New Delhi: Villages across the banks of River Ganga were declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) under Namami Gange initiative on Saturday.
The declaration was made by Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar at the Ganga Gram Sammelan held at Allahabad's Naini.
The venture includes as many as 4480 villages in 52 districts and five states namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
Union Minister for Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharati in collaboration with Tomar later launched model Ganga Gram initiative which identifies 24 Namami Gange villages to make them Adarsh Ganga Grams.
Ganga Gram is a joint initiative of MDWS and MoWR, as per a PIB press release. The Gram Pradhans of these villages were administered oath for achieving the goal of Adarsh Ganga Gram by Bharati.
According to the release, the Ganga Gram initiative would focus on better cleanliness and infrastructure facilities like Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM), rejuvenation of ponds and water sources, water conservation projects, organic farming, crematorium and overall convergence with other government departments and projects.
Bharti while addressing said that a major step has been taken in the direction of cleaning the holy river Ganga by putting the required framework in place.
While speaking on the occasion, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reiterated the commitment to make the entire Uttar Pradesh state ODF by December 2018 and stressed that SBM is among the top priority programs in the state.
Tomar highlighted the progress made under Swachh Bharat Mission. He said that the country has made fast and remarkable progress with sanitation coverage increasing to around 66.5% with 2.25 lakh villages and 169 districts becoming ODF. He said that the country is well placed to achieve the target of becoming ODF by 2nd October 2019.
Reportedly, the Sammelan was also attended by the Deputy CM of UP, Shri Keshav Prasad Maurya, State Minister- Panchayati Raj, senior officials from MDWS, MoWR, state officials, Gram Pradhans of Ganga Gram Villages and more than 1500 village representatives and swachhagrahi.
The program ended with flagging off 30 Swachhta Raths by Adityanath, Bharti and Tomar. The Raths are mobile vans equipped with LED panels for screening Swachhta Films and also a Nukkad Natak Team for community engagement in villages.
As reported by PIB, the Raths would tour the entire state and create mass awareness and would help in triggering behaviour change among the community members. In this week about 300 Raths in may states will tour thousands of villages to disseminate message of swachhta.