BALANGIR: Balangir district is unlikely to meet the toilet construction target by October 2, 2019, the deadline set by the Centre under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
During baseline survey, the district administration had identified 3,64,958 beneficiaries for construction of Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) under the scheme. Since launching of the mission on October 2, 2014, the district administration has constructed only 60,430 toilets.
According to official sources, a total of 2,690 toilets had been constructed during 2014-15 while 49,225 and 8,515 toilets against the target of 53,803 and 1,09,527 were constructed in 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively.
The sources said though the district administration claimed that 17 villages have been declared as Open Defecation Free, the ground reality paints a different picture. The district had targeted to announce 285 gram panchayats as Open Defecation Free by October 2, 2019. However, it is unlikely to meet the target as works are moving at a snail’s pace.
The delay in construction has been assigned to delay in payment to the beneficiaries and executing agencies. Under the scheme, `12,000 is being provided to each household for construction of a toilet.
The sources said the local Government officials have failed to release payment towards construction of 40,783 toilets in the last two years and 974 in the current year.
Though the RWSS wing has adequate staff including 20 cluster coordinators, 28 junior engineers, three programme officers, couple of assistant engineers and one executive engineer and fund is not an issue, the department has failed to meet the target.
When contacted, Executive Engineer of RWSS Suresh Mohanta said steps are being taken to speed up the implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission in the district.