A regional review meeting of the North Eastern States was held in Guwahati, Assam on 14th November, 2018. The workshop comprised discussions on sustaining Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM), and rural water supply. Teams from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim joined the review
Key aspects of sustainability such as geo-tagging, verification of ODF villages, conversion of dysfunctional toilets, IEC expenditure, Swachhagrahi engagement were reviewed.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation emphasized the importance of the joint effort being made by the Central and State SBM teams towards sustaining gains made under the program so far. He spoke about the importance of continued focus on behavior change communication and periodic verifications to ensure that the safe sanitation habits and practices developed over the past few years are sustained in the future as well.
The teams from the ODF States of the region spoke about efforts to sustain their ODF status. Sikkim highlighted the solid and liquid waste management initiatives being undertaken in the first ODF State of the country.
Non-ODF States committed to declaring themselves as ODF by December 2018. Assam shared highlights of “Mission Sambhav”, under which more than one lakh pit digging activities were initiated on a single day during the Swachhata Hi Seva fortnight.
Shri Akshay Rout, Director General, Special Projects, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation pointed to the criticality of the sustainability phase of SBM and the necessity for the managers for regular monitoring.
A parallel session was held for the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) at the review meeting. Ms. V. Radha, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, spoke about the need to increase the coverage of household water supply connections by taking up community-managed, low cost schemes.
Other senior officials taking part in the review were Shri Hiranya Borah, Deputy Director General, Shri Samir Kumar, Joint Secretary, and Mission Directors from the participating States.
The Deputy Commissioners of Assam interacted with the central team through a video Conference. The review concluded with a media interaction with eminent media persons and media houses from across the North East.