Hailakandi: Hailakandi and Golaghat are the only towns certified as Open Defecation Free (ODF) plus towns under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban) as per a recent survey by Government of India. According to the survey, of the 1,301 certified ODF plus towns and cities, Hailakandi and Golaghat towns have been incorporated in the list.
A slew of initiatives have been taken by the district administration in association with Hailakandi Municipal Board such as plastic free and cleanliness drives, barefoot cleanliness drive by DC and officers themselves, plastic fishing to clean the river Dholeswari, painting of DC campus against single plastic use, creation of plastic banks. On Sundays leading citizens join hands with the district administration in cleaning trash. The district administration has banned single use plastic last year.
Hailakandi district had been declared ODF in 2018 with construction of more than 80,000 individual household latrines under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli congratulated the officials and employees of the Hailakandi Municipal Board for their efforts in making Hailakandi town ODF plus. “Hailakandi town becoming ODF plus has been made possible due to the teamwork and coordination among the officials of the district administration and Hailakandi Municipal Board,” Jalli said.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s guidelines, prepared by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) state that after a village or town or district has secured the ODF status, efforts must be made to work towards transitioning the village/town/ district into an ODF plus one. The MDWS defines ODF plus as an area where along with regular availability and usage of toilets, management of solid and liquid waste, cleanliness of water resources, maintenance of public and household toilets and awareness on personal hygiene are at their highest. The Ministry, on several occasions has said that ODF plus is not just a label, but a sustained campaign to achieve all-round cleanliness in an area.
The Central Government has approved the second phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural), focussing on sustainability of ‘Open Defecation Free’ (ODF) programme and management of solid and liquid waste. The second phase, billed as ODF Plus, will be implemented between 2020-21 and 2024-25 with a total outlay of over Rs 1.4 lakh crore.