NEW DELHI: A grand ceremony has been planned on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, to celebrate India becoming Open Defecation Free (ODF).
The mega event is expected to be organised on the banks of the Sabarmati River in Gujarat in which the government will showcase the achievements under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
Sources said apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, dignitaries from other countries will also witness the event in Gujarat.
The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on October 2, 2014, in the country. Construction of toilets in rural and urban areas of the country to make India open defecation free (ODF) was the main component of the mission. The target was to make the India ODF by October 2019. Most states have already been declared ODF in recent months.
Nearly 9.97 crore toilets have been constructed under the SBM Gramin and 5.89 lakh villages have already been declared ODF. Similarly, nearly 58.46 lakh individual toilets and 4.99 public toilets have been constructed under SBM urban.
Officials said the government considers this mission as one of the most ambitious projects which have been successfully implemented. There is also a perception that construction of toilets in poor families, under the mission, has helped the BJP win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Officials said SBM is close to PM Narendra Modi’s heart and he has mentioned this and appealed to the people to maintain cleanliness in several Mann ki Baat programmes. Besides, the PM has also asked BJP MPs to walk 150 km in their respective constituencies to mark the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth.
Under the SBM programme, the government provides support to states to supplement their efforts to improve overall cleanliness in villages and issues guidelines and advisories for implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the programme.