Swachh Bharat Mission
In order to ensure sanitation facilities in rural areas, with the broader goal to eradicate the practice of open defecation, a comprehensive programme called Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has been undertaken to cover all households with water and sanitation facilities and promote hygiene behaviour for overall improvement of health and sanitation in rural areas.
Under the SBM (G) programmer, Cooch Behar has so far constructed 44,683 Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) but 3,15,670 IHHLs still need to be constructed before Cooch Behar can be declared a Nirmal District. In order to achieve this target by 2017, as declared by the Hon’ble Chief Minister, the District Administration along with the Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad is undertaking a massive awareness campaign to promote SBM(G).
Under the leadership of the District Magistrate, the focus of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) will be to ensure that the toilets are not only built but also PUT TO USE. This entails creating a paradigm shift in the attitudes and behaviour of the people. This behavioural change in society will sought to be addressed through an intensive IEC campaign highlighting the dangers of open defecation, the hidden costs associated with it and the benefits of observing hygienic and sanitary practices. For this purpose a special 7-Member Cell headed by the Addl. Executive Officer, has been constituted at the Zilla Parishad to oversee and coordinate all SBM (G) matters. While the District administration, all PRI functionaries, from ZP to GP level and Line Departments will be involved in this IEC campaign, the main thrust will be provided by the women headed Self Help Groups, AWW, ASHA karmis and ANMs. They will be the main foot-soldiers in the campaign to bring about a behavioural change in society, such that the IHHLs are not only built but also put to use. Rural Sanitary Marts have been assigned to each Block and have been given fixed monthly targets in order to achieve the goal of “Nirmal Cooch Behar”. Any eligible beneficiary can avail a modern sanitary latrine worth .10,900/- by contributing a nominal sum of .900/- by contacting the local Mart, PRI functionaries or Block Administration.
To facilitate the NIRMAL COOCH BEHAR ABHIYAN, the District Magistrate convened a meeting with all district level Line Departments on the 20th October 2014 to explore ideas as to how they could be incorporated into the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) programme. This was followed by a meeting on 21st October 2014, with all PRI functionaries including Hon’ble M-in-C, Forest Department, MP, MLAs, Savapatis and GP Pradhans to sensitize them about the mission, and to discuss how they could facilitate and provide leadership to the programme.
As part of the “Nirmal Cooch Behar” programme, the Cooch Behar District Administration and Zilla Parishad organized a week long-programme from the 27th October to 1st November 2014. The programme on the 27th October, at Harinchowra Footbal Ground, Cooch Behar was inaugurated by Sri Binay Kumar Barman, Hon’ble MIC, Forest Department, Government of WB. Sri Rabindranath Ghosh, MLA, Smt Renuka Sinha, MP, Smt Pushpita Roy Dakua, Sabhadipati were the other Distinguished Guests at the programme. Simultaneously similar programmes are also being held at the SDO, BDO and Gram Panchayat levels. Alongside normal campaign materials like Hoardings, Banners, Posters, Leaflets and stickers, innovative IEC materials like Bhawaiya and Baul songs, Street Dramas, Puppet shows and magic shows will be used to spread awareness and educate the people. Quiz competitions, Sit and Draw and Slogan Writing competitions will be organized at every level. Human and Cycle rallies, Human Chains, Marathons, Football/Cricket matches etc. will also be organized at every level. To supplement these messages, the AWW, ASHA karmis and ANMs will conduct door to door campaigns to spread awareness and the need to build and use toilets. SMS messages were also sent to the people through the BSNL network.
The “Raas Mela” is the most important event in the socio-cultural calendar of Cooch Behar. Taking this into consideration, SBM-G Cell prepared an intensive IEC campaign centred around the Raas Mela. The stall at the mela was inaugurated by the Sabhadipati and the District Magistrate. Everyday 100 SHG members were administered the Sanitation Pledge, after which they circulated the mela distributing leaflets and calendars to the public. One constraint of the mela premises was the absence of washroom facilities, so the SBM-G cell constructed sanitary toilets and urinals for the general public. This was appreciated by one and all.
As some RSMs are not performing as per expectations, the District Magistrate has taken and initiative to involve SHG Clusters / Federation as RSMs. Towards this end training material is being prepared and the SHG member will be trained to function as production units and masons.
The District Magistrate and the Sabhadipati appeals to all the people of Cooch Behar to join hands and work together to make our district “Nirmal” and fulfill Meena’s three wishes :
- My Toilet
- My Health
- My Dignity.