Taking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India’ campaign to another level, two villages in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra?Pradesh have declared themselves free of ‘open defecation’.
In the 33rd edition of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’, the Prime Minister heaped praises on the two villages for taking initiatives to make themselves free of open defecation, setting an example for others under the ‘Swachh Bharat’ movement.
He mentioned how villagers in a small district of Bijnour in Uttar Pradesh on their own returned Rs 17.5 lakh to the government sanctioned to construct toilets.
“I am surprised and at the same time happy to see the way people of Mubarakpur, a small muslim village in Uttar Pradesh, have made their village ODF (Open Defecation Free). Though they got the government aid of Rs 17 lakh to construct toilets, they returned it,” said Modi.
Modi also appreciated the villagers of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh where they had set a record by setting up 10,000 toilets in 100 hours in 71 villages.
“Recently I came across a wonderful incident. This happened in the Vizianagaram district where its administration undertook a huge task with people’s participation. From 6 a.m. on March 10, till 10 a.m. of March 14, the administration and the people together constructed 10,000 toilets in hundred hours successfully, making 71 villages ODF,” said Modi.
Praising the people, Modi said that these were very inspiring examples.
Five Indian states have been declared ODF, the latest ones being Uttrakhand and Haryana. In total, over two lakh villages and 147 districts have been declared ODF across the country.
The Swachh Bharat campaign was officially launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is the country’s largest ever cleanliness drive with 3 million government employees, and especially school and college students from all parts of India, participating in the campaign.
The objectives of Swachh Bharat are to reduce or eliminate open defecation through the construction of individual, cluster and community toilets.
The government aims to achieve an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, by constructing 12 million toilets in rural India.