Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Nov 6:
The Sambalpur-based Water Initiative Odisha (WIO) has pooh-poohed the state government’s ludicrous plan to construct 15 lakh toilets by March, 2015.
“This means the state government has to build 5455 toilets per day till December 31st this year and 13333 toilets per day from January to March 2015. This is too unrealistic for a state where toilet construction rate per day so far this year has been a meagre 57 per day”, Panda said.
He said according to news reports, the state Rural Development Secretary of the state is said to have informed the Union government, during a teleconferencing, about this target to be completed under the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. While 3 lakhs of these toilets will be built by 31st December this year, the remaining 12 lakhs will be completed by 31st March 2015.
“The state has always lagged behind the national average in constructing toilets by a huge margin, Panda said, “Last year, the national average of toilet construction per day was 13, 634, it was only 92 in the state of Odisha. In fact, the previous year i.e. 2012-13 it had a better record of 324 toilets per day which has only gone down recently”.
“With such a poor record, the state government’s target is nothing but day-dreaming and set to fail. If at all the toilets are constructed in such a mad rush, the quality of construction is surely going to suffer, thus reducing the chance of their usability further,” said Panda.
In fact, a Swachh Bharat or Clean India cannot be achieved if the effort is limited to such target-based construction of toilets, he said, adding, “There is no guarantee that the toilets would be used. Besides building toilets, the government should ensure water supply and promote use of the toilets. Usability of toilets in rural Odisha is pathetically low at the moment. Then, it has to have proper management plan for the fecal sludge, which is almost absent at the moment.”