The Inspiring Story of How Sikkim Became India’s Cleanest State | Source: The Better India, Oct 4 2016 |
In this small north-eastern state, people have a sense of pride that their home state is India’s first open-defecation free state.
This record was reiterated in the recently conducted Swachhta (cleanliness) survey undertaken by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) on the condition of sanitation in Indian states. According to the report, all four of Sikkim’s districts rank among top ten districts in cleanliness and sanitation. About 98.2% households in Sikkim are equipped with clean toilets and 100% of the state’s population use the community or household toilet.
Sikkim began its cleanliness drive over a decade before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission. It was 13 years ago in 2003 when the Pawan Chamling-led government launched its total sanitation campaign for the state.
The state government began by sensitizing people to adopt a holistic approach that would improve hygiene and sanitation, protect the environment and accelerate overall development in the state. Next, it constructed 98,043 household latrines, surpassing its own target of 87,014. Of these, 61,493 latrines were built for below poverty line (BPL) families.
There was also a conscious effort to install public filters for drinking water, build more public toilets and introduce a better drainage system in the major cities like Gangtok and Namchi.
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