From 12 percent overall coverage under Swach Bharat Mission (G) a year-and-a-half ago, Poonch district has achieved 'Open Defecation Free' (ODF) status as all households in the baseline survey have been provided with Individual Household Latrine units (IHHL), the district administration said on Thursday.
The local District Development Commissioner Mohammad Aijaz Asad declared the district ODF in a programme organized at district headquarter. It was attended by Assistance Commissioner Development Mukhtar Sheikh, DPO Muzahir Hussain Qazmi, BDOs, CDPOs and field staff of Rural Development Department.
Against 56,273 identified households, only 6,520 (12%) were provided IHHL units in 4 years from April 2013 to March 2017, whereas 24,088 IHHLs in 2017-18 and 25665 in first 6 months of 2018-19 were constructed to achieve ODF status for the district. Meanwhile, 60.48 percent process of uploading information/photographs has been completed while as process of verification by specially constituted team is going on.
"The district administration unfolded a comprehensive strategy, involving all departments for coverage of households and focused attention was laid to reverse the mindset of the public to increase acceptability and utility of IHHL units. IEC activities are being carried out regularly involving school going children, anganwari workers and helpers, Swachagrahis, religious leaders, civil society members and others to make the mission sustainable," the administration said.
The DDC appreciated the efforts put in by ACD, DPO, BDOs and field staff of Rural Development Department, including VLWs, GRS, Swachagrahis and officials from other departments for achieving ODF status for the district.
While speaking on the occasion, Asad said, "Cent percent coverage under SBM (G) holds a special significance for Poonch as it is a border district. In blocks like Mendhar, Balakote, Mankote, Haveli, Loran and Mandi, lack of IHHLs was cause of great inconvenience to the public, especially in hours of ceasefire violation."