The State of Himachal Pradesh was today declared Open Defecation Free (ODF), making it the second State in the country (after Sikkim) to achieve the feat. The State government made the declaration today at a public event in Shimla, where the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Virbhadra Singh, felicitated the respective District Administrators and Local Administrators for successfully achieving this significant milestone. The Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, and the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, Shri JP Nadda, were also present on the occasion.
With this, Himachal Pradesh has successfully achieved a total rural sanitation coverage of 100% in the State, with all 12 out of 12 districts in the State being both, declared as well as verified, as ODF.
Speaking at the occasion Chief Minister, Shri Virbhadra Singh, said that he was very happy and proud that his State was the first large State in the country to have achieved this milestone. He said that the State of Himachal Pradesh would be very happy to share lessons that they have learnt in this journey with other States to help realize the vision of a Swachh Bharat.
Addressing the gathering, the Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, said that Himachal Pradesh would not have been able to lay claim to this landmark achievement if making sanitation a priority had not become a jan aandolan, a people’s movement, in the State.
He said that he was very confident that it was thanks to the people of Himachal Pradesh that not only had the State achieved the ODF Status, but would be able to sustain it in the future as well.
The Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, Shri JP Nadda, in his address, said that as Himachal Pradesh was also his home State, this was an occasion that brought double joy to him. He also spoke about the close relationship between access to sanitation and good health for rural India. He said that the two Union Ministries will work closely together to achieve convergence in the pursuit of a Swachh and healthy India.
Shri Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Shri Vidya Chander Pharka, Chief Secretary, Himachal Pradesh and other State dignitaries were also present on the occasion.