As part of a campaign to make Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district open defecation free, over 10,000 pits have been dug in a single day by local villagers to allow for the construction of as many toilets to begin in the next seven days.
Braving monsoon rains, villagers of the district worked together for 18 hours to complete the unprecedented feat which aims to bring proper hygiene and sanitation to the district’s 621 villages.
The toilet pit drive inches the district closer to October 2, the target date set aside for the completion of the campaign and the last time local villagers use open spaces as human-waste grounds.
Everyone, from Zilla Parishad President, Vice President, elected members, officers, Zilla Parishad employees, social workers, all Block Development Officers, Sarpanches and all those at grass root level took an active role in digging the pits.
Zilla Parishad official, Hanumant Gadge, told NDTV, “People of Osmanabad indeed have made the Clean India Mission into a mass movement. Every person is enthusiastic about contributing their bit towards cleanliness and sanitation, and this can be seen with the kind of self-involvement we have witnessed in the last few months.
The scheme is part of the `Marathwada Hagandari Mukt Sangram’ (Marathwada campaign for eradication of open defecation) which had been launched on the occasion of Gudi Padwa, the Marathi new year. The campaign has devised a number of incentives to garner interest and involvement from the locals including a ‘Build A Toilet And Visit Singapore’ initiative.
As per the incentive, 32 villagers will be selected through a lottery system, and the chosen ones will be sent to Singapore on an all-expense paid trip. The only criteria they need to fulfill is to build a toilet at home. The results are set to be announced on the campaign’s completion day.