Odisha's own cleanliness scheme

The Odisha government on Saturday announced its own scheme named "Swachha Gram, Sustha Gram (Clean Village, Healthy Village)" to promote cleanliness at the village level by banning open-defecation and manual scavenging.

By Subhashish Mohanty
  • Published 26.08.18
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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Saturday announced its own scheme named "Swachha Gram, Sustha Gram (Clean Village, Healthy Village)" to promote cleanliness at the village level by banning open-defecation and manual scavenging.

Individual villages, panchayats and blocks would be awarded as part of the scheme.

Announcing the scheme while interacting with more than 1.5 lakh villagers of 10 districts through video conferencing, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik stressed on making the state open-defecation free by using toilets at rural pockets.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi who said "Cleanliness is next to Godliness", Naveen urged the villagers to keep the rural environment clean.

"Only if we make the environment clean, we will be able to keep diseases at bay. The campaign should be made a movement," he said.

However, the Odisha government is yet to make an announcement on the prize money that would be given to the village under the scheme.

"The modalities are yet to be worked out. It would be announced shortly. The focus is to keep the environment clean and the chief minister stressed on the use of toilets," said an official.

The state government now provides funds to the tune of Rs 12,000 a toilet from the Centre's Swachha Bharat scheme to below-poverty-line beneficiaries to construct toilets.

"While the Centre is bearing 60 per cent of the cost, the rest is borne by the state government. We have already built 46 lakh toilets. We aim to build another 32 lakh toilets," said an official. "When the Swachh Bharat scheme was launched in 2014, the percentage of coverage of toilet was only 12 per cent in the state. This has now increased to 62 per cent. We are still far behind when compared to the national figures."

The latest development is being seen as a tactical move by the Naveen Patnaik government to woo the rural electorate. The chief minister is directly communicating with the people under his pet programme "Ama Gaon, Ama Vikash (our village, our development) Yojana" bypassing the elected public representatives of the Opposition parties.

Under the Ama Gaon, Ama Bikash scheme, Naveen on Saturday sanctioned Rs 49.69 crore for different projects 10 blocks of nine districts.

"So far, Naveen has already talked to the people of 3,717 gram panchayats of 165 blocks and sanctioned Rs 843.65 crore for 34,112 projects," said a state issued by the chief minister's office. The state government has provided Rs 1,278 crore in this year's budget for this programme that was launched on March 5.