Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 28:
The BJD government in Odisha, which has been fooling the gullible people in the state for years, has also hoodwinked the Government of India and fraudulently bagged award for Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) claiming total sanitation in Panchayats.
According to CAG report on the social sector for the year ended March 2013, 25 out of 97 NGP GPs (selected during 2009-11) did not fulfil the eligibility criteria for the centrally given Puraskar. As many as 42 households in 13 GPs had no toilets while 27 households were not using the toilets they had due to lack of privacy or unusable/ broken condition.
The Government of India introduced the Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) in October 2003 to encourage GPs, which have contributed significantly towards ensuring full sanitation coverage in their areas of operation.
“The applications were not properly checked at any level i.e., at Internal Scrutiny Committee (ISC), State Level Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) and Odisha State Water and Sanitation Mission (OSWSM) to ensure eligibility. As a result, 422 (73.90 per cent) of 571 GPs recommended by the SLSC were disqualified. Joint inspection of sites also revealed that latrines of NGP awardee GPs were lying unused,” said the report.
Audit scrutiny revealed that out of 572 GPs recommended by the SLSC during 2009-12, only 149 GPs were selected for NGP awards given to GPs during 2009-11.
Of 149 GPs selected for NGP award during 2000-12, the second installment of Rs 1.95 crore was not released by the OSWSM to 133 GPs as of September 2013 due to non-submission of verification reports/ UCs by the DWSMs. No GP was selected for NGP during 2012.
Audit further noticed (November 2012) that though Centre fixed a target for construction of 71.52 lakh toilets in the State during the project period 2001-12, OSWSM could achieve only 55 per cent (39.25 lakh) cumulatively as of March 2012.
It was further evident from 2011 Census data that out of 81.44 lakh rural households in Odisha, only 14.1 per cent households were having latrines which included 8.6 per cent households having water closet latrines, 3.4 per cent owned pit latrines and remaining 2.1 per cent other types. Thus, despite implementation of TSC in the State since 2001-02, the objective of access to toilets to all in rural areas by March 2012 remained largely unfulfilled as 85.90 per cent of rural households were deprived of latrine facilities.
No wonder close to 73 per cent of the recommendations of the government have been rejected by the Centre in the last three years.
According to an audited report on NGP, 43 out of the 63 recommendations were rejected in 2009-11. Of the 234 recommendation sent in 2010-11, 153 were found ineligible. The corresponding figures the next year, 2011-12, were 222 out of 270.