HYDERABAD: Building toilets is just the tip of the iceberg, said Ram Mohan, director of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G), a year after the state government launched its Gram Jyothi programme to unite departments working at the gram panchayat level. Ram Mohan was speaking at a workshop on Open-Defacation Free (ODF)-Telangana arranged by UNICEF.
“Across the state, 42 per cent of rural population have individual latrines at homes with 621 gram panchayats having been declared ODF,” he said.
To reach the goal of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan of building 40 lakh toilets and achieving ODF panchayats by 2019, Mohan said that the state could not rely on the Centre to satisfy its sanitation needs.
“The driving force behind the success in Medak and Karimnagar districts being certified ODF are the district collectors. To sustain ODF, there needs to be regular monitoring of solid and liquid waste management. We cannot wait for the Central government to do this job,” he said.
Mohan stated that there are incentives to build toilets-including the $1.5 billion loan from the World Bank approved last year to improve rural sanitation in India, called the Swachh Bharat Mission Support Operation Project.
“Just to cross this first step is very hard,” he said, adding that water and sanitation are two sides of the same coin.