In a bid to appreciate the hard work of Sarpanchs who have made their gram panchayats open defecation free (ODF) and to motivate them further in their efforts towards the Swachh Bharat Mission campaign, the Deputy Commissioner of Mewat District in Haryana, Mani Ram Sharma has invited as many as 120 Sarpanchs for lunch on January 11, 2017.
“The lunch will be held along with the delegation from USA who will be visiting Mewat to study innovative activities of the district as a part of the Clean India Campaign,” the Deputy Commissioner (DC) said.
The US delegation comprising 16 students and 4 professors from Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio) is a regular feature each year as they visit New Delhi, Agra and Mewat as a part of their Bharat Darshan. This year, over a 10 day programme during January 2017, their last stop is Mewat to meet with Swachhta workers at the grassroot level.
The purpose of the meeting between the Sarpanchs and the US delegation led by Mr. Tej Kumar Pareek is twofold – we want to show the hard work that even a backward district like Mewat is doing towards the Clean India Campaign; and at the same time motivate our Sarpanchs and appreciate their efforts, the DC said.
Mewat according to him is one of the most backwards districts in Haryana with average literacy as low as 54.08 per cent, the main occupation being agriculture and agro based activities. “The biggest challenge was to change the mindset of the communities. It has been very difficult to convince them about the ill-effects of open defecation and to construct and use toilets,” he said.
The district comprises of 317 panchayats in total of which 120 panchayats are currently ODF with passing of resolution by the Gram Panchayats. Implementation of the SBM campaign began with a survey conducted in June, 2016 to identify households without toilets. It revealed that as many as 103624 households were without toilets. Thereafter the administration came out with a strategy to make the district ODF district; and CLTS training was provided to all Sarpanchs and cluster officers. While Nigrani Committees were formed in all the GPs of the district, Swatchhta Rath was also flagged off by DC for dissemination of the scheme.
Remarkably, local NGOs as well as industries were involved in the campaign. With the help of those industries hoardings were placed at every GP’s entrance gate under CSR activity. In addition, caps, t-shirts, whistles, torches were distributed to Nigrani Committees.
For effective implementation, the total area was divided into 70 clusters, each comprising of 3-4 gram Panchayats and the plan of action had 3 phases. During Phase 1, 94 Gram Panchayats were selected and declared ODF on November, 2016. During Phase 2 which comes to an end on December 31, 2016, about 120 GPs were ODF. As for the 3rd and final phase, all 317 panchayats will become ODF by March, 2017 as per the target.
Meanwhile, enforcement teams have been constituted in ODF declared GPs for follow-up both in the morning and evening and to begin ODF plus activities.
The DC has also held cluster meetings each Monday with 70 cluster officers to monitor work, receive feedback and to motivate them. The monthly meeting of all Sarpanchs has also kept the team motivated, enabling them to meet the targets.
This lunch meeting on January-11 will further motivate the team and help them complete the work during the last phase of the campaign. At the event, Mani Ram Sharma will award appreciation certificates to Sarpanchs and Cluster Officers of the 120 Gram Panchayats.