Saturday 21 May 2022
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Kerala is open defecation-free

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala today became the third State overall and the largest State so far to be declared Open Free (ODF) under the Mission (SBM) (Gramin). The declaration was formally made by Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan in a magnificent ceremony at the Central Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram.

With this, all 14 districts, 152 blocks, 940 gram s and 2,117 villages of the State have been declared free from open defecation. This freedom has been proven to lead to significant health benefits in terms of less incidences of water-borne diseases, especially in children, and provide and dignity for all, especially women and senior citizens. Kerala, with a rural population of approximately 3.5 crores, is also the largest State so far to have achieved the ODF Status, after Sikkim (~6 lakhs) and Himachal Pradesh (~70 lakhs).

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister emphasized the importance of behaviour change communication in the efforts made by the State to achieve the ODF status. He also underscored the need to sustain this status now that it has been achieved through a continued focus on sanitation.

State Minister for Local Self Government, of Minorities, WAKF and Haj Pilgrimage KT Jaleel spoke about the importance of effective solid and liquid management to truly create a and Kerala.

In his welcome address on the occasion, Chief Secretary SM Vijayanand emphasized the role of local governance in sustaining the ODF status of the State and to focus on solid and liquid management in the next phase of efforts.

Secretary, Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Parameswaran Iyer, in his address, lauded the State government’s focused efforts on sanitation and congratulated the State on this landmark achievement. He assured that the Centre will continue supporting the State’s efforts towards creating a and Swachh Kerala in the next phase as well, as they continue their efforts to sustain ODF and focus on solid and liquid management.

Kerala’s Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, Minister for Revenue E Chandrasekharan, Minister for Water Resources Mathew T Thomas, Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.

Vijayan also distributed awards to and felicitated district collectors and other government officials who had been instrumental in bringing about this landmark achievement for the State.

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