Arunachal officially open defecation free: GoAP

ITANAGAR, Dec 31: The state government on Sunday claimed that Arunachal Pradesh has become the second state in the Northeast (after Sikkim) to achieve open defecation free (ODF) status, with the declaration of Upper Subansiri, Siang, and Changlang districts as ‘officially ODF.’
The state government had cut short the national ODF target by one year and ten months ahead of the national target and set 31 December, 2017, as the final target to achieve ODF status in Arunachal Pradesh.
The national deadline is 2 October, 2019.
The project, undertaken under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), was carried through after the state government provided an additional incentive of Rs 8000 per toilet, in addition to the state’s matching share and the support given by the Centre, raising the cost to Rs 20,000.
“The Herculean task has been made possible with the support of the union Drinking Water & Sanitation ministry, constant monitoring by the PHE & WS department and other stakeholders,” Chief Minister Pema Khandu said.
Pema said he was “overwhelmed” to find people participating in construction of toilets even in remote villages along the international borders, like Vijoynagar, Taksing, and Pipsorang, despite communication bottlenecks, requiring strenuous trekking for days together, carrying construction materials and ration as head load.
A visibly happy PHE & WS Minister, Bamang Felix, said, “We have finally won the battle and liberated ourselves from the open defecation menace. The tiring and rigorous fight against open defecation was a Herculean task but not impossible.”
He extended gratitude to all the legislators, deputy commissioners, NGOS, panchayat members, youths, and the stakeholders who contributed in their own ways to achieve the target.
He said the ODF status could not have been achieved without the sincere efforts of the department’s officials.
“The battle is not complete yet,” Felix cautioned; “the way ahead is more treacherous and challenging. We have to maintain the status of an ODF state and not allow open defecation to raise its ugly head.”
Felix also lauded the department for inventing “toilet technology” which he said has been a massive success, especially in inaccessible areas.