On 24th April, 2017, close to 700 Panchs and Sarpanches from the districts of Raipur, Durg, Dhamtari, Balodabazar, Rajnandgaon and Gariyaband in Chhattisgarh signed an oath indicating that they would strive to make their gram panchayats (GP) open defecation free (ODF).
They signed the ODF pact, undertaking to bring swachhata meaning sanitation to their villages on a large board measuring 16X8 feet that was specially erected for the purpose, according to Purusottam Panda, State Consultant (SBM-G Chhattisgarh)
The event was a part of the Panchayati Raj Divas, organized by the Department of Panchayat and Rural Development on the National Panchayati Raj Day that saw a unique assembly of near about 10,000 people – most of them members of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
On the occasion, the Panchayat Department had asked for stalls to be put up on the grounds to represent each of their schemes. In this connection, a Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) stall was set up to generate awareness on Swachhata which included the oath taking campaign.
A highlight of the event was the felicitation of 20 Swachhta warriors from different districts for their outstanding contribution to the work of SBM-G. More than 50% of the awardees were women and they were honoured for their role in making their villages ODF and for sustaining that status. Hon’ble Speaker Vidhan Sabha and Hon’ble Minister RD presented the warriors with a gift and certificate.
Speaking on the occasion, Sarpanch from Dhamtari District, Ms. Kunti Sahu appreciated the move saying that it was a solemn step towards making their families and villages ODF. Reiterating her determination to make her GP ODF, she said, “I will replicate this process in our villages so that we can have an ODF community that will sustain the status.”
On the other hand, Sumit Kumar Sahu, Panch of Panchayat Dodka , Block Dhamda, in Durg District said that each time he signs in any paper he will remember the oath taken at this event. “Signing on the board is like passing a law. We will ensure that 100% Swachhata is there in all aspects of human life.”
Currently toilet coverage in Raipur is about 60.53%. Around 52 thousand toilets are yet to be built. The target to make the district ODF is by October 2017.