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Can Barmer become ODF by end of 2017 with 70% work remaining?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set October 2, 2019, as the deadline for the country to become open defecation free but Rajasthan’s cabinet minister Surendra Goyal, who’s in charge of Barmer, set a different deadline for the border district for the ODF tag

jaipur Updated: Jul 30, 2017 19:15 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan news,open defecation free,Prime Minister
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to make India open defecation free by October 2, 2019, but progress is slow in Rajasthan’s Barmer. (HT File Photo.)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set October 2, 2019, as the deadline for the country to become open defecation free but Rajasthan’s cabinet minister Surendra Goyal, who’s in charge of Barmer, set a different deadline for the border district for the ODF tag. When he was in Barmer earlier last week, he said the district should become ODF by December 2017.

However, considering the progress of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBM), the national sanitation programme for construction of household latrines, in Barmer, the new deadline looks unachievable.

SBM data shows that only 28% households in the districts have toilets now.

According to a 2012 survey, there are 4.5 lakh households in the district; 3.61 lakh of them didn’t have toilets in 2012. In four years, 108,848 household constructed toilets but this is just 28% of the household which were without latrines until 2012.

In terms of villages, out of 1,970 villages in Barmer, only 523 have become free of open defecation. This is just 27% of the total villages.

There are 489 gram panchayats in the district. Out of them, only 173 are ODF, which is again only 29%.

So, in all respects, around 70% of the target remains to be met for the district to become ODF.

Considering the situation and to fulfill the targets Barmer district collector Shivprasad Madan Nakate has taken an initiative and announced a ‘Cleanliness Award’. Under this collector will invite village Sarpanch on coffee whose panchayats will get ODF tag.

Nakate said that he is expecting that this initiative will motivate the village sarpanches to personally look after the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s’ progress in their area. “We are also expecting that this initiative will help us to achieve the ODF target at the earliest, says collector.”

On the other villagers have alleged official apathy for legging behind in the ‘Swatch Bharat Abhiyan’. They alleged that authorities are not serious towards the campaign. Hemraj Choudhary, a local resident said that people in this region are belongs to backward section and financially they are not able to ensure such facilities.

According to Hemraj when government announced to support them with motivational amount rupees 12 thousand on construction of toiled people come forward and constructed toilets. Hemraj claimed that thousands are there who have constructed the toilets but now they are waiting for the motivational amount.

“Sometimes in the name of physical verification or other times in the name of budget crunch they were avoided for the payment. It is limiting their participation, he added.”

Countering such allegation authorities claimed that earlier they have faced budget crunch but now they have sufficient budget for the campaign and soon who have constructed the toilets will paid.

M.L.Nehra, chief executive officer at Zila Parishad in Barmer said that minister in-charge of the district Surendra Goyal has directed them to achieve ODF tag by December 31, 2017. He said that considering the topographical situation of the area though it seems difficult but also maintained that as people are now aware about the program and are supporting them, they are hopeful that they will achieve the tag by the deadline.

First Published: Jul 30, 2017 19:14 IST