GUWAHATI, June 19 – Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today launched the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programme at a function organised by the NR Management Consultants (NRMC), the executing agency, at the NEDFi House here, an official release said. The GSF aims to collaborate closely with the Indian Government’s Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) to raise the level of sanitation awareness for up to eight million people in the States of Assam and Jharkhand.
Speaking on the occasion, Gogoi stressed the need of working on promoting the demand for sanitation and safe hygienic behaviour. He said that his Government would prioritise sanitation as it was linked with health and education and was a key to sustainable economic development. “Our Government will prioritise sanitation as it is through proper sanitation we can prevent the outbreak of many diseases and increase our productivity. We are going to include sanitation as a subject in the school curriculum to inculcate good hygienic practices,” he said.
He welcomed the GSF programme and expressed the hope that it would support the poor and marginalised rural people to improve their sanitation situation and quality of life in the State. Underscoring the need for sustainable sanitation, the Chief Minister said that his Government would leave no stone unturned to promote total sanitation in eight districts of the State and beyond. He appealed to the NGOs to come forward in making the programme a success.
The Minister for Public Health Engineering, Gautam Roy said that the GSF programme would act as a catalyst and provide impetus to sanitation improvement in the State. He expressed the hope that the GSF would be able to support the Total Sanitation Programme in the State and fill gaps around promotion of demand for sanitation and hygiene.
Speaking at the inaugural function, Minister for Sports and Excise Ajit Singh said that the programme focusing on hygiene education would go a long way in raising awareness and demand creation in order to have an impact on the State.
Jayesh Bhatia, director, NRMC India Private Ltd, the executing agency for the Global Sanitation Fund in India, stated that the States of Assam and Jharkhand have been selected as the focus States under the Global Sanitation Fund in India based on the criteria developed and agreed upon with the major national sector across and the Government.
Oliver Jones, programme officer, GFS, said the $5 million fund aims to achieve sustainable open defecation-free communities and tangible health benefits. He said that the programme is being implemented in 10 countries including India.
Depinder Singh Kapur, convenor of the programme coordinating mechanism in India, requested the Chief Minister to prioritise sanitation to have a total impact on safe hygienic practices in the State.
Anand Shekhar, team leader, executing agency, Global Sanitation Fund in India, said that sanitation is a basic human right and every effort must be taken to provide safe and proper sanitation to the rural masses. The secretary, PHED, Assam, HK Bora also spoke on the occasion.
The GSF programme that seeks to respond to fundamental challenges in the Indian rural sanitation sector and is consistent with the core principles espoused by the Government of India has three objectives – to contribute to sustainable sanitation use and hygiene behaviour at scale, develop capacity for sustainable promotion of improved sanitation and hygiene and promote a culture of continuous learning among all stakeholders.
The GSF programme in the State will support sanitation and hygiene promotion in Jorhat, Nalbari, Kamrup, Cachar, Hailakandi, Goalpara, Sonitpur and Nagaon districts, covering 5,000 villages under 625 gaon panchayats using a combination of Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and sanitation marketing approaches, the release added.