Madhya Pradesh has fallen way short of its target of building toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in the rural areas in 2015-16, slipping to the fourth spot from the third it held last year.
Official figures show that Madhya Pradesh has built 9.32 lakh toilets in 2015-16 as against 5.21 lakh toilets in 2014-15. The state had set an ambitious target of building 18 lakh toilets under SBM in 2015-16. Officials said that pace of building toilets was slow in the first half of the financial year when 3.45 lakh toilets were built.
More than 70 lakh households in rural Madhya Pradesh have no toilets and it is an uphill task for the government agencies to ensure that the state becomes open defecation-free by 2019 – a target set under Swachh Bharat Mission or Clean India Mission.
State coordinator for SBM, Hymavathi Varman, however, said her department was confident of meeting the goal of making the state open defecation free by 2019.
Madhya Pradesh was ranked third in the last financial year, behind West Bengal and Karnataka in terms of the number of toilets constructed under the Clean Mission. The state, however, has slipped to the fourth position in 2015-16. Rajasthan topped the list with 21.37 lakh toilets, followed by West Bengal with 14.12 lakh and Odisha with 12.67 lakh toilets.
The speed of building toilets has picked up since October 2, 2014, when the Centre launched SBM and de-linked the toilet construction under Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan from NREGA.
While the cost of building a toilet is about rs 12,000, funds are not an issue as the World Bank too is helping fund the SBM.
Construction of toilets alone does not guarantee that a particular village will become open defecation-free. According to NGO Madhya Pradesh Lok Sangharsh Sanjha Manch, “awareness about hazards of open defecation is poor. Even in rural houses where toilets have been built, most people avoid it due to behavioural patterns.”
Lack of running water is also a problem in most villages.
The Centre, under Swachh Bharat Mission or Clean India Mission, has set a target to make the country open defecation-free by October 2, 2019, which coincides with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Toilets by SBM rural (2015-16)
West Bengal 14,12,681
Madhya Pradesh 9,32,850