On October 2, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu declared that urban areas of the state are open defecation-free.
The state has been making steady progress in the Swachh Bharat Mission, constructing toilets at homes and public places in all its 110 municipalities. The door-to-door waste collection too has been largely successful in the state.
Declaring the state open defecation-free, Naidu urged people to be swachagrahis and make the country free from poor hygiene. He said Rs 186 crore had been sanctioned for Andhra Pradesh for schemes related to solid waste management in urban areas.
Naidu released a book In the Footsteps of Mahatma: Gandhi and Sanitation by Sudarshan Iyengar, a Gandhian, and a postal stamp on 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' on the occasion.
Reports suggest that 405 cities and towns besides 20,000 of the 82,000 urban wards in the country are open defecation-free. By the end of March next year, another 334 cities and towns are expected to be free of open defecation. Soon, urban areas of Maharashtra, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and other northeastern states would be declared open defecation-free.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani too declared that urban areas in his state are open defecation-free. The CM, who made this announcement at Porbandar, said 180 cities and towns in the state are free of open defecation.