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Nadia Gets UN Public Service Award For Initiatives Against Open Defecation

2015-05-08 23:50


An UN official speaking at a programme in Krishnanagar on 'Sabar Souchagar' project. Picture by ABHI GHOSH

Krishnanagar, May 7: As recognition to its endeavor to develop an environment free of open defecation, the Nadia district administration, has been announced as the winner of this year’s United Nations Public Services Award. According to the announcement which was made on Thursday Nadia has been selected in the category of ‘improving delivery of public services’ for its initiatives against ‘open defecation’ under ‘Sabar Souchagar’ (toilet for all) programme.

Announcing the award, the UN award committee said "your institution’s outstanding achievement has demonstrated excellence in serving the public interest”

The award will be handed over by United Nations Secretary-General on June 23 in Medellin city of Republic of Colombia. A delegation of Nadia administration led by District magistrate Dr. P.B.Salim would be there to receive the award, which carries a citation.

Suzanne Coates, chief of water, sanitation, hygiene of UNICEF’s India chapter told “Nadia has done a great job. This is an incredible achievement. Sanitation is an important part of life, it also involves with dignity of a person, and poor sanitation leads to poor public health and largely affects health of children”

The United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) is the most prestigious international recognition in public services. The award is conferred for the excellence in community movement with an objective to transform a backward area

Nadia is the only district from India which represented in the category and bagged the award after close battle with about one hundred nominations from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has congratulated Nadia district magistrate Dr. P.B.Salim for the landmark achievement.

In last week the chief minister In presence of the secretary of centre’s department of drinking water and sanitation, formally announced the Nadia district as the first open defecation free district in the country based on a report of the Centre since the launching of Swach Bharat programme.

Nadia DM P.B.Salim said: “This is great success. I am thankful to my team of administrative officials and the people in the district for responding to my initiative. I am thankful to the state government for allowing carrying on the programme. Without the help of them all, it would not be possible to make Nadia free of open defecation in a record time since launching of the Swachch Bharat mission”.

Nadia earned the accolades for making toilets for all under the “Sabar Shouchagar” programme. Work in regard to making the district free from open defecation was initiated in October, 2013.

The Nadia project began in 2013 and had spent around Rs 400 crore to build 3,55,609 toilets in the district under its flagship programme ‘Sabar Souchagar’, by clubbing funds of three projects Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan , MG NREGA and National Rural Livelihood Mission, which no other district could do

“We have taken all available funds under several central schemes and started building toilets. In just 18 months we had built toilets in 3.5 lakh toilets and over 200 cluster toilets in public places,” said P B Salim.

When the project was started, 33.8 per cent of the people in the district openly defecated. This figure is now down to 0.02 per cent.

“We conducted a survey which revealed that only 66 per cent people were using toilets at their houses two years ago. But, now the habit has largely changed as around 99.8 per cent of people use toilets,” added Salim.

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