'Dirty Picture' of Sanitation in Odisha - The New Indian Express

'Dirty Picture' of Sanitation in Odisha

Published: 12th December 2013 09:27 AM

Last Updated: 12th December 2013 09:27 AM

Actor Vidya Balan, ambassador of Centre’s flagship sanitation programme, would probably think twice if she were ever to associate with Odisha. For, the State Government has made a mess of the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) having miserably failed to meet the target of toilet construction.

An interim report of the CAG reveals that the State managed to meet about 55 per cent of the target set by the Centre during its project period 2001-2012. Against a target of construction of 71.52 lakh toilets in the State, the Odisha State Water and Sanitation Mission (OSWSM) could achieve barely 39.25 lakh (55 per cent) by March, 2012.

The OSWSM had even developed a panchayat-wise intervention plan to achieve 100 per cent sanitation coverage under TSC by March, 2012.

However, during 2009-10, the achievement was 31 per cent, followed by 39 per cent and 34 per cent in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively, a draft CAG report stated.

In the districts where the CAG conducted test-checks, the result was even more dismal as achievement was 38 per cent.  Against a target of 11.57 lakh toilets, only 4.37 lakh toilets were constructed. For record’s sake, open defecation is very high in Odisha.

The Census 2011 also pointed this out. Of 81.44 lakh rural households in the State, only 14.1 per cent households had latrines including 8.6 per cent having water-closet latrines, 3.4 per cent pit latrines and the rest other types.

“Despite implementation of TSC in the State since 2001-02, the objective of access to toilets in all rural areas by March 2012 remained unfulfilled as 85.9 per cent of rural household are deprived of latrine facilities. The reasons for low achievement was due to ineffective IEC activities, inadequate staff and absence of proper planning at district, block and GP levels,” the CAG findings said.

The major goal of TSC was to accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas by providing toilets to all by 2012. Schools too were to be covered by March 2008 and anganawadis by March 2009.

The audit revealed that non-preparation of Information Education and Communication (IEC) annual action plans by the District Water and Sanitation Missions (DWSMs) led to the mess-up since very little demand for sanitation could be created in rural areas.

“Inadequate and unplanned IEC activities led to lack of awareness and low demand and lack of community participation in planning and implementation. It led to non-achievement of the targets set by the Centre for ensuring total sanitation by 2012,” the CAG report said.

NGP IN A MESS

■ Failing to meet the target apart, the State Government could not even utilise the funds meant for Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) which is given to gram panchayats (GPs) for contributing significantly towards full sanitation coverage. The incentive money is given to GPs by OSWSM in two installments - first, after announcement of award, and second, after six months to complete the total sanitation.

■ During 2008-11, OSWSM received `7.84 crore for 243 GPs. Of this, `4.40 crore was given to 213 GPs as first installment but second tranche was given to just 32. This meant `3.44 crore could not be disbursed even as 30 GPs got no first installment and 211 GPs got no second installment.

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