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Govt steps up sanitation drive in Tarai districts

Posted 4 January, 07:41 pm

SURESH YADAV

JANAKPUR, Jan 3: When it comes to cleanliness and hygiene, the Tarai districts have little to boast of. Out of the 72 VDCs, five municipalities and one sub-metropolitan city in Dhanusha district, only two VDCs have been declared open defecation-free (ODF)\ so far. Only one VDC in Mahottari and none in Sarlahi has attained that status.

Against this background, the Ministry of Urban Development has launched a campaign to promote hygiene and cleanliness in nine Tarai districts. The government expects to make at least 10 VDCs in Dhanusa, 18 in Mahottari and 15 in Sarlahi open defecation-free in 2015.

According to Urban Development Minister Narayan Khadka, the stakeholders have been mobilized in the nine districts of Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa. “I am putting in every effort to speed up the cleanliness campaign”, said Khadka, who was in Dhanusa district last week to inaugurate the cleanliness drive. On Sunday he was in Kushaha, Saptari district to promote the campaign. Next day, he met the residents of Bardia and encouraged them to keep their surroundings clean.

Meanwhile, during a workshop organized by the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS), Director General of the Department Rambrisha Shah stressed the need to improve the image of a historic city like Janakpur. Stating that the uniqueness of Janakpur is easily overshadowed by the dirt and filth in the surroundings, he said. “We should feel ashamed of ourselves if we do not make enough effort to show what Janakpur really stands for.” Pointing out that proper sanitation is long overdue in the city, he said, “We have to take care of its rich culture and heritage.”

It is not that Janakpur has never seen any cleanliness drive before. However, the lack of consistency in these endeavours did not help. According to Shah, people in Janakpur do not mind offering money to temples and deities, but due to lack of awareness, they are less concerned about health and hygiene.

“We spend lots of money building temples and shrines, but how wise are we to ignore sanitation in our midst?” he said.

President Ram Baran Yadav in 2011 announced a master plan for cleanliness aimed at making Nepal as a whole open defecation-free, informed Shah.

Source: Republica, Jan 3 2015