Maharashtra asks its mayors, corporators to keep check on open defecation
The state government has asked urban local bodies to organise ‘good morning’ and ‘good evening’ teams to visit spots frequently used for open defecation and report any occurrence to the state urban development department.mumbai Updated: Sep 12, 2017 15:08 IST
With less than a month to go for its target to completely rid urban Maharashtra of open defecation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government has decided to rope in mayors, corporators and senior bureaucrats to take rounds of cities and ensure that people are not defecating in the open.
So far, of Maharashtra’s 384 cities and towns, about 44 are yet to get the ‘open defecation free’ tag from the state government, while the rest have since 2015 gone through three levels of scrutiny to be certified open defecation-free. Besides ensuring that these 44 get the state government’s certification before October 2, officials also want to ensure that towns and cities that have already received this certification have not slipped.
A senior official associated with the state’s ‘Swachh Maharashtra’ (Clean Maharashtra) campaign said, “We have been running a campaign to make urban Maharashtra open defecation-free since 2015. It is possible that there is a recurrence of open defecation in the urban local bodies that were declared free of open defecation early on in the campaign. By October 2, we want urban Maharashtra to be open defecation-free in its true sense, so we have stepped up vigil.”
The state government has asked urban local bodies to organise ‘good morning’ and ‘good evening’ teams again to visit spots frequently used for open defecation and report any occurrence to the state urban development department. “We have issued directions to mayors and corporators of urban local bodies too to participate in these vigils from time to time to add to the seriousness of the exercise,” the official said.
The Narendra Modi-led Union government is implementing a Swachh Bharat (Clean India) campaign to build sufficient good-quality toilets and inculcate the habit of using these among people to make the country open defecation-free by 2019. The Maharashtra government decided to go one step forward and set an ambitious target of making urban Maharashtra open defecation-free by October 2, 2017.
Besides mayors and corporators, the government has made it mandatory for senior bureaucrats too to take rounds of the city. For municipal councils and nagar panchayats, the government expects chief officers to compulsorily participate in the vigil. Similarly, for C and D class municipal corporations, the municipal commissioners are expected to walk along with the teams, looking out for instances of open defecation, while for A and B class corporations, the government has given this responsibility to additional commissioners and deputy commissioners. All urban local bodies have to send a daily report to the state government on a Whatsapp group at 11am stating whether the teams found any instances of open defecation, and the steps being taken to remedy any such instances.
Besides, the state urban development department has also directed all urban local bodies to implement a cleanliness drive from September 15 to October 1, involving ensuring toilets and the approach road are clean, toilets have proper water and electricity supply and educate people to use them.