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Bihar, Goa Among States With No Open Defecation Free Districts, Says Govt

Among the states which had no ODF villages until December 22 were Bihar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Goa, Manipur, Puducherry and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:December 28, 2017, 2:47 PM IST
Uma Bharti
File photo of BJP leader Uma Bharti.

New Delhi: Three Union Territories and three states don’t have a single open defecation-free district, the government said in a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's signature Swachh Bharat plan started about three years ago with only 47,000 ODF villages, in a country of almost 6.5 lakh villages.

Among the states which had no ODF villages until December 22 were Bihar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Goa, Manipur, Puducherry and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

The state with the highest number of districts among all the above states and UTs is Bihar with 38 districts, out of which none of them have been declared as ODF, said Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharti.

The government also informed Parliament that the process of declaring a district ODF was through a “transparent process at an aam sabha meeting, where citizens of the village come together and affirm that the village has become ODF and that all households use toilets.”

To a question on whether the government was aware of “any independent rapid studies by sanitation researchers like Institute of Development Studies, Water Aid and Praxis claiming that several ODF villages have actually not been free from open defecation,” the government replied that since the study was on a “very small size sample and not rigorously conducted, the study cannot be generalised.”

The government informed that Institute of Development Studies and Water Aid undertook a research project to learn from the experiences of districts that had been declared open defecation-free. It was done in eight villages in Madhya Pradesh (3), Uttar Pradesh (2) and Rajasthan (3).

As part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, toilets were supposed to be constructed in people's houses in villages where none existed and then the villages were supposed to be declared open defecation-free.

According to recent reports, a probe by senior district level officials of Saharanpur, Meerut, Bulandshahr and other districts in western Uttar Pradesh, found that the nexus of officials on the ground and village head was involved in cases of corruption in the project related to the construction of toilets in several districts of western Uttar Pradesh.

However, replying to a question regarding irregularities in toilet construction in another question, the government said that “under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), the incentive for individual toilet has been increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000, to provide good quality toilets. As per Swachhata Status Report 2016, published by National Sample Survey Office, in rural India, of the households having a sanitary toilet, 95.6% were found to be using them.”

According to the data submitted by the government on Thursday, out of 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh, only six were declared ODF, while 69 others are still in limbo.

Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, and Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Chandigarh which had 100 percent ODF districts according to the data given by the government.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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