Patna, July 23: The state government today vowed to end the practice of open defecation by 2019 as a token of tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, reports PTI.
It also pledged to construct 1.21 crore toilets over the next five years covering all households in Bihar.
“As many as 40 lakh toilets have been constructed in Bihar under various state and central schemes and 1.21 crore more toilets would be constructed over the next five years to ensure meeting the target of one toilet per household,” public health and engineering department (PHED) minister Mahachandra Prasad Singh said in state Legislative Assembly.
Replying to the debate on tardy pace of toilet construction in Bihar initiated by JDU MLA Izhar Ahmed, he said the practice of open defecation will be brought to an end after construction of 1.61 crore toilets covering each household by 2019 and it will be a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.
Gandhi had spoken about sanitation facilities in households and abhorred the practice of defecation in open places, the PHED minister said, adding that the state government's ambitious target to cover all households with toilets will be a tribute to the great leader.
Regretting tardy pace of construction of toilets in Bihar, Singh said it was a matter of concern that Bihar has been left behind even by states like Sikkim in providing sanitation facilities for the people, including women. “Sikkim and some other states have achieved cent per cent sanitation facilities, but we have been able to cover only 25 per cent households with such facilities owing to a slew of factors,” he said.
The minister spoke for need of construction of adequate number of toilets in towns and urban habitats where the practice of defecation in the open has been widely prevalent and stressed for construction of sanitation infrastructure on a public-private partnership mode.
He urged the Centre and railways in particular for support to build toilets in urban areas to stop open defecation.