'Sabar Souchagar' project in West Bengal's Nadia district has won international acclaim for building toilets for all and has been shortlisted for the UN Global Award for Public Services, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said today.
"Nadia district in West Bengal has won international acclaim in 'Sabar Souchagar' (Toilets for all) project under 'Mission Nirmal Bangla'. The United Nations Public Services Awards Committee has shortlisted the project..." the chief minister said.
The UN committee has shortlisted the project for the prestigious international UN Public Services Award, 2015.
"Moreover, Loughborough University, UK has selected the project as 'An Inspiring District Level Model for eliminating open defecation in India' to be presented at the 38th WEDC International Conference in London, in July, 2015," Banerjee said in a facebook post.
Nadia District Magistrate P B Salim said that 95 per cent of the people had already stopped defecating in the open and by the March-end they would achieve a 100 per cent open defecation-free status.
The scheme 'Sobar Souchagar', meaning toilets for all, was launched a year before Prime Minister Narendra Modi kick-started 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, Salim said.
For constructing toilets, labour cost was borne under NREGA while raw materials for building toilets came from NBA.
Asadur Rahman, state head of the UNICEF has 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 had said recently.