Individual toilets needed: Minister

Assam needs more individual toilets than community toilets to self-declare its towns as open-defecation free (ODF) under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

By Raja das in Guwahati
  • Published 13.09.18
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Dignitaries at the event. Picture by Raja Das

Guwahati: Assam needs more individual toilets than community toilets to self-declare its towns as open-defecation free (ODF) under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

"Community toilets are not feasible in the towns of Assam as most of the people do not use these. Rather than spending on these, individual toilets must be provided with a target to self-declare the towns as open-defecation free (ODF) within the month of January," Assam minister of state (independent charge) for urban development department Pijush Hazarika said.

Hazarika was addressing officials from urban local bodies of Assam and other northeastern states during the Swachh Survekshan, 2019, a regional workshop here on Wednesday.

The Swachh Survekshan is a survey conducted under the Swachh Bharat Mission by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs to rank cities and towns on various sanitation and cleanliness parameters.

Under the 2019 survey that is going to be held from January 4 to 31, a total of 4,041 cities, comprising more than one lakh population are to be assessed across the country. Altogether 96 of these cities are from Assam.

"A total of 24 of these 96 towns in Assam are yet to be self-declared as ODF. So far, only 26 towns are self-declared as well as declared by the third parties as ODF, whereas the remaining 20 towns are yet to be declared as ODF by the third parties," Hazarika said.

"The work under the Swachh Bharat Mission is yet to reach its expectation. Funds under the Swachh Bharat Mission have arrived and we will release it within 15-20 days," Hazarika said.

"ODF, ODF+ and ODF++ are the important protocols of Swachh Survekshan, 2019, on the basis of which the towns will be assessed and certified. ODF simply means access to toilets, ODF+ means proper operation and maintenance of the toilets and ODF++ means taking care of the entire sanitary management. Apart from this, regulatory enforcement for the implementation of waste management rules and institutional digitisation are the new additions, under which the towns will be assessed," Central Swachh Bharat Mission, New Delhi, member Sanghamitra Bhattacharya said.

Guwahati witnessed an improvement in its rank from fourth position in 2016 to second position last year among the towns of other northeastern states.

The workshop was also attended by Assam mission director Nazreen Ahmed and Assam urban development department secretary Monalisa Goswami.