A big leap in building toilets

While the target is to construct 12 crore toilets by October, 2019, the Centre built 87 lakh toilets against the targeted 60 lakh last year.— File photo  

A year after the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission, the construction of toilets in the country has seen a quantum leap and the target set for building toilets in its first year has exceeded by 446 per cent.

Aiming to build 12 crore toilets by October 2, 2019, to realise the vision of making India free from open defecation, the Centre constructed 87 lakh toilets last year of the targeted 60 lakh.

Disclosing this in Mysuru on Thursday, Swachh Bharat Mission Director (Rural) Nipun Vinayak said the target for March end this year was to construct 1.2 crore toilets and 75 lakh had already been built. “We may exceed the target on constructing toilets this year too,” he said.

37,000 villages lead the way

Speaking on the sidelines of the 103rd Indian Science Congress, Mr. Vinayak said 37,000 villages had been declared “open defecation-free”. Every day, new villages are being added to the list as new guidelines had been introduced on declaring them open defecation-free. “Our idea is not just to build toilets but to free villages from open defecation by educating the masses through various initiatives,” he said.

Mr. Vinayak said toilets were being constructed even before the launch of the mission but the numbers had gone up staggeringly. In 2012-13, 46 lakh toilets had been built and 50 lakh in 2013-14. The number went up to 59 lakh in 2014-15. The figures climbed with 75 lakh toilets constructed in 2015-16, thanks to the mission.

“The target was to build 60 lakh toilets in the first year of Mission but the number went up to 87 lakh,” he said in reply to a question.

Mr. Vinayak said the access to toilets as per the 2011 census was 30 per cent. Our baseline survey revealed accessibility was around 38 per cent. With extra thrust on sanitation, the accessibility had now touched 49 per cent with increase in toilet coverage, he said. In response to question, the director said States had been given free hand in working out strategies under the mission with sanitation being the major subject. While the Centre provides 60 per cent funding, the States provide the remaining.

“Collective behavioural change is the core of the mission and people have to change their mindset on sanitation and help realise the goals.”

Mr. Vinayak also spoke on public-private partnerships in Swachh Bharat Mission. Sanitation expert Indira Chakravarthy, MCC Commissioner C.G. Betsurmath, and representatives from the industries were present.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 10:50:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/A-big-leap-in-building-toilets/article13987594.ece

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