All 4480 villages on the bank of River Ganga in 52 districts and 5 states (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal) were declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) under Namami Gange initiative at the Ganga Gram Sammelan held today at Naini, Allahabad by Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation. Later, Sushri Uma Bharati, Union Minister for Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation and Shri Narendra Singh Tomar launched model Ganga Gram initiative under which 24 Namami Gange villages have been identified in the 1st phase (Uttarakhand – 3, Uttar Pradesh – 10, Bihar – 4, Jharkhand – 5, and West Bengal – 2) to make them Adarsh Ganga Grams. Ganga Gram is a joint initiative of MDWS and MoWR. The Gram Pradhans of these villages were administered oath for achieving the goal of Adarsh Ganga Gram by Sushri Uma Bharati. The Ganga Gram initiative would focus on better cleanliness and infrastructure facilities like Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM), rejuvenation of ponds and water sources, water conservation projects, organic farming, crematorium and overall convergence with other government departments and projects. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath reiterated the commitment to make the entire Uttar Pradesh state ODF by December 2018 and stressed that SBM is among the top priority programs in the state.