Written byRajashree Seal ·
Six more districts in West Bengal are likely to be declared open defecation free (ODF) by the end of March this year, an official said.
Howrah, Paschim Medinipur, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Malda, and Dakshin Dinajpur districts are likely to be declared 'Nirmal Zila' or ODF by March 31, said the senior official at the state Panchayat and Rural Development department.
Of the 23 districts in WB, the Centre had already announced eight districts as ODF.
The official said, "We have set a deadline of March 31 for completing the construction works for individual household latrines (IHHLs) in these six districts."
"Construction works are almost over in Howrah and Malda districts. In the other four districts, we are hopeful in achieving the target," he added.
A district is certified ODF only after representatives from the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation conduct a review there to check whether all the households have IHHLs and give their nod.
"For Howrah and Malda, we are waiting for the representatives from the ministry to conduct a review. Once it is completed we will announce them as 'Nirmal Zila'," the officer said.
So far eight districts - Nadia, Hooghly, Purba Medinipur, Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, and CoochBehar in West Bengal are declared as ODF.
Nadia was the first district in the country to be acknowledged as ODF.
"In 2017-18, over nine lakh IHHLs were constructed and by next October we are targeting to completing 53 lakh more," the official said.
According to the official, funds from the Centre, meant for this project, were not "fully coming to the state".
He said, "The state government is spending much for the project and that is why we are not using the name Swachh Bharat Mission," he said.
So far, around Rs. 1,200 crore has been spent in the state for the scheme, he added.
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