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Naxal-hit tribal block becomes open defecation-free in C’garh

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Raipur: The socio-economically backward, tribal dominated and Naxal-hit Ambagarh Chowki in Rajnandgaon district has set an example by becoming the first open defecation-free (ODF) development block in Chhattisgarh.

As many as 151 villages of 69 village panchayats of the development block, located around 150 kms from state capital Raipur and having a population of around 1.05 lakh, have quit the traditional practice of defecating in the open after constructing toilets at home.

“No one defecates in the open now in Ambagarh Chokwi area. Even if someone tries to do so, the vigilance committee set up at each village makes them aware about shunning the practice,” Rajnandgaon Collector Mukesh Bansal told PTI.

Not only is Ambagarh Chowki development block the first to become ODF, it is also leading among the Nagar Panchayats to achieve ‘no open defecation’, Bansal said.

This has become possible with the efforts of women self- help groups (SHGs), local communities and public representatives along with district administration under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).

Activities like wall painting and catchy posters also played a crucial role in propagating the messages under the campaign, the Collector said.

Ambagarh Chowki’s neighbouring block Chhuriya, which is also a tribal-dominated area, is also expected to achieve the target of ODF by the end of next month, he said.

According to statistics, nearly 500 villages under 200 village panchayats of Rajnandgaon district, the electoral region of state Chief Minister Raman Singh, have become ODF under the cleanliness drive campaign.

The entire state is swiftly heading to meet the ODF target under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, SBM’s state consultant Rupesh Rathore said.

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