Declaring Jalandhar as an open defecation free (ODF) city still remains a challenge for municipal corporation Jalandhar (MCJ) even though it was acknowledged as the cleanest city in the state by the Union urban development ministry in 2014.
The social programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of having an open defecation free (ODF) environment is facing lacunae at multiple levels.
It has been learned that beneficiaries in the city have not received even a single penny from the state government while the funds received from the central government have not been spent for the purpose intended. The civic bodies here had identified 897 beneficiaries who will be receiving funds under the Swachh Bharat Mission last year.
Dr Shri Kishan Sharma assistant medical officer (AMO) informed that though 476 out of 897 beneficiaries have received a grant of Rs 2,000 but only 175 have constructed toilets so far.
“We have sent notices to all those who are yet to start construction even though they have received the grant,” said Sharma.
Under the mission, a beneficiary will get Rs 5,333 for constructing toilets in their households. The central government is to give Rs 4,000 in two instalments while the state government will provide a grant of Rs 1,333.
Officials said that thought the ministry had earlier announced that it will release the first instalment once the beneficiary gets verified by the government and second one when they start constructing the toilets but there are some changes in the process.
Now the beneficiaries will only receive the second instalment only after they have complete the construction. Since most of the beneficiaries under the mission belong to low-income groups, only a few have taken initiative in the completing the construction of toilets from their own pocket.
CHINKS IN IDENTIFYING BENEFICIARIES
MCJ last month had declared 29 out of 60 wards as ODF but the process through which these calculations have been made is inadequate.
The civic body has not done any kind of survey to identify the household.
The civic body here has only asked for the number of households from the councillors in their respective wards which clearly shows the numbers might be much higher than that projected by municipal corporation Jalandhar.
Officials said that Rama Mandi area of the city has got the largest beneficiaries.
As per the survey carried out in 2011, there were around 3,500 households in the city with no toilet facility.
The city currently has 15 public toilets maintained by Sulabh International.