Given that the religious festival of Makar-Sankranti is considered a time for peace and prosperity, when people observe various practices to purify body and soul, the district administration of Varanasi has decided to link the occasion to the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
As every year, the festival will be observed across the country on 14th January, 2018.
“The District Sanitation Committee (DSC) has decided to construct record 1100 toilets in a single day to provide a boost to toilet construction and speed up the process,” Chief Development Officer (CDO), Sunil Verma said.
For the toilet construction activity, a total of 7 villages from Arajiline Block which had larger targets have been deliberated selected with a view to boosting them. They include Marui with a target of (112), Jalalpur (463), Basant Patti (300), Kallipur (545), Harsospur (1408), Benipur (1970) and Birbhanpur (1245). While some of the toilets in these villages have already been partly or fully constructed, others will be constructed on 14th January. Significantly, Basant Patti, Jalalpur and Kalipur will be declared ODF at the end of the day.
Earlier, a meeting was held in Arajiline Block to prepare for the event. It was attended by Anganwadi and ANM workers, Block development officials, Block Pramukhs, Pradhans of 7 Villages, members of Yuvak Mangal Dal along with officers such as PD-DRDA, DPRO, BDO, ADO Panchayat and Secretary. Thereafter, all related arrangements commenced.
Other plans for that festive day include a Sankranti-Swachhata Mela which will be organised at village Jalalpur during which as many as 51 villages (including Basant Patti, Jalalpur and Kalipur) will be declared open defecation free (ODF). In recognition of their efforts, they will also be provided with a memento. Also, those who helped in construction of 25 toilets or more will be given financial incentives. Another highlight of the event is a kite fight competition wherein all kites flown will be laced with SBM slogans.
To cater to the communities gathered there, khichadi (a preparation of rice and lentils) will be prepared for about 500 people. Finally, a Gaurav Yatra (Walk of Pride) will be carried out in all villages that have been declared ODF, the CDO said.
Varanasi is likely to be declared ODF by 31st March. Of the total target of 2.03 lakh toilets that needed to be constructed, a balance of approximately 61,000 toilets remains. The Makar-Sankranti event will provide a much needed boost to the sanitation campaign.