DIBRUGARH, Nov 19 - The Ouphulia Gaon Panchayat under Tingkhong Development Block has become the first gaon panchayat in the State to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
The announcement was made by the Deputy Commissioner, MS Manivannan, in Ouphulia recently in the presence of Atuwa Munda, Minister for Forest and Environment and Tea and Ex-Tea Tribes Welfare. In an effort to achieve the ODF status, at least 256 latrines were constructed under the MGNREGA schemes.
Munda congratulated the GP members and the locals for the status and asked them not to go for open defecation, but use their latrines. Deputy Commissioner, while appreciating the president of the gaon panchayat for his works, spoke about how it could be achieved in a short period of time.
A bicycle rally was also taken out on the occasion to create awareness in the area on the use of latrines. The programme was attended by the Project Director of District Rural Development Authority, Circle Officer, Block Development Officer and officials from Public Health Engineering, among others. The tea estates like Ethelwood, Jalannagar, Mancotta and Baughpara have also been declared ODF gardens. The people in these plantations have been pledged not to defecate in the open, a release stated. Former Minister Prithibi Majhi, former DoNER Minister Paban Sigh Ghatowar and Hanriette Athence, the Deputy Representative of UNICEF, India and several others had attended the programme in Ethelwood tea estate, a release stated.