The Swachh Bharat Mission, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi two years ago and aims to build a cleaner India, has had some impact on the residents of our country as this incident indicates. Roshan Malick (58), a resident of Burdwan, has written a letter to the Katwa II block development officer (BDO), apologising on behalf of his son who was caught by a watch team of the BDO while he was defecating in a field on the morning of December 3.
Shibasis Sarkar, the BDO of Katwa II block, admitted that he has received the letter and said he has cautioned Roshan’s son, Shahjahan (28), who was caught in the act by the BDO’s men. He has also tried to make Shahjahan understand why this was a bad practice and why hygiene is important.
“My watch team caught Shahjahan defecating in a field. Later, his father, Roshan, wrote a letter to me apologising on his son’s behalf. I was stunned as this was the first time I received such a letter since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission/Abhiyan,” Shibasis Sarkar told HT.
Modi launched Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014, saying a clean India was the best tribute the nation could pay Mahatma Gandhi ahead of his 150th birth anniversary in 2019. The aim of the programme is to end open defecation by educating people and laying stress on cleanliness and sanitation.
Under this programme, the Union government is aiming to construct 12 million toilets across rural India.
In Bengal, the state government introduced its own version of Swachh Bharat, Mission Nirmal Bangla. The aim of this programme is to reduce the occurrence of water borne and fecal-borne diseases owing to the prevalence of open defecation.
“There are many people in rural areas, who despite having toilets in their houses, prefer to defecate in the open. This is a common practice and we are trying to make them understand why this is not healthy. Shahjahan confessed to us that despite having a toilet in his home, he never uses it,” the BDO said.
In 2015, Nadia was declared as the first open defecation-free district in the country. The district has bagged the United Nations Public Service Award.