HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

51% Bihar homes have mobiles, 23% toilets

Rai Atul Krishna, Hindustan Times  Patna, August 24, 2014
First Published: 20:24 IST(24/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:28 IST(24/8/2014)
Around 51.6% households in Bihar have at least one mobile phone, whereas only 23% have toilets, according to the 2011 census data released last week.
The toilet coverage is 69% in urban areas of the state and 17.6% in rural areas.
"In a poor and feudalistic state that is Bihar, a mobile phone serves to liberate the lesser heeled from societal control. It provides reach and accessibility, giving the people a sense of power," said DM Diwakar, director of Patna think-tank AN Sinha institute of social studies.
Public health engineering department (PHED) minister Mahachandra Prasad Singh admitted on Sunday that the situation in the state had improved only marginally since the 2011 census.
"Even today, the overall toilet coverage in Bihar stands at just over 25% of all households", Singh told HT.
The centre's total sanitation campaign (TSC) launched in 1999 to encourage construction of latrines (IHHL) for every household through financial incentives had made slow progress in Bihar, the minister admitted.
The ministry of drinking water and sanitation figures released in August show only 47,61,388 toilets have been built under the flagship scheme, as opposed to the target of 11,171,314 toilets.
"We need to construct 1.67 crore new toilets in Bihar to meet our target of covering all households in the state by 2019. As of this moment, I am rushing to New Delhi to seek the centre's support for this," Singh said.

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