Bihar Govt Organizes a Conference on Swachch Evam Harit Bihar to Commemorate World Toilet Day on 19 Nov

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PATNA: The world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation, including toilets or latrines. 1 billion people still defecate in the open with dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development.

Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy. “Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation” is the theme for this year’s ( 2014) World Toilet Day, which seeks to put a spotlight on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the loss of privacy as well as the inequalities that are present in usability. Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.Where toilets do exist, additional inequalities present in usability.

Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.Without accessible toilets for these populations, they remain excluded from opportunities to attend school and gain employment.

Celebrating World Toilet Day 19th November 2014, Patna To commemorate World Toilet Day, 2014, a one day conference was organized by the Government of Bihar on 19th November at Shri Krishna Memorial Hall, Patna.2

The Conference was presided by Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Bihar. He was accompanied by Shri NitishMishra, Minister for Rural Development, Shri Vinod Prasad Yadav, Minister for PanchayatiRaj and Shri Mahachandra Prasad Singh, Minister forPublic Health Engineering Department.

Other dignitaries for the occasion were Shri ShashiShekhar Sharma, I.A. S. Principal Secretary Panchayati Raj Department, Shri S.M. Raju, I. A. S. Principal Secretary Rural Development, Dr. N. VijayaLaxmi , I.A.S, Chief Executive Officer JEEVIKA, Mr. Anand Madhab ,Chief Executive Officer, Jagran Pehel and Mr. Anand Shekhar, Team Leader Global Sanitation Fund. According to latest reports, national average for open defecation is 60 per cent, in Bihar it is 77 per cent. Hardly 33 per cent homes in the state have toilets in the state.

In his inaugural speech, Shri. Jitan Ram Manjhi, Hon’bleChief Minister said there were over 269 lakh elected representatives in panchayats and urban local bodies and if they constructed even one toilet it would be a big step in fulfillment of the target.

He also made similar appeal to 50 lakh self help groups in the state. He also cited that by 2019, there would be more than 2 crore toilets constructed in the state and thereforeurged the public to be the part of this campaign. He advised the elected members of self-help groups (SHGs) to facilitate the construction of 5 toilets annually besides ensuring one for their own houses.

Reiterating his commitment towards Swachch Bharat Mission, he mentioned that availability of funds shall not be a constraint for construction of toilets as the State government will match up to the balance fund requirement is there is a shortage from the Centre. Raising the issue of women safety, he mentioned that toilets are construction is essential to lessen crime against women.

Asserting the importance of awareness generation amongst people regarding toilets, Shri Nitish Kumar Mishra, Hon’ble Minister for Rural Development, Govt. of Bihar, said that procedures for ease of flow of funds must be made easy to enable beneficiaries for toilet construction.1

Shri Mahachandra Prasad Singh, Hon’bleMinister for Public Health and Engineering, Govt. of Bihar said that construction of toilet is directly related to safety and status of people. He stated that , by 2019, the government will meet upto to the balance of 1 crore 65 lakhs toilets in the state.

Shri Vinod Prasad Yadav, Hon’ble Minister for PanchayatiRaj(PRI), committed that the PRI Act will be amended to provide a clause wherein it will be made mandatory for candidates contesting elections to have toilets in their houses.

Other participants on dias shared their view on need for greater awareness amongst people for toilet construction and motivating people to use toilets.

Mr. Anand Madhab, Chief Executive Office, Jagran Pehel, a social initiative working on various development issues shared his views on the importance of BCC and advocacy as key tools towards increased usage of toilets. Taking examples from some of the previous successful projects implemented by Jagran Pehel, he shared some of the key tools of advocacy and behavior change that can be implemented to motivate people towards using toilets. Mr. Anand Shekar also shared his opinion on need for increased toilet construction and behavior change at community level to end open defecation.

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