Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations became special this year for AP. The state achieved a greater milestone along with Gujarat to become the first state to declare all its urban areas as Open Defecation Free (ODF). The announcement was also made on the second anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission Sunday, that happens to fall on October 2nd.
All the 110 cities and towns in Andhra Pradesh state were given the official ODF tag by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at an event in Tirupati. Gujarat, on the other hand, gave ODF status to each of its 180 cities and towns at a function in Porbandar.
In the entire of rural India, 37 districts that have a lakh villages have been declared as ODF as per information released by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
While 334 urban areas are on the way to becoming ODF by March next year, according to the Ministry of Urban Development, 405 cities and towns have declared themselves Open Defecation Free.
Other states that will soon follow suit and declare all their urban regions as ODF are Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram and a few other Northeast states.
Swachh Bharat, a unique mission launched by PM Shri Narendra Modi, with its urban and rural component handled by the respective ministries, aims to make the country ODF by 2019.
“Declaration of Porbandar district and other areas as Open Defecation Free today is an interim gift to Mahatma on the occasion of his birth anniversary today and the final gift of Swachh Bharat would be presented to Gandhiji on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary on October 2, 2019,” said Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu, while addressing a gathering at Porbandar through a video-link.
Naidu also released a postal stamp on the cleanliness as well as a book In the Footsteps of Mahatma: Gandhi and Sanitation authored by Gandhian, Prof Sudarshan Iyengar, and published by the I&B Ministry.
Several community-based Swachhta events were also held at 10 locations depicting higher cleanliness standards.