With 2008 being marked as the International Year of Sanitation, the Himachal government has adopted a demand driven, people centric approach to mobilize communities and generate awareness for sanitation by involving all stakeholders for achieving the target of being a open defecation free state by 2010.
The government has marked Rs 101.42 crore for the total sanitation program to be implemented throughout the state and has set a target of achieving the ‘Nirmal Himachal’ status by the year 2010, an official spokesman stated.
He disclosed that of the over 3000 panchayats spread across the states 12 districts, many of which are in topographically difficult terrains, 632 panchayats had already been declared open defecation free.
Problems of increasing population, unplanned urbanization, pressures from increasing tourists inflows and migratory labor abound but to instill a spirit of competitiveness amongst Panchayats, the government has instituted a state reward scheme ‘Maharishi Balmiki Sampooran Swachhata Puruskkar.’
These awards are being given at four levels: one for the cleanest gram panchayat in each block gets as Rs 1 lakh award, cleanest panchayat in a district would be awarded a cash prize of Rs 3 lakhs, at the divisional level the prize would be Rs 5 lakh and the cleanest panchayat in the state gets a Rs 10 lakh prize. In larger districts there would be more than one prize for the cleanest panchayat in the district category, he said.
The program also targets to bring all the 11,333 schools and the 4485 Aaganbaris under the total sanitation program by creating the necessary sanitation infrastructure in these educational and day care institutions.
Other than cash prize incentives, the campaign entails highlighting the importance of sanitation and hygiene on the health of a community. An intensive advertisement campaign about achieving safe and hygienic practices in sanitation would be launched and workshops on solid waste management and its scientific disposition would be held, the spokesman said.