Union Government’s ambitious Swachh Bharat mission was not a government programme but a “Jan Andolan” (Mass movement) as proved by Jharkhand, Union Secretary (Drinking Water and Sanitation), Parameswaran Iyer said on Saturday. While the previous governments had focussed on toilet constructions rather than its utilization, the ‘Swachh Bharat’ Mission is not a toilet construction drive but a behaviour changing campaign launched in the country, he said in Jamshedpur.
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Parameswaran Iyer was addressing a state-level Convention on Cleanliness, organized by Drinking Water and Sanitation department at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur. Iyer appreciated the high-level initiatives undertaken by Jharkhand under the leadership of Chief Minister Raghubar Das.
The sanitation coverage in Jharkhand, which was recorded at 30 per cent when the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on October2, 2014, reached 45 per cent figure now. This feat was achieved within a short span due to the strong leadership as well as participation of people including elected members of rural body, the top union official said.
As far as the Sanitation coverage of the country was concerned, Iyer said it has increased to 58 per cent on Saturday from 42 per cent in October, 2014. A 16 per cent growth within a short span on this front was really appreciable, he admitted adding that altogether 65 districts and 1.25 lakh villages in the country has already become Open Defecation-free (ODF) so far.
Later, talking to newsmen Iyer said the government has targeted to made 150 districts across the country ODF by end of this fiscal. Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Iyre said he had visited almost all the states in the country but he did not witness such a massive Convention on Cleanliness as organized in Jharkhand On Saturday.
Jharkhand government has been working on high-level to become ODF by 2018 and if it was achieved by December 2018, it will be great achievement for the state, he said. Apart from ODF, he said Jharkhand has also developed some good model on Solid and Liqid waste management, which would help the state to achieve the target.