Mizoram, India’s most literate state next to Kerala, has no homeless people. This north-eastern state also scores a high – 93.4% – in sanitation. So says the 2011 census for housing, household amenities and assets.
“Out of 221,077 households in our state, 65.8% live in their own houses and 31.8% have rented accommodation while the rest live in staff quarters,” said Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla. “The census indicates we have no homeless people although 2.8% live in houses marked dilapidated,” he added.
Most of the houses (62.3%) have been categorized ‘good’ while 34.9% are ‘liveable’.
Landlocked Mizoram has also excelled in sanitation with 203,185 of the 221,077 families possessing latrines within the premises of their houses and 3,342 families (1.5%) using public latrines while 14,550 people (5.5%) defecate in the open.
The more accessible, connected and touristy Meghalaya on the other hand has a disappointing 34.3% of its 538,299 households defecating in the open. On the brighter side, the households not possessing latrines marginally decreased from 48.8% in 2001 to 37.1% in 2011.
Meghalaya’s report card on rural electrification was also dented with the percentage of those ‘not having any source of lighting increasing from 0.1% in 2001 to 0.9% in 2011. Overall, however, 60.9% of the state’s households were electrified compared to 42.7% in 2001.
More than electricity, Manipur’s problem has been access to fuel for cooking. The militancy-mauled state, says the latest census, has 65% of its 6.09 lakh people dependent on firewood. Incredibly, 57% of them possess cell phones.
Manipur’s mark of 65.7% household firewood users is much above the national average of 49%, the census data reveals. In contrast, only 29.7% people use cooking gas while 0.2% households use kerosene for cooking.
“Ukhrul district has the most firewood users (93.1%) followed by Tamenglong district with 92.9% while Imphal West has the lowest percentage of 39.8,” said Manipur’s director of census operations Y Thamkishore Singh.
Manipur, though, has fewer firewood users (72%) than Assam, where 25.8% of its 63.7 lakh households across 26,000 villages and 214 towns have no homes and kerosene is the main source of light for 61.8%. Of these households, only 54.8% have drinking water facility within their premises while 44.1% avail of banking services, up from 20.5% in 2001.