In a bid to make Punjab Open defecation-free (ODF), the officials are leaving no stones unturned.
Over 10,000 toilets were constructed on the first day of a mass construction campaign in Gurudaspur to bring alive Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a ‘Swachh’ India by 2nd October 2019.
Going beyond achieving the ODF status, the state of Punjab is also eyeing to promote itself as the “cleanest and healthiest state in the country”, as quoted by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh. He has previously announced a series of projects for the holistic development of infrastructure in the border areas of Pathankot and Gurudaspur, on the onset of Independence Day.
With a motto to deliver what was promised, Gurudaspur officials have launched a mass construction project to make the district ODF by 21st December 2017. As per the blueprint, the campaign is being implemented in 4 days with a target to build 10,000 toilets per day.
The campaign that began on November 6th was a massive success. The total number of toilets built exceeded the target with a figure that reached beyond 10,000. Campaign Superintendent Engineer of Gurudaspur, Mr Jatinder Singh Saini called it “one of a kind’. He also emphasised on the excellent outcome as a symbol of the success of the Swachh Bharat awareness programmes undertaken in the district. “We are sure to achieve target given to us much before the deadline”, he said.
With the entire workforce moving unabatedly towards achieving the target in the mass construction drive, reaching ODF status is now everyone’s objective in the district.
Against The Odds
Bringing this change was not easy, considering the mindset of the people regarding of open defecation and the locational disadvantages. Since Gurudaspur is situated at the northern-most part of the state, plans of developing infrastructure were always faced with the sheer unavailability of resources.
To curb these challenges, the administration worked hard to promote awareness among its people through various camps and programmes. Collaborating with the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation, Nigrani Committees and Mahila Mohallas, the government carried out community activities. They organised Swachhta Rath, street paintings, street dramas and shows to the emphasis on the ill effects of defecating in the open.
Women’s self-help groups played a major part in highlighting the issues of safety, honour, and hygiene to promote Swachh Bharat Mission among the ladies. Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Tripti Rajinder Singh Bajwa appealed to the people to support the government’s campaign to make the state free from open defecation.
Hard Work And Willpower Pay Off
With education, awareness and incentives on construction and usage of toilets, the district has completed 71.4% sanitation coverage in the 1122 Gram Panchayats in its 11 blocks. The same was a mere 39.8% as per the records in October 2014.
With a whopping 11,000 toilets built on the first day, officials are eyeing a total of 45,000 to 47,000 by 27th November – the final day of the campaign.
Source: SBM Gramin