If you find people welcoming you to have a sneak peek into their toilets, then you definitely are in Sikkim. Some even go to the extent of boasting of their upgrade to the European commode. However these people have a pretty good reason to boast about as their state has been declared ‘Open Defecation Free’ (ODF) by the Swachh Bharat Mission.
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation defines ODF as “the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by no visible faeces found in the environment/village and every household as well as public/community institution using safe technology option for disposal of faeces.”
Sikkim, the new name of cleanliness
Cleanliness in Sikkim is not limited to toilets. Public urination is absent. Add to that no one is found smoking in public places. And while you are there, you’ll have to pull out a rabbit out of the hat to see someone littering. Plastic, which has been banned in the state for over a decade now, is inscopicuous with its absence.
However nothing can be achieved without ruffling some feathers. And Sikkim does exactly that. There are strict penalty or fines for every violation. If you are caught urinating in a public place, be prepared to shell out Rs 500. Smoking in public will make you poorer by Rs 200.
In Sikkim’s premier cities such as Gangtok and Namchi, construction of public filters and public toilets have long been a norm. It is because of these reasons that Gangtok and for that matter every town or village can make a perfect case study for the Swachh Bharat Mission. Except the fact, the state started its cleanliness drive way before the project became the cynosure of PM Modi’s eyes.
Other better performing states
While the northeastern State scores a hundred per cent, it is not alone. Rallying behind it is Himachal Pradesh with a score of 55.95 per cent.
Other better performing States with village-level achievements are Haryana and Meghalaya with just over 41 per cent each, Gujarat (37.58 per cent), Maharashtra (28.33 per cent), Chhattisgarh (24.91 per cent) and Rajasthan (23.83 per cent).
In addition to this, three cities from Karnataka namely coastal Mangaluru, Udupi and Mysuru have been declared “open defecation free” this week in the survey conducted among 75 cities across the country. After topping the list of cleanest cities for two consecutive years, Mysuru finds itself in a familiar mix yet again. A recent survey of 476 cities had also declared Mangaluru the third cleanest in India.