The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has expressed unhappiness over the tardy pace of Swachh Bharat mission, one of PM Narendra Modi’s pet projects aimed at making India clean and free of open defecation by 2019.
Nripendra Mishra, principal secretary to the PM, made the PMO’s views clear at a review meeting around a fortnight ago when he told officials from the urban development ministry that there was not “sufficient buzz” about the government’s flagship project and more needs to be done to create awareness, sources revealed.
The urban development ministry is implementing the project in 4,041 towns across India.
The sources said the PMO was also not happy over the slow pace at which the ministry was going about providing solid waste management facilities in urban areas.
“The PMO wants the ministry to not limit its focus to building toilets only but also address proper collection and disposal of solid waste,” said one of the sources.
The government has earmarked Rs 1.96 lakh crore to build 13.04 crore individual household toilets, over five lakh community and public toilet seats and provide solid waste management facilities by 2019, coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
In the current fiscal, a little over Rs 5000 crore has been allocated for the Clean India campaign.
Till October, around 5.9 lakh toilets have been built against the target of one crore but the progress on solid waste management front has been abysmal, according to official data. Senior urban development ministry officials, however, blamed the state government for the poor progress in providing solid waste management facilities.