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Patiala district declared open-defecation free by Union govt

Patiala is now among 11 open-defecation free districts in Punjab.

punjab Updated: Oct 02, 2017 21:56 IST
Ravneet Singh
Ravneet Singh
Hindustan Times, Patiala
open defecation,Akshay Kumar,toilet

The Union government declared Patiala district as open defecation free (ODF) on Saturday. With this, Patiala is now among 11 open-defecation free districts in Punjab, which is striding towards achieving the status of an ODF state with the likes of Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

On Monday, deputy commissioner (DC) Kumar Amit said the Union government declared Patiala as ODF on September 30. He said that in March, the district had only 90 ODF villages, but after awareness programmes aimed at educating and informing villagers, the administration successfully achieved the goal.

According to a baseline survey conducted in 2011, as many as 33,000 toilets were to be constructed in the district. Officials said that many households were not eligible for the grant as per the eligibility criteria. The requirement then came down to 22,000 units.

Of these, 19,000 units have been constructed and the remaining 3,000 units will be completed within a month, said the official. District sanitation officer (DSO) Jasbir Singh said, “Only the task of putting up doors and seats is left and it will be completed in a month’s time.”

The administration received a grant of Rs 32 crore, all of which, as per the officials, was distributed in the villages. The amount was distributed in three instalments of Rs 5,000 each at different stages of completion monitored through village-level gram panchayat water and sanitation committee (GPWSC).

“People have constructed toilets according to their requirements, which has helped cut undue profit taken by the contractors. At places, people have spent over Rs 1 lakh. With this, the open area around villages has become clean and spread of diseases has gone down,” said the district sanitation officer.

“Motivational programmes were organised across Patiala. As a result, all 928 villages in the district have been declared open-defecation free, including those where families are sharing toilets,” said the DC.

In July this year, the municipal corporation (MC) hired a Faridabad-based company to set up 20 public toilets at different spots under the civic body’s jurisdiction. Over Rs 3 crore was spent by the company for this project.

As per officials in the MC, the civic body has called for tenders to maintain over 35 toilets in its jurisdiction. The corporation will spend around Rs 15-20 lakh for the repair and maintenance of all toilets.

First Published: Oct 02, 2017 21:53 IST