BHUBANESWAR: WITH only 43.78 pc of the households having access to toilets and Odisha still third from the bottom, just above Bihar and J-K, Union Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation SS Ahluwalia on Friday advised the State Government to step up toilet construction work to cover all households by 2019.Odisha is among the nine worst performing States in the country so far as rural sanitation programme is concerned.
On a day’s visit to the State, the Union Minister reviewed the drinking water supply and sanitation programmes at a high-level meeting here after a field trip to a village in Khurda district.
Prior to the launch of Swachchh Bharat Mission (SBM) in 2014, only 12 pc households (1.3 lakh houses) have individual households latrines (IHHL). The State has so far constructed toilets in around 30 lakh houses. Another 50 lakh toilets need to be constructed to cover all the households.
Since, Odisha is required to construct 16,500 toilets per day, the Union Minister urged the Government to take up the programme in a mission mode to meet the 2019 deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ahulwalia, during his visit to Angargadia village of Khurda district, interacted with some locals and advised them to create wide awareness in the locality about the benefit of using toilets.
As only 42 pc of the State’s population are supplied with pipe water through stand-post against the National average of 56 pc, the Union Minister asked Government officials to ensure safe drinking water supply to all villages and priority should be given to those villages where ground water quality is not safe for consumption.
With Central allocation of funds under National Rural Drinking Water Supply Programme (NRDWP) drying up, the State said is has become difficult to arrange funds to meet the increasing requirements.
Despite revenue constraints, the State Government has approved drinking water projects worth `3,600 crore, said sources. The Union Minister was requested to increase the Central assistance.
While the State had received Central fund of about `600 crore under NRDWP in 2014-15, the assistance from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation for the current fiscal was `103 crore only.