Considered as one of the most beautiful part of India, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are known for their vivid beauty which attracts a lot of domestic and international tourists. The archipelago was in news in 2004, when a savage tsunami wrecked havoc to the coastline of many islands. However, this time around, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is in news for some good reasons.
On October 2, when the entire country was busy celebrating the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and completion of three years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan, the Indian archipelago was truly envisaging the revolutionary change that Gandhi wanted to usher in the country. Where the rest of the country is still trying to bridge the gap between the government and the citizens, Port Blair Municipal Council (PBMC) along with the commoners of the port town was declared an Open Defecation Free city on October 2.
In 2016 PBMC had initiated a survey regarding the rate of open defecation in Port Blair and the adjoining areas. According to the survey, open defecation was mostly prevalent in the remote villages of the region. It further came to the conclusion that nearly 7,000 people were deprived of proper hygienic toilets whereas about 1600 families did not have any toilet system at all.
According to Avinash Kumar Singh, executive engineer, Solid Waste Management (SWM), PBMC:
We conducted an extensive survey in the city in February-March 2016 to detect people who defecate in the open. The survey was done on all households and institutional buildings. Open defecation was mainly rampant on the outskirts or remote areas.
Thereafter, PBMC gave Rs 14,000 to each of the families deprived of a proper hygienic toilet to build one of their own. Not just this, the municipal corporation also pinpointed 48 places with maximum open defecation cases and constructed 256 community toilets there. According to the municipal authorities, the Centre had sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore for the same, as a result of which the entire union territory is now open defecation free.