Can Union Territories Of India Achieve The Tag Of Open Defecation Free By March 2018?

New Delhi: After three years since the inception of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mega cleanliness drive – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the sanitation scenario in India has definitely improved over what it has been for decades. From mere 38.70 per cent in 2014 to 67.93 per cent today, the sanitation coverage has made five states and more than two lakh villages attain the status of open defecation free. Till now, over four crore toilets have been constructed but country’s Union Territories (UTs) lag behind, as till date of the 16 urban local bodies in the UTs, only three New Delhi Municipal Council, Chandigarh and Mahe in Puducherry have attained the tag of Open Defection Free.

The Target

Recently, the target to declare all the Union Territories open defecation free by March 2018 was set by their respective governments.

Chandigarh – An ODF City

Chandigarh attained the tag of open defecation free back in 2016 by providing around 6,000 individual toilets and approximately 2,000 community toilets, the municipal corporation also provided 418 relocatable toilets at various colonies and villages to stop open defecation. After 6 months, Chandigarh community toilets and relocatable toilets became popular for their pathetic and filthy conditions and defeated the purpose for which it was initially set up – to end open defecation.

From sanitation to Swachh Rankings, the city saw a dip in its rankings in the recently held Swachh Survekshan which assessed 434 cities across India. Chandigarh was ranked 11 this year slipping from its position of No.2 cleanest city from 2016.

Also Read: Waste Management Woes: Once India’s Most Planned City, Why Chandigarh Is Slipping In Swachh Abhiyan

Puducherry To Go ODF By October 2, 2017

The target to declare Puducherry open defecation free has been set for October 2, 2017. Till date, one of the four districts of the Union Territory – Mahe, has been declared free from open defecation. As per the data, the Union Territory lags behind in providing toilets in its rural areas, the sanitation coverage as of September 25, is 49.11% which is regarded as the ‘Lowest Individual Household Latrines Coverage’ as per the Ministry of Drinking and Water Sanitation. In urban areas, around 900 individual toilets and 200 community toilets have been constructed.

Various initiatives are being taken to meet the ODF deadline by the authorities, from organising Cycle Rallies to holding Cleanliness shramdaan, Puducherry is doing it all to spread awareness. Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, herself has been visiting various pockets of the UT, every Saturday and Sunday, on a cycle with other officials, to ensure the effective implementation of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Mahe District In Puducherry Goes Swachh, Declared Open Defecation Free, Kiran Bedi Congratulates The Citizens
Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, Kiran Bedi spreading the message of ‘no to open defecation’

Also Read: Kiran Bedi Pulls Up Chennai Airport Officials Over ‘Unclean Toilet’

Andaman Nicobar Island To Go ODF By March 2018

As per Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs,  Andaman Nicobar Island has constructed zero toilets in its urban areas whereas in rural areas it has managed to build 1,333, which is an increase of just 2% in three years. In 2014, the sanitation coverage was 53.77% whereas today it is 55.06%.

Lieutenant Governor of Andaman Nicobar Island, Jagdish Mukhi announced recently during his Swachhata Hi Seva initiative that the Union Territory will achieve the target of ODF by March 2018. However, Capital Port Blair is expected to attain the title of ODF by October 2, 2017.

Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Daman and Diu plus Dadra and Nagar Haveli’s sanitation coverage in rural parts is high – 86.49% and 80.62% respectively. In urban areas, Daman and Diu has constructed  669 toilets and for Dadra and Nagar Haveli has built around 1,145 toilets. According to the officials, by March 2018 both the UTs will be able to attain the tag of Open Defecation Free.

Though a strict deadline has been set for the UTs to go ODF, yet a significant change has not been witnessed,  Urban Development Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra also asked the officials of the concerned union territories recently to speed up the construction of toilets which is necessary to achieve the ODF status within the deadline.

Here’s the Swachh Report Card 

Please Note: Delhi is neither a State, nor a Union Territory, it is formally known as National Capital Territory of Delhi. However, the government for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan includes the local civic bodies of New Delhi under Union Territory list.

Lakshadweep is an Indian union territory, however it is not included in this article as the data of it is not available on Government dashboards.

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