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Over 40,000 families lack toilets, yet Barmer district gets ODF tag

Chief executive officer said the district was declared ODF as it had achieved targets set on the basis of the baseline survey, 2012.

jaipur Updated: Jun 27, 2018 21:59 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times, Barmer
Rajasthan news
When the toilet drive was on, a large number of families informed officials that they had been excluded from the baseline survey.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) officials have declared Rajasthan’s Barmer district open defecation-free, but a recent survey revealed that 43,054 families in the district have no toilets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared to make the country open defecation-free by October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Centre announced that toilets would be provided to households covered under the baseline survey, 2012 of SBM under the aegis of the ministry of drinking water and sanitation. Going by the survey, SBM officials found out that of the 3,94,321 households in Barmer, 47,782 have toilets. The remaining 3,46,539 families were to be provided toilets under SBM; officials achieved the target in March this year and declared Barmer open defecation-free.

Official data shows that 8280 toilets were constructed in 2013-14; 8113 in 2015-16; 55,733 in 2016-17; 1,14,860 in 2016-17 and 1,59,553 in 2017-18.

When the toilet drive was on, a large number of families informed officials that they had been excluded from the baseline survey. Local leaders and panchyati raj representatives also raised exclusion of families from the SBM ambit, blaming political rivalry and negligence by the survey agency.

The state government directed officials recently to conduct a fresh survey to find out the families deprived of toilets. Conducting the fresh survey, officials in Barmer invited applications from the deprived families in May. “In the survey, we found that 43,054 households have no toilets,” said ML Nehra, chief executive officer at Barmer zila parishad.

Asked why then the district was declared open defecation-free, Nehra said, “Targets were set on the basis of the baseline survey, 2012. After achieving the targets, the district was declared open defecation-free.”

He said there could be many reasons why 43,054 were deprived of toilets. “It might be because of negligence by the survey agency or political rivalry as alleged by local leaders. Also many families have come into existence after 2012,” Nehra said. “We have sent the findings of the fresh survey to the government. These families will be provided with toilets after we get the permission.”

Like in the case of toilets, more than 1.5 lakh families in Barmer, who were not covered under the 2011 socio-economic and caste census, were not counted for the PM’s housing scheme benefits. After the Centre’s directive, the families were later listed as eligible for housing under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

First Published: Jun 27, 2018 21:59 IST