Reasi (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Sept. 19 (ANI
): Mari panchayat
and Kashmir's Reasi district has become the first gram panchayat in the area to be declared open defecation-free (ODF).
The panchayat has accomplished this task by ensuring toilets in every household and the ODF campaign was part of the government's Swacch Bharat Mission.
"Defecating in the open is injurious to health, as many insects, snakes and earth worms can cause bites," said Reasi's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Maheshwar Singh.
"Through indiscriminate defecation, it causes flies to enter our homes and sit on the food that we eat, causing us health problems like diarrhea, dysentery, and others," Dr. Singh added.
A survey was conducted as part of the ODF campaign, in which they found that 180 families in the panchayat did not have toilets.
A scheme was envisaged to build toilets for all families and each toilet was built at a cost of Rs. 12000.
"According to a baseline survey, there were 224 households in total and we have covered all," said Panchayat Secretary Mamta Bali.
"The people, who are government employees, had already toilets constructed inside their homes. The deputy commissioner of the area himself held five to six meetings to spread awareness about the positive aspects of having toilets constructed inside the houses," she added.
Expressing her happiness, Bali said, "We have finally achieved our target and today we are ODF."
The administration has set the target of December 2016 to cover the whole district under ODF. (ANI