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For sanitation’s sake,UNICEF joins hands with state govt

With an estimated 3.5 million families in Bengal having no access to proper sanitation facilities,UNICEF and state government have taken a joint intitative to help create more sanitation facilities.

Written by Shiv Sahay Singh | Kolkata |
December 8, 2010 6:08:17 am

With an estimated 3.5 million families in Bengal having no access to proper sanitation facilities,UNICEF and state government have taken a joint intitative to help create more sanitation facilities.

Panchayat functionaries from all across the state on Tuesday took the pledge to provide cent per cent toilet facilities in their respective gram panchayats.

According to UNICEF,about 44 percent of population in Bengal still defaectes in open,thereby posing a huge risk to the water-borne diseases like diarrohea,cholera and polio.

While districts like Burdwan,Howrah and Hooghly have 90 per cent households that have toilets,in Purulia,North Dinajpur and Malda the number of families having toilet is abysmally low — 22 ,31 and 52 per cent respectively.

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“There is also the problem of people having toilets but not using them. Despite having toilet facilities,some family members still have the habit of defecating in open,” said UNICEF official Shyamnarayan Dave.

“It is not only economic aspect that determines the toilet coverage and proper sanitation facilities but a number of socio cultural factors and the motivation of gram panchayat that helps in sanitation cover,” said Chandan Sengupta,Chairman,Total Sanitation Campaign — a Task Force set up by the state government. Sengupta said the target is to make West Bengal Nimral Rajya by 2012 and extending the sanitation facility to all families.

According to him,the campaign has made a lot of impact among panchayat functionaries and cites the example of Nandigram block II which was the first to have 100 per cent sanitation cover despite residents of the area not being economically well off.

The representatives of UNICEF stressed on four factors during the seven-day campaign that began on December 1. They were spotting the practice of defeacating in open,proper disposal of child excreta,proper wash habit and using toilets by all family members in case the toilets are available.

Villagers too rhyme in
A rhyme written by an ICDS worker proved to be a useful tool in convincing many villagers to construct toilets at their home. Sarojini Sarkar’s rhyme is said to have resulted in 100 per cent sanitation coverage in Taterkuthi village of Mahishkuchi-2 gram panchayat in Cooch Behar. The rhymes made such an impact that the villagers,who are mostly tribals,decided to build toilets. “Our motto was to make the children remember and recite rhymes in front of their parents so they can understand and realise the necessity of sanitation facility,” said Sarkar.

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