Varanasi, the holy city in Hindu Mythology, is famous for cleaning people off their sins with a dip in the river Ganges.
Now, as city officials gear up to achieve the prestigious open defecation-free (ODF) tag, not only the souls but also the lives of its people are going to be clean.
With a motto to revive sanitation and promote good health and hygiene, the district administration has aimed to achieve the ODF title by 31st December 2017. After PM Narendra Modi’s call for a ‘Swachh Bharat’ by 2nd October 2019 to duly commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday, the state officials are leaving no stones unturned to fulfil his ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ mission.
To facilitate toilet construction in every nook and corner of the main city and its rural peripherals, the Varanasi administration trained a whopping number of over 5000 masons. These masons are trained on twin pit toilet technology – a process consisting of two alternating pits connected to a pour flush toilet.
The administration has also registered these masons under the Labour Department scheme. They are insured with a 5 lakh cover and a pension plan of 1000 rupees. The premium is paid by the IEC fund of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Apart from financial security, training and other facilities, the feeling of being associated with the prestigious SBM scheme has boosted the spirits of the masons.
As a result, there is a massive surge in the speed of toilet construction. From 47 toilets per day, the figure has now reached the benchmark of 1100 toilets in a period of 4 months. This observation was shared by Mr Sunil Verma, Chief Development Officer.
The Way Ahead
With each mason taking about three days to complete the construction of a toilet, the district team at Varanasi is geared to achieve their target within the stipulated time. With over 1.1 lakh toilets already constructed, the officials are positive about achieving the ODF status by the end of this year.