Only 35% of funds used in 3 years ending March 2012: CAG report

Only 35 per cent of the Rs.15.90-crore provided by the Union government for solid and liquid waste management in 14 districts of the State was utilised during the three years ending March 2012. A number of below the poverty line (BPL) households were not provided with institutional household latrines under the Total Sanitation Campaign as there was no comprehensive assessment of the beneficiaries in rural and tribal areas.

Of the Rs.15.90 crore earmarked for the 14 districts, only Rs.5.54 crore was utilised for the solid and liquid waste management as on March 2012, as per a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for Local Self-government Institutions that was tabled in the Assembly. In Ernakulam, Kasaragod, Kollam, and Alappuzha districts test-checked by the CAG, only Rs.1.35 crore of the Rs.4.81 crore was utilised.

The CAG audit looked into the period from 2006-07 to 2011-12. The State Suchitwa Mission was the nodal agency for the programme, which aimed at covering all the rural facilities with household latrines to eliminate open defecation. The latrines were installed at the panchayat level. Till March 2012, 11.21 lakh latrines were constructed all over the State under the campaign at an expenditure of Rs.131.75 crore.

Lack of initiative

Many of the community sanitary complexes constructed under the campaign in public places were not properly maintained owing to lack of initiative from the panchayats. As on March 2012, 664 complexes had been constructed across the State at a cost of Rs.10.70 crore.

Praise too

However, the CAG lauded the good practices adopted by the complexes at Nadakkavu in Kasaragod and Karunagapally in Kollam.

In the case of institutional toilets, the CAG found that there was a shortage of 17,759 toilets/urinals in 3,080 schools in the State. Girl-friendly toilets were not available in 2,912 (94 per cent) of the 3,087 girls and co-educational schools in the four districts. The directive to the government to provide facility for disposal of sanitary napkins/cloths in the girl-friendly toilets was not implemented.

The guidelines stipulate that each anganwadi should be provided with baby friendly toilets. Of the 4,234 anganwadis functioning in government buildings in the four districts test-checked, 2,641 had no baby friendly toilets and 54 did not have toilets at all.

The performance of the component relating to the establishment of rural sanitary marts and production centres for making available sanitary latrines and sanitary facilities at affordable cost was also poor.

Waste from houseboats

The CAG found that 800 houseboats that take 4,000 tourists daily for a cruise through the backwaters of Kainakiri in Alappuzha were discharging 29 tonnes of solid waste and 5.8 tonnes of human excreta into the waters annually . No plant for treatment of discharge from the houseboats had been set up till December 2012.