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New Delhi : In the run up to World Toilet Day on November 19, 2017, a central level team from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation performed shramdaan by assisting villagers in building twin-pit toilets at village Turkauliya in East Champaran district of Bihar.

The senior officers led by Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Parameswaran Iyer, had arrived at the village on November 17, 2017, as part of a village immersion exercise. One of the aims of the exercise was to give the officials an opportunity to stay at the village, interact with villagers directly, join in trigger behavior change and discuss their challenges and aspirations over the course of three days, in one of the lowest  sanitation coverage districts in the country.

The team chose East Champaran as the district to visit for this exercise as part of the Champaran centenary year for “Satyagrah se Swachhagrah tak” celebrations. The team encouraged villagers to build and use twin pit toilets in their homes. A screening of the movie, ‘Toilet Ek Prem Katha’, was also organized for the villagers at a night (ratri) chaupal after the first day of shramdaan, according to a PIB release.

The joint team of the Ministry and the State of Bihar, joined the villagers to dig twin pits for the toilets at the village including brick laying inside the pits and building of toilet. The village will be declared ODF  on November 18 on World Toilet Day. The team also  paid homage at various memorials to Gandhiji at Champaran. It also participated in a Master Sanitation Trainers’ Workshop organised by the State Government.

Early November 18 morning, the team led by Secretary Parameswaran Iyer began morning vigil exercise in the villages together with local Nigrani Samities to assess the extent of open defecation. An intense interpersonal communication exercise was undertaken with the people who had come out to defecate in open. The team also visited households to motivate people to build their own toilets. Village women and children enthusiastically participated in the interaction. A special session with girl students of the area was organised at Turkauliya school.
The World Toilet Day initiative in Champaran is  expected to give an impetus to the Swachh Bharat programme in Bihar which is making special efforts to accelerate it’s sanitation programme. In their interaction with the villagers, Secretary Iyer and his team emphasized on the need of use of toilet. The call was enthusiastically supported by the villagers who promised to make their villages ODF soon.

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