Clean tag for Singlijan

Singlijan Tea Estate in Upper Assam's Dibrugarh district has become the first tea estate in Assam to achieve "open defecation-free" status under Swachh Bharat Mission.

By AVIK CHAKRABORTY in Dibrugarh
  • Published 30.10.15
  •  

Dibrugarh, Oct. 29: Singlijan Tea Estate in Upper Assam's Dibrugarh district has become the first tea estate in Assam to achieve "open defecation-free" status under Swachh Bharat Mission.

Open defecation is rampant in the tea estates of Assam.

Dibrugarh deputy commissioner M.S. Manivannan told The Telegraph that a formal announcement would be made on November 2, 2015. He said Timona gram panchayat and the garden management gave the status to the tea garden.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, 147 toilets have been constructed for 1,500 people who work in the garden and water samples from 320 drinking water sources have been tested. The management of the garden has also constructed platforms around 125 hand pumps.

To cultivate the habit of keeping the surroundings clean, separate dustbins have been kept to segregate waste. Three other tea gardens in the district are also about to get the open defecation-free tag.

Manivannan said three gram panchayats - Ikoratoli (Lahowal block), Ouphulia (Tingkhong block) and Khowang (Khowang block) - would be declared open defecation-free gram panchayats before November 15.

The district administration and the public health engineering department are working hard to make the district an open defecation-free district.

Manivannan said he felt that construction of toilets alone would not make the mission complete and added that there is a need to change the attitude of the masses on the issue.

This year, the district administration has set a target of constructing 31,200 individual household latrines under Swachh Bharat Mission.

So far, around 9,000 toilets have been constructed this year in the district.

"The real challenge is the tea garden where most of the households do not have latrines. According to the Plantation Labour Act, the garden managements are supposed to provide latrines to all permanent employees. But this has not happened and hence open defecation is rampant in the gardens,'' said Manivannan.