Open defecation free campaign hits snag

Jhapa, December 23

Jhapa is unlikely to be declared an open defecation free district within 2017.  The government had planned to declare Jhapa an ODF district earlier.

Focal person at Jhapa District Sanitation Committee Rudra Bahadur Neupane said the ODF campaign in the district had begun some four years ago. He added that eight out of 15 local levels in the district have been declared ODF zones, so far. “It is impossible to declare Jhapa an ODF district as there are still some areas remaining to be declared open defection free,” he said.

Donor agencies supporting the drive have blamed local levels for the failure. Open Defecation Free Zone Bhadrapur programme officer Phanendra Dahal said local dependence on donation and lack of lands, among other things, were the reasons behind the failure to meet the target. He further added that it was very challenging to declare Bhadrapur an ODF city as settlements there were mostly concentrated in tea gardens and industrial areas.

It has also been reported that then VDCs and municipalities had distributed to backward communities materials such as rings and pans for construction of toilets in their houses. It is said that the people did not use the materials for the intended work but used them  to feed their livestock.

Local facilitators said the local people only expected donations without any feeling of responsibility. They also said the materials were misused due to lack of monitoring. They further went on to say that the ODF drive in Jhapa had not seen much success due to lack of awareness and facilitation among the people.