Three states achieve ‘Open Defecation Free’ status, four by March

New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) on Friday said that three states had become Open Defecation Free (ODF) while four more state were expected to achieve the status by March next year.

Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary for MDWS, said: “After Sikkim became the first state, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala were declared ODF states recently. We are anticipating four more states — Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Punjab to achieve the ODF target in this financial year.”

Iyer said that about 113,000 villages across the country had become ODF as per the latest figure.

“There has been significant development in last six months as about 60 districts across the country have been declared ODF. Earlier, the number was just five or six. We still have challenging job to bring all villages under ODF status,” Iyer added.

Government data about 201 census shows there are above 6,40,000 villages in India.

Iyer said that the villages with ODF tags will be given priority during implementation of important schemes.

“As per the government policy, centrally sponsored schemes such as payjal (yojana) will be implemented in ODF villages or town on priority basis,” added Iyer.