RAIPUR :Raksha Bandhan and Teej festivals will be observed differently in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh this year. The administration is embarking on an initiative to link cultural festivities with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan campaign.This year, men will be encouraged to gift their sisters and wives a symbol of sanitation—a toilet at home.“Safeguard your sister and wife against filthiness, diseases and stares,” appeals the Raigarh district administration to the masses.
A mega draw is slated and the winners will be rewarded. To be eligible for the reward, those who have gifted the toilets must get themselves registered at the Janpad Panchayats in their respective localities. Three photographs have to be submitted during the registration, including that of the initial situation, of construction in progress and finally of a functional toilet.A nodal officer from the Janpad Panchayat will visit the residences of those who registered, to directly verify the toilets and ensure they are operational.
“Just gifting a toilet is not enough, they should be usable too. The idea is to bring about a behavioural change regarding the use of toilets, which should pave the way for creation of an open defecation-free (ODF) district,” Raigarh Collector Shammi Abidi told The Sunday Standard.The challenge before the administration of Raigarh, also termed the cultural centre of Chhattisgarh, is to break the old habit of open defecation. The initiative has been worked out to change the mindset.
“We have tried to link social celebrations to sanitation. We are optimistic. The responses have already begun to pour in,” Abidi said.
Surjit Soni, a resident of Kharsiya,who has already constructed a toilet for his sister, said, “The initiative gives a sense of self-respect and pride to my sister.”Jhanak Lal, a labourer with the steel industry, revealed that his wife was joyous with the ‘gift’. “An open defecation-free surrounding provides due health benefits and a certain dignity to life,” he opined. A toll free number has also been launched for registration. The drive is focused on removing blocks that hamper the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s (Rural) fight on open defecation.