In Odisha’s Ganjam, ‘Gandhigiri’ To Stop People From Defecating In Open

Berhampur: A lot of money is being spent by the Centre, state governments and local authorities to build latrines and toilets as part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. But one challenge that the authorities continue to face is changing people’s mindset: ensuring that people stop defecating in the open and use latrines at home built under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a task easier said than done.

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The administration of Asika Notified Area Council (NAC) in Odisha’s Ganjam district has found a novel way to stop people from defecating in the open and on roadsides. It has resorted to ‘Gandhigiri’.

As part of efforts by Asika NAC’s Executive Officer Loknath Bej to improve the area’s sanitation, hygiene and cleanliness, people found defecating on roadsides are being offered roses. While being handed roses, they are being discouraged to defecate in the open, made aware about good sanitary practices and asked to use latrines and toilets at home.

The ‘Gandhigiri’ initiative started on Sunday in Gandapalli and Pakelapalli, where people are often seen defecating outside along roadsides. There is a public toilet there but hardly anyone uses it.

Within two days of the initiative, the number of ‘offenders’ has already come down.

Besides making the entire area unhygienic, dirty and smelling, there have also been complaints from a jail in the area because of the rampant open defecation by people.

Asika NAC has 18 wards and the ‘Gandhigiri’ initiative will be extended to all wards eventually. Sanitation expert Diptimayee Sahu and other officials concerned are part of the initiative.

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