While MPs and MLAs are already adopting villages to make them free of open defecation as part of the state government’s Swachh Maharashtra Abhiyan, 19 officials from the state’s Urban Development Department (UDD) have now decided to adopt their native towns and villages.
The state government has set 2018 as the target year to rid the state of open defecation.
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“It is a small initiative started by the UDD where officials can probably go once or twice a month to their home towns and check the status and even help coordinate programmes under this initiative to give a boost to the mission,” said UDD secretary Manisha Mhaiskar on the initiative which will commence this month. “We have prepared a list of 19 officials, both senior and junior. We hope officials from other will also join this initiative later,” Mhaiskar said.
The Swachh Maharashtra Abhiyan is on the lines of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan started by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
UDD officials have been asked to monitor the progress of the cleanliness mission in the state and help arrange public awareness campaigns in different towns with the help of NGOs as well as donors under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme. “We are getting a good response from other departments as well as bureaucrats from other parts of the state. If each of us adopt a town, it will help in better implementation of the programme,” said an official from the UDD.
The state government has put in place a three-level process to certify a city or town as free of open defecation. First, the civic body concerned will certify itself, followed by the collector of that district and finally a validation committee comprising state government officials and NGOs to scrutinise the claim. The towns which achieve such status will be given extra financial help from the state government.