President to declare urban Maharashtra open defecation free on October 1
In 2015, Maharashtra announced its intention to become open defecation free in the next two yearsmumbai Updated: Sep 29, 2017 10:08 IST
President Ram Nath Kovind is set to declare urban Maharashtra open defecation free (ODF) on October 1 at Worli. This decision was made after all the urban local bodies (ULB) in Maharashtra were declared ODF. The state government has asked them to monitor the situation to ensure that this status is maintained.
The President will visit the state to inaugurate the international airport at Shirdi near Pune. He will then visit Mumbai and the state’s 384 ULBs comprising 27 municipal corporations including Mumbai, 256 municipal councils and 101 nagar panchayats.
In 2015, the state announced its intention to become ODF in the next two years. In June that year, it adopted the concept of ‘ODF city’, where sanitation facilities should be provided to ensure that no one is found defecating in the open.
To ensure its feasibility, the state allotted Rs17,000 to build each toilet. It adopted a convergence of funds method and developed a three-tiered mechanism to verify its implementation.
“The Centre provides Rs4,000 to build a toilet. This was found to be inadequate when it came to encouraging people to use a toilet. We thus decided to increase this amount to Rs17,000 by adding Rs8,000 from the state and Rs5,000 from grants being received under 14th finance commission,” said Manish Mhaiskar, principal secretary urban development department.
Questions have been raised over claims that the state is ODF. Mhaiskar said a three-tier system was put in place to verify this status.
Once a ULB is declared ODF, a district level committee verifies the claim and then a state validation committee comprising state officials, NGO representatives and journalists check its validity.