Nadia, which was declared as the first “open defecation free” district in country, has won the United Nations Public Service Award 2015 in the category of improving delivery of public services, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday.
While Hooghly and Burdwan districts have bagged the second and third positions, Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan also features in the top 10 list of open defecation free districts. In all, 187 countries were in running for the award.
Nadia has earned praise for making available toilets for all under the programme “Sabar Shouchagar”. Work in regard to making the district free from open defecation was initiated in October, 2013.
“It is a matter of pride that our Nadia district has been declared as the First Place Winner for the 2015 United Nations Public Service Award. Nadia won the award in the category
of ‘Improving the Delivery of Public Services’ for the initiative ‘Sabar Shouchagar’,” she tweeted.
Nadia has become the winner of this global award from our entire country through a tough competition with multiple entries from 187 countries,” Mamata added.
The award will be handed over by United Nations Secretary-General on June 23 in Medellin, Republic of Colombia.
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Mamata said: “While in the entire country, there is much fanfare about sanitation and the Swachh Bharat Mission, West Bengal silently and with determination, through its Mission Nirmal Bangla, has again demonstrated that it can and is delivering the development goals for the last four years.”
The Nadia project began in 2013 and around Rs 400 crore was spent to build toilets in 3,55,609 households in the district. “We have taken all available funds under several central schemes and started building toilets. In one-and-half-years, we had built toilets in 3.5 lakh households and over 200 cluster toilets in public places,” said Nadia District Magistrate P B Selim.
When the project was started, 33.8 per cent of the people in the district openly defecated. This figure is now down to 0.02 per cent. “A survey conducted by us has revealed that only 66 per cent people used toilets at their houses two years ago. Now, 99.8 per cent people use toilets,” said Selim.