Raipur, Mar 22: As many as 110 gram panchayats in Chhattisgarh were today declared open defecation-free (ODF) under the Centre's 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', taking the total number of such villages in the state to 1,849.
Union Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Chowdhary Birender Singh declared 110 village panchayats as ODF while felicitating at the concluding function of the 'National Rural Drinking Water and Swachhta Awareness Week' at the state capital here today.
"Chief Minister Raman Singh has fulfilled the dreams of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in making the 'Swachhta Abhiyan' a people's movement and now Chhattisgarh had joined the top states in the country in this line," Singh said appreciating the efforts of the state government in making 'Clean India Mission' a "success".
The Union Minister added that Centre will allocate a sum of Rs 2 lakh crore to each gram panchayats over the next five years for various development activities.
"About Rs 45,000 crore have already been transferred to the panchayats for this year. If the gram panchayat completes its four to five major development works based on the priority, then it can change the entire scenario of the village, he said.
Meanwhile, Singh also felicitated 24 'Swachchta Preraks' from various districts of the state with appreciation certificates.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Raman Singh said that Chhattisgarh will be 'open defecation free' by 2018 with the co-operation of the masses.
"'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' should be owned by the people. The mission can meet its targets if sisters (women) are determined to do so," the Chief Minister said.
He called upon the 'Nav Ratnas' (nine eminent personalities from varied fields who are making a significant contribution to the campaign in Chhattisgarh) to inspire more and more villages to become ODF.
Stressing on the need to conserve water in the present scenario, Raman Singh said if villagers are able to preserve even ten per cent of rain water, then it can meet the needs of an entire year.