Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday called for efforts to make the entire state open defecation free (ODF) by Gandhi Jayanti next year.
"Let us take a pledge to make the state ODF before October 2, 2019. Work is also in progress to make clean drinking water available to every nook and corner within two years. Ninety per cent of the diseases can be kept at bay if proper sanitation and clean drinking water are ensured," Mr Kumar said a function here on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary,
The chief minister said the use of polythene would be completely banned in the state by the end of this month and only plastic bags with a thickness of more than 50 microns would be in use.
Noting that the consumption of polythene often led to stray cattle falling sick and dying, he also asked the district administration to ensure all cows that were found roaming on the roads unattended should be herded to cow shelters. "And then, if their owners come looking for their cattle, they should be fined for their negligence".
At the event, Mr Kumar flagged off 150 vehicles meant for door-to-door garbage collection, besides laying the foundation stone for a waste-to-energy plant.
He said the plant would become functional in a year and an American company with expertise in generating power from waste has been hired. Besides, the urban development department has made arrangements for segregating dry waste from wet garbage.
The function was attended by state Urban Development Minister Suresh Sharma and Mayor Sita Sahu among others.