Bihar will get ODF status before 2019 deadline: Official

Patna, April 5 (IANS) In Bihar, where millions of people still opt for open defecation, the state government is trying hard and will achieve open defecation-free (ODF) status by March 31, 2019, against the deadline of October 2, 2019, an official said on Thursday.

"We are not only constructing toilets as behaviour change is a complex phenomenon. Even after a villager constructs toilet, its use has to be sustained for at least one year for habit change," Rural Development Department Secretary Arvind Choudhary said.

Choudhary was speaking at a function "Chalo Champaran - Satyagrah to Swachhagrah' - a social movement for open defecation-free Bihar.

He admitted that Bihar is at the bottom on ODF issue, with not even a single district so far declared ODF.

Balamurugan D., CEO of Jeevika and Mission Director, Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan, (LSBA) said the primary focus was on sustained behavioural change, for which 30,000 swachhagrahis and eight lakh women self-help groups promoted by Jeevika are working across all districts to create awareness on safe sanitation practices.

Asadur Rahman, chief, UNICEF, Bihar Field Office, said open defecation posed serious threat to children, who account for 46 per cent of Bihar population.

Pravin More, WASH Specialist, UNICEF said Rohtas district was on the verge of becoming ODF. As many as 1,541 villages, 245 gram panchayats and 19 blocks had already declared themselves ODF in the district.



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