Total sanitation campaign to achieve 'Nirmal Himachal'

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Shimla, Oct 20 (UNI) The Total Sanitation Campaign has surprisingly picked up momentum in Himachal Pradesh after President Pratiba Devisingh Patil awarded 245 gram panchayats with the National Nirmal Gram Panchayat Award on October 17 at Hisar in Haryana. Even as the ever-increasing population, haphazard urbanisation and pressure from tourist influx posses threat to the hills, Himachal Pradesh is poised to achieve the target of Nirmal Himachal by 2010.

This has mainly been due to the massive Total Sanitation Campaign underway in all the districts of state. So far, 632 Gram Panchayats have been declared as Open Defecation Free and this number is going upto 877 with another 245 Panchayats being added to this figure.

But still a lot needs to be done as there are around 3375 Gram Panchayats in the state and the half way figure is still a far goal.

In an attempt to save the environment of the state, the government has set for itself a target of ''Nirmal Himachal'' by the year 2010. The Total Sanitation Campaign is very much a part and parcel of 'Nirmal Himachal' campaign.

The State Government has adopted a demand drive and people centric outcome based approach to mobilise communities and generate awareness for sanitation amongst people, individually and at the community. A total of 11,333 schools and 4,485 Aanganwaris would be covered under the Total Sanitation Scheme.

Providing sanitation facilities to all the schools and Aanganwaris would be the priority of the government.

In order to instil the spirit of competition amongst the Panchayats and to motivate the Panchayati Raj Institutions, a state reward scheme has been instituted under the name ''Maharishi Balmiki Sampooran Swachhata Puruskkar''. These awards are being given at block and district levels and then there is state award of Rs 10 lakh.

The State had under the Non Bio-degradable Waste (Control) Act, 1995 already issued a notification banning use of polythene and proper management of waste.

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