Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India and also one of top states affected by the scourge of open defecation. According to Census 2011, 78.2% of rural population in Uttar Pradesh defecate in the open. This makes Uttar Pradesh home to the largest number of open defecators in India, a country which contributes to 60% of the open defecation taking place in the world. On June 27, 2015, CLTS Foundation was invited to organize a workshop for government officials of Uttar Pradesh in the capital city Lucknow. The theme of the workshop was, ‘Unleashing the Potential of Uttar Pradesh in leading the CLTS movement in India’.
Inauguration of the workshop with the Honourable Minister of Panchayati Raj, UP
The workshop was attended by more than 150 participants which included the Hon.Shri Kailash Nath Yadav, Minister of Panchayati Raj , Hon. Shri Chanchal Kumar Tewary (IAS), Principal Secretary of Panchayati Raj ,Hon.Shri Alok Kumar (IAS), Chief Staff Officer to the Chief Secretary, Deputy Directors of Panchayati Raj, District Magistrates, District Panchayati Raj officers, Project Directors, District Project Co-ordinators, etc who are the key officials in taking ahead the sanitation agenda in the country.The Minister of Panchayati Raj in his speech said that he was committed to empowering the community to achieve an end to open defecation in the state and asked the Foundation to build capacity within the state and support the administration in achieving the state’s sanitation goals.
The workshop in progress
A highpoint of the visit was a meeting with the Chief Secretary of the State Mr Alok Ranjan (IAS), during which Dr Kamal Kar the Chairman of the Foundation, shared experiences of successful CLTS impact in states like Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra, urging the Chief Secretary to create an enabling environment for CLTS to be implemented effectively in the state. The Chief Secretary clearly stated that achieving ODF was a priority for the state and that the state administration was willing to put in place all necessary measures to ensure access to sanitation for the people of Uttar Pradesh.
Mr Alok Ranjan, IAS,Chief Secretary of State, Govt of UP and Dr Kamal Kar, Chairman, CLTSF in an informal meeting
He stated that the Chief Minister was very passionate about improving the status of sanitation and nutrition in Uttar Pradesh and believed that the two were intricately connected. He expressed his commitment to initiate a pilot study towards making a few districts in the state open defecation free by adopting the CLTS approach. Overall, thisvisit paved the way for future collaboration between the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the CLTS Foundation towards achieving an ODF Uttar Pradesh.