Tamil Nadu becoming Open Defecation Free by 2015 – Current situation and Challenges – Loksatta Party solutions
Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 @ 11:07AM
The President’s Speech yesterday in Parliament had focus on Rural Sanitation which said, “We must not tolerate the indignity of homes without toilets and public spaces littered with garbage. For ensuring hygiene, waste management and sanitation across the nation a “Swachh Bharat Mission” will be launched. This will be our tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary to be celebrated in the year 2019.”
The CM of Tamil Nadu who has welcomed this has stated, “I have set a more ambitious target of Tamil Nadu becoming Open Defecation Free by 2015 and we will redouble our efforts to achieve this challenging goal and look forward to Government of India’s support.”
Lets have a look at the ground level reality of open defecation in Tamil Nadu. Loksatta Party Leaders Mr. Jagadheeswaran & Mr. Jaiganesh who were on a Bike Campaign throughout Tamil Nadu to create awareness about Right to Service in the months of Jan & Feb 2014 resolved to rest in villages every night.
Narrating his experience Mr. Jagadheeswaran said “The sanitation facilities in all the villages were shocking to us. To name a few, a village called Puthupakkam in Kancheepuram which is just 60 kms away from Chennai had toilets built under “Integrated Sanitary plan” which were unusable because of no maintenance. Everyone in the village had to defecate in the open. Another village in Kacheepuram district named Vallipuram coming under Thirukalukundram Taluk also had toilets built under “Integrated Sanitary plan” which were in an unusable condition as there were no taps and the space built for the toilet was so small making it very uncomfortable for one to sit. Our next stop was at Kiliyur village in Villupuram district where the toilets which were built previously had undergone renovation but kept locked so that nobody can actually use it. We then proceeded to Killai, which is a Fishermen village in Cuddalore district where there were no toilets at all.”
”Throughout the trip in all the villages where we stayed all the people – men, women of all ages defecated in the open. It shows that the Govt doesn’t care about the maintenance, there were rampant corruption in building toilets and there is water scarcity as well,” Mr. Jagadheeswaran added.
As per Government reports, including the 10 crores that was allocated for constructing 77 integrated sanitary complexes in 73 town panchayats in Jan 2014, Govt has spent more than 500 crores for building and renovation. But all that money is spent unwise because of the reasons mentioned above.
In such a scenario, the Tamil Nadu CM’s ambitious goal is ridiculous and preposterous. This shows that our CM is not at all appraised of the scheme implementation details.
The latest Indian Census data for 2011 has confirmed that that while 53.2% of households have a mobile phone, only 46.9% Indians have toilets. According to the figures, 49.8% of the population defecate in open with a sheer 3.2% people who use public toilets.
As the percent of those who use public toilets is very low, Loksatta Party suggests two solutions to address this issue – Integrated Sanitary plans can be made successful by Decentralization (and district governments) thereby curbing corruption and making the implementation more efficient. Also it will be more ambitious to build house-hold toilets rather than Integrated ones as it will increase toilet usage and makes the maintenance easy.
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