The Northeastern part of India houses a habitat that is rich in flora and fauna which consists of exotic trees, best varieties of tea plants, and plenty of wildlife that makes up for a sight to see. North-East is also famous for its unique culture, food, and clothing style which add to the charm of this part of India. Not just this, the Northeast is also proud to have the cleanest state in the country which is second to none when it comes to hygiene and making the term ‘Squeaky Clean’ practically true.
If you plan on visiting Sikkim, make sure you take a look at the village of Basilakha. This village is one of its kind where one can see the villagers escorting tourists proudly to the toilets inside their home where they even pose for the camera with the lavatory as a part of the background. The people here are pride residents of the state that is the very first in India to be completely free from open defecation.
What Led to Sikkim Garnering the Tag of Being “The Cleanest State”?
The state bagged a record during the Swachhta survey that was conducted recently by NSSO (National Sample Survey Office. This survey involved a report on the sanitation condition of various Indian states. As per the reports,
- All the four districts in Sikkim are top rankers among the best ten with regards to sanitation and cleanliness.
- Sikkim is proud to have about 98.2 percent of total households with toilets that are very clean and tidy. For the ones who don’t own a toilet at home, the community toilet provides a pathway to great hygiene.
This change has been marked only recently by the government but it started way before our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi started the famous Swachh Bharat Mission.
- The government at Sikkim was then led by Pawan Chamling who started the mission of total sanitation about 13 years before today.
- After 98,043 latrines, out of which 61,493 were for the families that were BPL holders, the state became the first to eradicate the presence of open defecation.
With cleanliness as a major factor, the state has started attracting tourists from all over the country thereby increasing the economic input via Sikkim Tourism. The state followed with the pattern to bring public water filters, more toilets, and efficient drainage system, especially for cities like Namchi and Gangtok.
- Apart from homes, the schools were also a part of the campaign which totaled to 1772 institutes.
- The local panchayats were also involved in the campaign to help increase the cleanliness in villages to reflect the green image to attract tourists.
- After all these efforts, the state was termed as a “Nirmal Rajya” in the year 2008. The state also focused on quality improvement along with proper solid and liquid waste management system.
- In schools, a gender-based cleanliness program was also initiated to help better disposal of sanitary napkins used by the females. The government also provided a sanitary pad vending machine that was priced at a nominal fee of INR2 per pad.
The Sikkim government has been evolving with the modern day requirements of maintaining the cleanliness acquired after years of efforts. Additional rules have been implemented which imposes fine on practices such as public urination, littering, smoking at public places, ban on the plastic use and so on. RO based filters have been provided at various sites including temples.
Sikkim is also following a strict pesticide and fertilizer free crop cultivation method to bring back the soil to its original state and decreasing their contribution to pollution. This effort to bring cleanliness to the state required self-discipline which needs to be followed in the other states of India to turn India into the cleanest country in the world.