Assam’s Hailakandi district is well on its way to becoming an Open Defecation Free (ODF) district. An official declaration to this effect is likely to take place on May 15.
Efforts seem to have been accelerated in the past two months, as Deputy Commissioner Adil Khan has stressed on the implementation of cleanliness efforts across the district.
On the eve of Hailakandi becoming open-defecation free, Khan continued his rounds of the district that often include surprise monitoring visits to villages to ascertain their open defecation free status.
Deputy Commissioner Adil Khan, who has laid much importance on usage of toilets stressing on ODF becoming a sustained habit and there is no slipping back to open defecation, even donated two toilets – one in his name and the other in his wife’s name.
“It is his dedication and focus towards the Swachh Bharat goals, and personal involvement in the entire awareness and monitoring process that makes a huge difference. Due to his attitude everyone involved in the campaign has developed a sense of team work and accountability,” said AN Choudhury, Executive Engineer, Public Health Engineering Department.
The Executive Engineer said that the targeted construction of IHHLs (Individual House Hold Latrines) has already been completed as per Base Line Survey 2012 and only final verification along with uploading of photographs is under way.
Under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), 84,614 low cost latrines have reportedly been constructed at the cost of Rs 13,000.
The district accounts for 62 gram panchayats under five development blocks.
The district which lies in the southern part of Assam, sharing inter-state border with Mizoram and inter-district border with Karimganj and Cachar districts has a population of 659,260 according to the 2011 Census.
Of the eight North Eastern states, only Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya hold the distinction of being open defecation free. While Arunachal attained the status towards the end of 2017, Sikkim earned the distinction of becoming the country’s first ODF state way back in December 2008, much before the hyped Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched in 2014.
The remaining North Eastern states are active in implementing objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Assam and Nagaland are targeting to become Open Defecation Free states this year.
In a bid to get the coveted tag of ODF state of India by the end of this year, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched a special campaign – ‘Mission Sambhav’ under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) on March 26 last. Through the initiative, more than 1 lakh toilets will be constructed in all 33 districts of the state covering around 219 blocks in a time bound manner.
As of now, six out of 33 districts in Assam have been declared Open Defecation Free along with 857 villages and 50 tea gardens covering 23 lakh households.