats, will be declared open defecation free (ODF) by next month. The union minister further said that clean India would be the best tribute people could pay to Mahatma Gandhi. “Mahatma Gandhiji used to say India’s soul lives in villages. To keep the soul of the country clean and pure, I would like to thank chief minister Raman Singh today that this Swachhta campaign was held in Kendri village,” she added.
Indeed this is a unique initiative this government (at the Centre) has undertaken that on one side we talk about technology and promoting Digital India while at the other end we appeal to people to pay attention towards cleanliness, she said. “The intention behind this is just to make aware people towards cleanliness. If we look towards health, diarrhoea has been killing around 1 lakh children every year in the country and to deal with the disease doctors primarily suggest to mothers to maintain sanitation to keep their kids and family healthy,” she added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort to provide toilets to every household in the country (by 2019) and so far 2.36 lakh villages have been declared open defecation free (ODF), she added. Similarly, the PM had promised from Red Fort to ensure separate toilets for girls students in all government schools of the country in one year, she said. “Being a woman, today I feel proud that 4 lakh toilets were built for girls in government schools as a result of which their enrollment has increased by 15-20 per cent,” she said.
On the occasion, Irani inaugurated smart gram panchayat, smart anganwadi centre and smart school in a same premise in the village. There, the union minister also did shramdan (voluntary work) for the construction work of a toilet. Later, the union minister took part in ‘Swachhta hi Sewa’ programme in Mandir Hasaud village.
Hailing the contribution of women in sanitation drive, Irani said, “I bow my head before all my sisters who wake up early at 4 in the morning and do patrolling in their villages while blowing whistle to stop open defecation and keep their surrounding clean. “I bow my head to those daughters who ask to check for toilets facility at in-law house before marriage. The dedication of women for Swachhta indicates that the day will soon come when the entire country will become ODF.”
She further listed out achievements under various schemes of the Centre, including Jan Dhan yojna, Ujjwala yojna and swasthya bima. India has witnessed a leader who from a public platform had said that for every rupee sent from Delhi, only 10 paise reached to villages…Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been saying from past three years that poor people of the country have first right on every single penny of the government treasury, she said. “Jan Dhan scheme was launched to help poor to open bank accounts so that benefits of various schemes could be directly transferred to their accounts. 30 crore jan dhan accounts were opened in the country,” she added.
During the programme, Chief Minister Raman Singh said that Chhattisgarh would become an ODF state by October 2 next year. “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has become a ‘Jan Andolan’ receiving tremendous support from people. Over 14,000 villages and 8,000 gram panchayats have become ODF in the state,” he said. The state would become ODF completely by October 2, 2018 and the prime minister will be invited for the declaration, he added. The union minister also laid the foundation stone of development works to the tune of Rs 102 crore at Mandir Hasaud and also dedicated some public projects completed at a cost of Rs 44 crore in the area.