Kerala to be labelled ODF state after Sikkim and HP

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM,Nov1: After Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh, Kerala will be labelled Open Defecation Free(ODF) state on its formation day which falls on Tuesday. For the event, which will take place at the Central Stadium on Tuesday evening, the Suchitwa Mission, the state nodal agency of the ODF campaign, has made elaborate arrangements.

The preparations for the function are in its final stage. Minister of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar will be the chief guest while Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will officially declare the state as ODF. The three-month long exercise was carried out by Suchitwa Mission as part of the Centre’s Swachch Bharat Abhiyan campaign.

The highlight of the event will be the eco-friendly pavilion. Over 10,000 people are expected to attend the event. Sunny Kidarakuzhy, the artist who designed the 40-feet long mammoth stage, said, “The stage has been decorated to radiate positive energy to the guests and audience.”
“Bamboo, palm leaves and other natural materials have been used to construct the stage. We were told by the government that the whole place should sport an eco-friendly look. So, we collected the materials from various places. Preparations are in the final stage. We hope to complete all the works before Tuesday noon,” Sunny said.

He added that the stage can accommodate 40 persons and the pavilion can host 10,000.
Special stalls exhibiting bio-degradable waste treatment system has also been arranged under the aegis of Integrated Rural technology Centre(IRTC). The exhibition is aimed at creating awareness among people about the significance of a suitable bio-degradable system.

In the function, civic officials who gave their full support in achieving this status will be felicitated. A magic show by magician Gopinath Muthukad has also been arranged. When contacted, Amir Shah, the programme officer, Suchitwa Mission, he said, “Though Kerala is the third Open Defecation Free state, it is the first high density populated state in the country to achieve this recognition.”

“It was not an easy task for us to achieve this status since we faced many challenges. In coastal and tribal areas, we had to rely on the local NGOs to educate them to built a toilet of their own. We gave each family a sum of Rs 15,400 to construct a toilet. In fact, the exercise has been a success to a great extent. In fact, the state achieved this status only after each panchayat in the 14 districts were declared ODF at various intervals. At the event, the beneficiaries of Thiruvananthapuram district will be felicitated by the government,” Shah said.

On Monday, Local Self Government Minister K T Jaleel said that the state implemented the Centre’s ODF direction in three months. “All city areas will become ODF by January 1. A majority of the municipalities have already achieved the target,” he said.