Text­book Case of Clean­li­ness


India Today - - SAFAI GIRI -

When the To­tal San­i­ta­tion Cam­paign (TSC) was launched in 2007, govern­ment schools in Hi­machal Pradesh’s Mandi dis­trict were a dis­grace. Be­sides dank and dirty class­rooms, less than half the 2,482 schools had toi­lets for stu­dents, for­get sep­a­rate fa­cil­i­ties for girl stu­dents.

To­day, 4,282 toi­let blocks have been con­structed in Mandi’s schools. Of these 1,382 are for boys and more than twice the num­ber—2,900—for girls. Be­sides the Rs 11.2 crore govern­ment grant, lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties—vil­lage pan­chay­ats and res­i­dents—have con­trib­uted both in cash and through vol­un­tary work.

“Com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion is a big part of our suc­cess here,” says Rugved Milind Thakur, the in­cum­bent deputy com­mis­sioner, who was posted to Mandi just nine months ago.

Ad­judged ‘In­dia’s clean­est dis­trict’ among 75 dis­tricts short­listed by the Qual­ity Coun­cil of In­dia (QCI) in 2016, Mandi is wit­ness­ing many pos­i­tive out­comes of its san­i­ta­tion suc­cess. “Sep­a­rate toi­lets have not only re­sulted in an in­crease in the en­rol­ment of girls,

but also sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced dropout rates,” says ad­di­tional deputy com­mis­sioner Raghav Sharma. Mandi, says Thakur, “has also seen a 10 per cent drop in the in­ci­dence of wa­ter­borne dis­eases”.

—Asit Jolly


A NEW CHAP­TER R.M. Thakur, Mandi DM,at a school in Jaidevi vil­lage

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