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Singlijan Tea Estate becomes first open defecation-free tea estate

Tea Estate

Sentinel Digital Desk

From our Staff Correspondent

Dibrugarh, Nov 3 : Singlijan Tea Estate under Lahowal Development Block in Dibrugarh district has been identified as the first open defecation-free tea estate under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The announcement was made jointly by the mager of the Singlijan Tea Estate, Tridip Mahanta and chairperson of Timo Gaon Panchayat Reeta Ekka at a meeting held at the community hall of the tea estate on Monday.

As honoured guest, the Deputy Commissioner, MS Manivann, lauded Timo Gram Panchyat and garden magement in general and large populace of the tea estate for achieving the rare status of first open defecation-free tea estate. He further hoped that other tea estates of the district should get inspired by Singlijan and try hard to make the process a grand success in their respective tea estates in the district. Former Minister and MLA of Lahowal LAC, Prithivi Majhi and Vice-Chancellor of DU, Dr Alak Kumar Buragohain in their respective speeches as chief guests, emphasized on massive awareness programme for achieving such status among the mass people at different places in the district. The meeting kicked off following formal iuguration of 1-km human chain.

With a population of 1500, 147 household toilets have been constructed under Swachh Bharat Mission. The Deputy Commissioner said water samples of 320 numbers of drinking sources were tested and have been disinfected. Garden magement also constructed 125 platforms around hand pumps. Not only have this, to make the habit of practicing cleanliness, segregated waste disposal through separate dustbins has been kept. Another three tea gardens in Dibrugarh district are also on the verge of getting open defecation free tag.

Three gaon panchayats, IKoratoli ( Lahowal Block), Ouphulia ( Tingkhong Block) and Khowang GP (Khowang Block) are about to be declared as open defecation free GPs before November 15. The district administration and the PHE Department are working hard to make the district an open defecation-free district.

It is felt that construction of toilets alone will not make the mission complete. There needs to be an attitude of change among the masses. Awareness programmes through inter-persol communications and other IEC activities are being carried out with the help of Wash Cell of UNICEF in the district. Availability of trained and quality masons, material chain magement, logistics support, and man power mobilization are the major challenges faced in this field.

This year, the fistrict has taken target of completing 31,200 individual household latrines under SBM (Gramin) this year. Total APL households not having toilets as per Base Line survery conducted by the PHE dept is 90,754. Last year 8,253 IHHLs were constructed. This year around 9,000 toilets were completed. Restare in progress.

The real challenge is the tea garden where most of the households do not have sanitary latrines where the garden magement is supposed to provide the sanitary latrines to all permanent employees as per Plantation Labour Act. In many of the cases it did not happen and hence open defecation is rampant in many garden areas .To address the sanitation issues, series of meetings are being held with the garden magements. Some of the garden magements came forward and Singlijan is one among the first to come forward and to be declared as an ODF garden.

The meeting was attended by, amongst others, general secretary, Assam Branch of Tea Association (ABITA) Sanjib Ghosh, Senior Mager, Sanjeet Chaliha, and magers of nearby tea estates and local people.

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