Pics by Rons Bantwal
Pune, Jun 15: Governer K Shankaranarayanan gave away the Nirmal Gram Puraskar — the state has bagged the highest number this year — at a function held at Balewadi on Monday.
As many as 1,720 gram panchayats in the state bagged the award, given for total sanitation and ridding villages of the practice of defecating in the open .
Pune had representatives from 69 gram panchayats that got the award.
Lauding the achievement of the state, the governor congratulated the sarpanchs and gram sevaks of the villages selected for the Nirmal gram awards.
“The state has been doing exceedingly well in achieving the target of full sanitation. A major credit for the same has to go to the role played by the Sant Gadge Baba Village cleanliness campaign launched by the state government in 2000-01. The work done under the village cleanliness campaign has perfectly complimented the work done under the total sanitation campaign,” he said at the function. He said that the competition among villages to keep them clean had scaled upto 60 per cent from 22 per cent in 2001.
However, the governor further said that though winning the Nirmal gram is a major achievement, bigger challenges lie ahead in sustaining the open defecation-free status attained by the villages, schools and anganwadis.
“We have to make sure that once a nirmal gram always should remains a nirmal gram. Under no circumstances, a nirmal gram village be allowed to relapse into the open defecation era for one reason or the other,” said the governor.