BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has asked Collectors to ensure that at least one village of each district is made open defecation-free (ODF) before the Republic Day.
While the Centre has launched the Swachh Bharat campaign in a mission mode to achieve ODF by 2019, Odisha is way behind other States so far as total sanitation is concerned.
As per the baseline survey conducted in 2012-13, only 13.14 per cent of households in the State are covered under rural sanitation. Even States like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar have performed better than Odisha.
A report prepared by the Ministry of Rural Development for a review meeting with State Secretaries in charge of rural sanitation on January 22 in Delhi stated that 78,75,904 households in Odisha are without toilet.
The Rural Development had constructed 33,759 individual household latrines in 2013-14 and another 38,965 toilets during the current financial year up to December.
Curiously, the State Government has set an ambitious target to construct seven lakh toilets in individual households under Swachh Bharat Mission by March next year.
“I request you to take steps to declare at least one village in your district as ODF on the eve of the Republic Day,” Rural Development Secretary Pradipta Mohapatra wrote to Collectors.
The Government had made a provision of Rs 157 crore under Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) before the launch of the new scheme by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2.
While the unit cost of a toilet is Rs 12,000, the Centre and State will share the cost in the ratio of 75:25.
The department has set district-wise target and Collectors have been asked to monitor the progress of the programme. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is also monitoring district-wise progress online, sources said.
The State has been performing miserably in the Total Sanitation Programme for more than a decade. Even as the national average of toilet construction was 13,634 per day, it was only 92 in Odisha in 2013-14. In 2012-13, the State had a better record of 324 toilets per day.