Kerala becomes third open defecation-free state in country

Kerala has become the third Open Defecation Free (ODF) state in the country. The announcement was made on the state’s foundation day today. Earlier, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim had declared themselves Open Defecation Free. Kerala has become an ODF state today, Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer said. He said over 1 lakh villages across the country have become ODF.

“Kerala becomes first high density populated state in the country to achieve Open Defecation Free status today on its formation day,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a tweet. Meanwhile, a source said three more states–Gujarat, Haryana and Uttarakhand–will be announcing themselves as ODF soon.

The state constructed a whopping 1,74,720 toilets within a span of three months in collaboration with the state Suchithwa Mission, Jalanidhi, local bodies, Kudumbashree and many other non-governmental organisations.

Apart from 100% of the rural areas being declared ODF, urban areas including Kattappana, Perinthalmanna, Thaliparamba, Koothuparamba and Iritty were also declared ODF by the Kerala Suchitwa mission.

Kerala is the third state to attain this commendable status after Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. All the 941 grama panchayats of the state have been declared 100% ODF.

The highest number of toilets were built in Palakkad (23075), followed by Idukki (21021).  Thrissur was the first district to become ODF, followed by Kannur and Kozhikode.

As per the statistics on the Suchithwa Mission website, ODF status has now to be achieved in almost 88 urban areas in the state. The mission had benefited almost eight lakh people of the state.

It was during the budget presentation in July that the state Finance Minister Dr. Thomas Isaac had reiterated that the state would be declared ODF within the next three months. The LDF government aims to make Kerala the cleanest state in the country, he had then said.

Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited to the function on Tuesday, he was not able to make it, due to other pressing official responsibilities.

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