Kerala emerges as ‘largest’ Open Defecation Free state
Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 1 (IANS) The southern state of Kerala on Tuesday became the third state overall and the largest state so far to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM- Gramin).
The declaration was formally made by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during a ceremony at the Central Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram, an official release said in the national capital.
Vijayan also distributed awards to and felicitated district collectors and other government officials who had been instrumental in bringing about this landmark achievement for the state.
With this, all 14 districts, 152 blocks, 940 Gram Panchayats and 2117 villages of Kerala have been declared free from open defecation.
Freedom from open defecation has been proven to lead to significant health benefits in terms of incidences of water-borne diseases, especially in children, and provide safety and dignity for all, especially women and senior citizens.
“Kerala, with a rural population of approximately 3.5 crores, is also the largest state so far to have achieved the ODF Status, after Sikkim (6 lakhs) and Himachal Pradesh (70 lakhs),” the release said.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Vijayan emphasised the importance of behaviour change communication in the efforts made by the state to achieve ODF status.
He also underscored the need to sustain this status now that it has been achieved through a continued focus on sanitation, the release said.