Haryana was on 22 June 2017 declared as the 5th Open Defecation Free (ODF) state of India under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G). On the same day itself, Uttarakhand was decalred as the 4th state to be open defecation free.
The declaration was made by Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Narendra Singh Tomar during a Swachh Bharat Programme organized in ONGC, Dehradun.
With this, Haryana and Uttarakhand join the league of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, which were the first three states to be declared as Open Defecation Free.
Haryana has 21 districts, 124 blocks, and 6083 gram panchayats and all of them declared themselves as ODF in formal declarations in Chandigarh.
How Haryana achieved the ODF status?
According to a survey, out of the total 30.24 lakh rural households in Haryana, 7.3 lakh households were without toilets in 2012. However, today, 100 per cent coverage of the toilets has been achieved in rural areas with the construction of more than 7.51 lakh toilets. This involved a lot of uphill struggle:
•Around 51000 toilets were constructed as a result of a condition set by the Haryana government that those wishing to contest elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions must have functional toilets in their homes.
•Under the Swachh Bharat Mission (rural), a community-led sanitation approach along with a cluster-based human resource framework was adopted with the technical assistance of the World Bank.
•Each district conducted a three-four month intensive campaign for constructing toilets led by the Deputy Commissioners and other officials.
•Several teams were constituted from the district level to the village level consisting of government officials, NGOs, youth and representatives of panchayati raj institutions.
•Nigrani samitis were constituted at the village level to keep constant vigil on open defecation in the villages.
•Moreover, the state government announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to every panchayat that achieves ODF status.
Nationally, the sanitation coverage has increased from 42 per cent to over 64 per cent in just two and a half years since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission in October 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Following the tremendous progress being made in ODF declaration across the country, the next step for Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin will be to focus on sustaining this ODF status and systematic solid and liquid waste management in rural India.
With the total number of ODF States now rising to 5, more than 2 Lakh villages and 147 districts have also been declared ODF across the country. The mission is aimed at achieving 100 per cent open defecation free status across the country by the year 2019.