Nirmal Bharat Yatra: Civil Services Mentor Magazine November 2012

Nirmal Bharat Yatra

A huge campaign to spread the message of rural sanitation named Nirmal Bharat Yatra, will start on October 3, focusing on making the country free of open defecation. The announcement was made by actress Vidya Balan, the brand ambassador of the rural development ministry’s campaign for improving sanitation, and Union minister Jairam Ramesh. The yatra begun on October 3 from the Gandhi Ashram located in Sevagram in Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end in Bettiah (Bihar) on November 17,” informed the minister. Beginning from Wardha, the yatra will go through Indore, Kota, Gwalior, Gorakhpur and Bettiah, covering over 200 km in 56 days. The programme will cost Rs 12 crore. The Nirmal Bharat Yatra “to make the country open-defecation-free and to ensure proper sanitation in rural India” began from Sevagram in Wardha district of Maharashtra in presence of the Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

Conceptualised by Quicksand Design Studio and WASH United, the yatra — a carnival-like convoy of 40 brightly painted trucks and a 500- strong crew — set off on October 2 from Wardha in Maharashtra. It will pass through five States, covering 2,000 km in 51 days. After travelling to Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Kota in Rajasthan, Gwalior in MP, Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, it will end on November 19 at Bettiah in Bihar, where Mahatma Gandhi began his first Satyagraha. The awareness-cumentertainment programme includes games, films, and live dance and magic performances, says Neeraj Bhatnagar of Quicksand Design Studio. An interesting feature is the ‘Tippy-Tap’, described as a soap lab for hand-washing. “An Indian Idol kind of hand-washing dance along with hand-washing carrom boards will make it fun for participating schoolchildren,” he adds. The Yatra will travel almost 2,000 km through villages from Maharashtra to Bihar and will end in Bettiah town in the West Champaran of Bihar on November 19. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ramesh termed the open defecation as the blot on Indian society and said, “Every Indian should be ashamed that more than 60 per cent of women in India have to defecate in open. Even after so many years, we cannot say proudly that every woman in India has a toilet available for her.” “This Nirmal Bharat Yatra is connected with the dignity of Indian women. We are ranked third in the world in terms of economic growth, but even today we have the problem of malnutrition and one of the main reasons for it is uncleanliness and open defecation. If we want to give dignity and security to the women of this country and to protect the future of our children, then we will have make India an open defecation-free country” he added.