Volunteers to help make villages along Ganga open defecation-free

New Delhi: The government is seeking to rope in thousands of volunteers to help bring about a behavioural change among villagers living in 52 districts along the Ganga vis-a-vis open defection under the Swachh Bharat Mission. An official release said the Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry, along with the ministries of Youth Affairs and Sports and Water Resources, was intensifying support to Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal to make all the villages along the Ganga in these states Open Defecation-Free.  There are 5,169 villages along the Ganga that fall under 1,651-gramme panchayats and 52 districts in these five states.  The joint campaign has been christened 'Swachh Yug'.  The release said the Youth Affairs Ministry is enlisting the support of agencies such as the Bharat Scouts and Guides, the Nehru Yuva Kendras and the National Service Scheme in this endeavour.  "These organisations will be called upon to provide a large number of local youth volunteers to support a behavioural change campaign in these 52 districts under the Swachh Bharat Mission," the release said. A nodal officer has been identified for each district to make it open defecation-free and to focus on cleanliness in the villages through proper solid and liquid waste management.  Local trainers will be imparted training in interpersonal behavioural change through a network of virtual classrooms.  The first virtual classroom will be launched on Tuesday through the virtual connection of 12 districts in Bihar to a trainer.  The release said training will incorporate both classroom and field components. Youth volunteer organisations will assist in this endeavour through the involvement of local youth.