Maharastra’s new campaign against open defecation, Darwaza Band, was launched on Tuesday at the Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium. Part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the campaign is aimed at eradicating open defecation across the state.
Speaking at the event, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that 11 of Maharashtra’s 36 districts had been declared free of open defecation since the Swachh Bharat Campaign kicked off. In that period, he said, 40.51 lakh toilets were constructed in the state, out of which 21,17,670 were constructed in the past one year.
The event also had superstar Amitabh Bachchan, the brand ambassador for Swachh Bharat, in attendance.
Fadnavis stated that cleanliness across the state had increased by more than 35 per cent in the past three years. “Even though Maharashtra is home to 10 percent of India’s population, Maharashtra’s gram panchayats make up for 18 per cent of the total open-defecation-free panchayats in the country,” said Fadnavis.
“I have gone to many districts myself, especially the ones that are left behind. These districts are our main focus, and we hope that by 2018, all of them are categorised as open-defecation free”, said Fadnavis.
As many as 200 out of 250 cities in Maharashtra have been declared open defecation free, the CM said. “We hope that by October 2, 2017, we will be able to announce urban Maharashtra an open-defecation-free zone. Following that, in March 2018, we hope the entire state can claim the title, making it the largest state to do so,” said Fadnavis.
“In every district or taluka that I go, I may not inspect the roads but I inspect the toilets, in order to point out the importance of sanitation. I hope the toilets built recently are utilised by all members of the family, and are duly maintained,” said Fadnavis.