CONFUSION PREVAILED at Janpad panchayat office and Rural Engineering Services Department (RES) over granting technical approval to the financial estimate prepared by Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) for constructing toilets at houses in villages under sanitary mart scheme.
It all began when a missive from Janpad panchayat asked RES to grant technical approval for the estimate. RES engineers resisted the move stating that the prices quoted for setting up single toilet unit in the PHED estimate is 60 per cent less than the actual cost and therefore it would be difficult for them to grant technical approval. Although the government has increased sum from Rs 500 to Rs 1500 for construction of a toilet, RES said it would cost not less than Rs 5,000 per unit.
The RES personnel also wanted to know whether government is giving this grant as a financial assistance and villagers would be required to contribute the remaining sum for the purpose.
In the two-part estimate, PHED has priced the door at Rs 140 though no door costs less than Rs 2000. Likewise, China latrine sheet priced at Rs 130 is not available in the market for less than Rs 150. The cost of bricks, cement and sand too has been quoted well below the market rate. During course of deliberations, RES engineers maintained that it was practically not possible to build good toilets that could last for at least 10 years under the given estimate.
The confusion was cleared later when district panchayat office ruled that RES has no role to play and it was PHED that would supervise the entire project. The district panchayat office also made it categorical that sum of Rs 1500 was being given as an incentive to a village householder who would be asked to pool in the remaining sum.
In all 26 villages in the district will be developed as Nirmal Gram this year, which makes it mandatory for every house in that village to have an individual toilet. Only five out of 100 village households have toilet facility. The government has launched sanitary mart scheme to prevent defecating in open.