Prime Minister Narendra Modi will declare India open defecation-free (ODF) on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2 October. The prime minister will make the declaration in the presence of over 20,000 village heads at a function at the Sabarmati Riverfront here during his visit to Gujarat, Deputy Chief Minister of the state Nitin Patel said on Wednesday. These village heads (sarpanches) would include around 10,000 from Gujarat and another 10,000 from across India, he said.
Dignitaries from across the world are expected to attend the mega event to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, said Patel.
“2 October will be celebrated as Swachh Bharat Diwas across India. Our Prime Minister will visit Gujarat on that day and declare the entire country ODF in the presence over 20,000 sarpanches, including around 10,000 other states,” Patel told reporters in Gandhinagar.
“To spread the message of cleanliness to the masses, dignitaries from across the world have been invited to attend the event to be held at the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad on 2 October,” the BJP leader said.
People associated with Gandhian institutions, high court judges, Padma awardees, students, educationists and village-level sanitation workers have also been invited for the function, said Patel. He said the 10,000 sarpanches coming from other states would be taken to different places associated with the Father of the Nation such as Dandi Memorial and Mahatma Mandir.
The village heads will also visit the Statue of Unity built in dedication to Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Narmada district, the deputy chief minister said.
On 5 March, it was found that, in rural India, more than 93% of households had toilet facilities and 96.5% used them. This was a finding from a survey conducted by the Union government. The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey 2018-19 had found 90.7% of villages to be ODF. These villages were declared by various districts and states as ODF. This survey was done by an independent verification agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.