In Chhattisgarh, more than 10.31 lakh toilets which were built under the previous Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan (now restructured and replaced by Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan) have become unusable, HT found under the right to information (RTI) Act.
A letter written by Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh chief minister, to Nitin Gadkari, Union minister of rural development on July 3, 2014 said, “...The 2011 census, scheme management information system and 2013 baseline survey show that 10.31 lakh toilets in Chhattisgarh are currently not useable... It is necessary to reconstruct them if the goal of no open defecation by 2022 is to be achieved.”
When HT telephoned Chhattisgarh public health engineering (PHE) minister Ramsevak Paikra, he directed his spokesperson, TR Verma to reply. Verma said that the state had requested for reconstructing these toilets, which were built 2-3 years ago. “Now since the new government has accepted our proposal, we will ensure that toilet reconstruction work is done in a big way,” he said.
Apart from these unusable toilets, there are many others which are unfinished because of the funding flaws of the previous Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan.
Earlier for the construction of individual toilets, material cost was being provided under the scheme while labour cost came from MGNREGA and another sum came from each eligible household. While the scheme’s funds were being routed through district water and sanitation committees, MGNREGA funds came through Panchayati Raj institutions.
“...As a result, it has not been possible to carry out toilet construction in a time- bound manner and, at times, toilets are left unfinished,” Singh’s letter explained.
Under the new scheme, his suggestions have been incorporated and now, all the funds will now come from Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan funds and not through different institutions.