Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have become the first States in the country with all cities and towns of these states declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) on October 2, marking two years of the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu declared all 110 cities and towns in the state as ODF at a programme in Tirupati. Andhra Pradesh has been in the forefront of construction of toilets in urban areas with a Mission target of construction of 1,94,336 individual household toilets in urban areas. In addition to the central assistance of Rs.4,000 per toilet, the State Government has been extending assistance of an additional Rs.11,000 per toilet, giving a boost to the programme.
In total, 405 cities and towns have so far been claimed to have become ODF along with 20,000 of the 82,000 urban wards in the country. Another 334 cities and towns would become ODF by March next year, the Ministry of Urban Development claimed. A Ministry spokesperson said that Maharashtra, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and other North-Eastern States are on course to declare all urban areas as ODF soon. Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday that Porbandar becoming one of the districts declared ODF on the occasion of the 147th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is an ‘interim gift to Mahatma; Swachh Bharat as final gift in 2019’.
In an address in a programme held in Tirupati, Mr. Naidu urged the people to become ‘Swachhagrahis’ to make the country free from poor hygiene in the spirit of ‘Satyagrahis’ who won political freedom for the country under the leadership of Gandhiji. He said that Rs.186 cr has been sanctioned for Andhra Pradesh for focusing on solid waste management in urban areas. A Postal Stamp on Swachha Bharat was released on Sunday by Mr. Naidu and Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha in New Delhi.