Sixty-eight villages from total six blocks of the district have been declared ‘Nirmal Gram’ under the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) for 2011-12.
The campaign is an incentive scheme of the Centre named Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP). A ‘Nirmal Gram’ is an open defecation-free village where all houses, schools and anganwadis have toilets and people have awareness on the importance of maintaining personal and community hygiene and clean environment.
The villages having a population of less than 1,000 persons will be awarded Rs 50,000, while those with more than 1,000 persons will get Rs 1 lakh. The population criterion has been based on the Census 2001. Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), which receive the incentive amount, can use it for improving and maintaining sanitation facilities in their respective areas.
A total of 108 villages from the six blocks of Yamunanagar district were in the fray for the award, but 68 made the cut. Five villages from the Radaur block; six from Sadhaura; nine from Jagadhari; 14 from Mustafabad; 15 from Bilaspur; and 19 from Chachrauli have been declared as ‘Nirmal Gram’.
In 2011-12, the district leads with maximum number of villages getting the award. The TSC is a comprehensive programme to ensure sanitation facilities in rural areas with an aim to eradicate the practice of open defecation.
To add vigour to the TSC, in October 2003, the Centre initiated an incentive scheme — Nirmal Gram Puraskar. The award is given to those open defecation-free Nirmal Gram panchayats, blocks, and districts that have become fully sanitised.
The first Nirmal Gram Puraskar was awarded in 2005. Starting from then till 2011-12, 27 villages from Yamunanagar’s Bilaspur block; 29 from Chachrauli, 30 from Jagadhari; 49 from Mustafabad; 37 from Radaur; and 20 from Sadhaura have been declared ‘Nirmal Gram’.
Additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Geeta Bharti, “It is a challenging task to persuade people to maintain personal and community hygiene. Moreover, it is even more difficult to maintain sanitation in a village that has already been declared ‘Nirmal Gram’. To ensure that villages maintain sanitation, we keep visiting the villages and keep motivating people time and again.”