The West Singhbhum administration has come up with a unique way to check open defecation in the district. Taking a leaf out of 2006’s blockbuster Lage Raho Munna Bhai, the administration has decided to give a hearty floral public welcome to anyone who relieves themselves outside.
West Singhbhum deputy commissioner Dr Shantanu Kumar Agrahari mooted this novel move to the block development officers during a review of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan in the district to discourage open defecators.
The BDOs have been asked to patrol their jurisdictions in the wee hours of the morning with an entourage of their video camera-wielding staff and film open defecators for their identification and felicitation. The films, however, will not be made public.
The BDOs have been on their toes since the August 30 meet, and are busy taking measures for rolling out the Gandhigiri drive.
“I have called a meeting of educated and influential persons of my block this evening to engage them in making people understand the urgency and hygienic necessity of the move,” Sonua BDO Pravesh Kumar Sao said. He said he has instructed his staffers to be ready for the campaign, which could be launched soon.
The BDO also said that he had set the target to make the block of 18 panchayats open defecation free (ODF) by the fiscal end.
The other officers are equally charged up.
“We have decided to hold a ratri chaupal (night public session) with villagers to educate them and have planned a Swacch Sabera programme to make villagers use public toilets or use the one in their homes. We are also flagging off mike-fitted carts in the villages to disseminate the cleanliness message,” Amren Dang of Noamundi said.
The West Singhbhum administration is not the first to come up with an innovative way to check open defecation. The Ramgarh administration has suggested that doctors in the district advise their patients to build toilets in their houses on their prescriptions, while in Khunti, municipality staff and officers set off early morning to four major ponds in town, blowing whistles and cautioning people to desist from defecating in the open.
Meanwhile, the state government, in order to promote the sanitation drive, has set targets for district administrations to help villagers build toilets in order to make panchayats, blocks and districts open defecation free. The government is offering Rs 12,000 to the villagers for building toilets, irrespective of their financial status.