Thursday, August 28, 2014

Subedi represents Sikkim at national conference of Ministers in-charge of sanitation

GANGTOK, 27 Aug: In the context of the declaration of the Government of India’s Mission to achieve Swachh Bharat by 2019, targeted to coincide with the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation scheduled a National Conference of state ministers in-charge of sanitation on 25 August at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
As per a press release, RMDD Minister, SB Subedi attended the conference which was chaired by the Union Minister of Rural Development, Drinking Water & Sanitation & Panchayati Raj, Nitin Gadkari.
The key challenges deliberated upon in the meeting was that there is a strong need to change the mindset of the people as about 590 million persons in rural areas defecate in the open in India. The mindset change would be possible by triggering behaviour change in a vast section of rural population regarding need to use toilets by means of interpersonal communication through students, teachers, doctors, ASHA & Anganwadi workers, block coordinators etc.
Water availability in toilets in schools, households, anganwadis, community toilets, etc and absence of dedicated manpower in programme implementation at the field level were pointed out as major challenges in the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.
It was suggested that manpower should be strengthened by engaging sanitation motivators at the GP level.
Convergence with departments such as Health, HRDD and Social Justice is also recommended for achieving the mission. States were also asked to involve corporates and national PSUs through the Corporate Social Responsibility for accelerating the pace of the swachhata campaign, the release mentions.
The Union Minister called for a practical approach to achieve the goal of sanitation for all by 2019, adding that the current allocation of Rs10,000 per toilet in rural areas is insufficient and soon the amount will be increased to achieve the real target. Lamenting that even after 67 years of Independence, 60% people in India defecate in open, Mr Gadkari said that the dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build Swachh Bharat by 2019 will be executed in a mission mode.
He also emphasized that massive funds will be mobilized for this purpose under the leadership of the Prime Minister. He called for quality works so that toilets could last upto thirty to forty years and laid emphasis on suitable low cost technology for that purpose.
The conference was also attended by Secretary, RM&DD accompanied by Chief Engineer, Joint Secretary & Deputy Secretary (NBA). During the daylong deliberations, it was suggested in the context of Sikkim that an area-specific approach must be adopted for sanitation and garbage management since the hilly states are faced with topographical and altitudinal challenges. It was also opined that in order to accelerate the sanitation pace, it is very important for the functionaries in- charge of sanitation to be role models, to “practise what one preaches” and “be the change that one wants to see”.

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