Kolkata, Jan 22: West Bengal's Nadia district is poised to complete building toilets for all its residents by next March, under a programme which has been shortlisted for the United Nations global award for public service.
Nadia district magistrate P B Salim said that 95 per cent of the people had already stopped defecating in the open and by this March they would achieve a 100 per cent open defecation-free status.
His scheme "Sobar Souchagar", meaning toilets for all, was launched a year before Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarted the "Swachh Bharat' campaign that is estimated to cost the exchequer over Rs 62,000 crore with a time span of five years to achieve the target of toilets for all.
For the "Sobar Souchagar" programme, no additional funds were allocated by the state government, but available funds from government schemes like 'National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), 'Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan' (NBA) and National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) were pooled together to achieve the feat in less than two years.
For constructing toilets, labour cost was borne under NREGA while raw materials for building toilets came from NBA.
The scheme has attracted the notice of the United Nations and has been shortlisted for the UN global award for public service.
Asadur Rahman, state head of the UNICEF, praised the programme, saying Nadia is fast becoming a model for all other states in India.
"We are planning to organise a national level meeting of district magistrates from all over India to showcase this as a model project. This will inspire them in achieving the target of full sanitation," he said.