After Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh, Kerala labelled Open Defecation Free(ODF) state today. For the event, which will take place at the Central Stadium on Today evening, the Suchitwa Mission, the state nodal agency of the ODF campaign, has made elaborate arrangements.
The preparations for the function are in its final stage. Minister of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar will be the chief guest while Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will officially declare the state as ODF. The three-month long exercise was carried out by Suchitwa Mission as part of the Centre’s Swachch Bharat Abhiyan campaign.
In the function, civic officials who gave their full support in achieving this status will be felicitated. A magic show by magician Gopinath Muthukad has also been arranged. When contacted, Amir Shah, the programme officer, Suchitwa Mission, he said, “Though Kerala is the third Open Defecation Free state, it is the first high density populated state in the country to achieve this recognition.”
“It was not an easy task for us to achieve this status since we faced many challenges. In coastal and tribal areas, we had to rely on the local NGOs to educate them to built a toilet of their own. We gave each family a sum of Rs 15,400 to construct a toilet. In fact, the exercise has been a success to a great extent. In fact, the state achieved this status only after each panchayat in the 14 districts were declared ODF at various intervals. At the event, the beneficiaries of Thiruvananthapuram district will be felicitated by the government,” Shah said.
On Monday, Local Self Government Minister K T Jaleel said that the state implemented the Centre’s ODF direction in three months. “All city areas will become ODF by January 1. A majority of the municipalities have already achieved the target,” he said.