1,040 Odisha Panchayats to be Free of Open Defecation
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has set a target to convert at least one block in each district and 1,040 gram panchayats as open defecation-free under Swachh Bharat Mission during the current fiscal.
The State is lagging far behind in its target of toilet construction in individual households. As against a target to construct 20 lakh individual household latrines (IHHL), the achievement till the end of September was only four lakh.
About 850 villages and 33 gram panchayats have been declared as open defecation-free (ODF), said Superintending Engineer, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Abhaya Kumar Biswal told reporters here.
Of 70.56 lakh households identified to be covered under Swachh Bharat Mission, more than 43.96 lakh households have constructed latrines. The achievement so far is 62.31 per cent.
Chief Secretary GC Pati reviewed the progress of toilet construction in individual households in districts through video conference with Collectors.
As the rainy season is over, the Chief Secretary asked the Collectors to ensure that the target set for their districts is achieved during the next six months of the current financial year.
He further directed Secretaries of the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj departments to issue necessary instructions to their field engineers to inspect the construction and monitor the progress of sanitation programme.
The district Collectors were advised to mobilise field staff of other departments and take assistance of non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) in achieving total sanitation in all the blocks. They were asked to review the progress every month.
The Chief Secretary emphasises more on creating public awareness so that people will volunteer for construction of toilets.
Explaining the financial, administrative and management issues involved with the programme, Rural Development Secretary Pradipta Mohapatra said the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is also monitoring district-wise progress online.
As per census reports, 76.6 per cent of homes in Odisha do not have toilets. The State with large number of tribal population has the real challenge to make them understand the need for sanitation, official sources said.
As per the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Government gives a sum of `12,000 per toilet to every beneficiary who builds a toilet at his/her home.