RANCHI: Drinking Water and Sanitation minister Mithlesh Thakur, while questioning Open Defecation Free (ODF) tag to Jharkhand, indicated that a thorough probe will be taken up into villages awarded the tag by the BJP government.
Thakur, immediately after taking charge alleged that most of these villages were declared ODF by the earlier government under pressure for political reasons and hence need to go through the probe.
“There is no doubt that the data shown on papers are quite different from the ground reality. Hence, thorough investigations will be done into construction of toilets done in the villages,” said the minister. Strict action will be taken against those found responsible for the irregularities, he added.
According to Thakur, most of the villages were declared ODF under pressure, even before the target was achieved. Thorough review will be done in the field of sanitation, he said. Rural areas of Jharkhand were declared free from the practice of open defecation by the then chief minister Raghubar Das during a foundation day function organised on November 15, 2018. According to Das, Jharkhand had sanitation coverage of mere 28 per cent, whereas in rural areas it was just 18 per cent in 2014, but with continuous efforts towards access to toilets and behavioural changes, Jharkhand succeeded in achieving 100 per cent sanitation coverage in four years. Notably, Hemant Soren seems to be undoing all previous government works.
Swachh Bharat Mission a hit
More than 33 lakh toilets were constructed in rural areas across 24 districts within a period of four years under Swachh Bharat Mission. Jharkhand’s urban settlements, where 2,700 toilets were constructed, were already been declared ODF on October 2, 2017.