While the untimely demise of former home minister Tako Dabi came as a shock to
the state, there were nevertheless two reasons for the state government to gloat over on January 18.
Itanagar finally found a place on the list of the country’s smart cities, and the members of the legislative assembly patted each others’ backs over Arunachal Pradesh achieving the open defecation free (ODF) status.
Arunachal Pradesh was declared ODF on December 31 last year under the Swachh Bharat Mission (rural), making it the second state in the Northeast, after Sikkim, to earn the status in record time – a year and ten months ahead of the national target of October 2, 2019.
Addressing the assembly, chief minister Pema Khandu spoke of ‘the long, strenuous journey’ the state had to make in order to achieve the ODF status and called for sustaining the status, while PHE&WS minister Bamang Felix called for ‘imprinting the ODF status in the people’s minds’ to ensure its sustainability.
However, the notable comment was made by union drinking water & sanitation ministry’s deputy director-general, H Borah, who said that Arunachal Pradesh’ achieving the ODF status in such a short period of time was nothing short of a ‘miracle.’
The comment might have gone unnoticed by the layman, but it was probably a case of stating between the lines because he added that an independent body funded by the World Bank will soon visit the state to verify the ODF claim. ?