Uttarakhand has become the fourth state to be open defecation free (ODF) in the country.
The same was declared by Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar during a Swachh Bharat Programme organized in ONGC, Dehradun on 22 June 2017.
Uttarakhand has achieved the status after Sikkim, which was the first state to be declared open defecation free and then Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, both of which were declared ODF free in the latter half of 2016. The state has achieved the feat after undertaking a major cleanliness drive.
Three more states-Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat are also expected to follow suit on the effort in this financial year.
Speaking on the occasion, Prakash Pant, a senior Minister in the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly stated that until March 2017, only seven districts in the state were ODF. Haridwar, Paudi and Dehradun became ODF on 31 May.
He also stated that a large number of toilets had been built in the state since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power. The government was contemplating over physical verification of all personal domestic toilets built after 2 October 2014 when the project was kicked off by the central government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to give Uttarakhand an ODF certificate in July 2017.