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Over 1.8 Lakhs Villages ODF+, Government Hoping To Double It This Year: Official

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Grameen Phase-II was launched in February 2020 with the aim to ensure that all villages in the country can declare themselves as open defecation free (ODF) Plus by the end of 2024

Over 1.8 Lakhs Villages ODF+, Government Hoping To Double It This Year: Official
More than 1.8 lakh villages out of 6 lakh in the country have become open defecation free plus (ODF+), said Vini Mahajan, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation

New Delhi: Over 1.8 lakh villages in the country have achieved Open Defecation Free-Plus (ODF+) status so far and the government will attempt to double the number this year, an official of the Drinking Water and Sanitation department said. Areas working towards sustainability of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status to ensure proper maintenance of toilet facilities are categorised as Swachh Bharat Mission ODF+. SBM Grameen Phase-II was launched in February 2020 with the aim to ensure that all villages in the country can declare themselves as ODF Plus by the end of 2024.

Also Read: 5 Toilet Technologies Best Suited For Waste Management Locally

Vini Mahajan, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, told PTI,

In SBM Grameen Phase-II, we are also working for comprehensive sanitation in our villages, through effective solid and liquid waste management. This includes biodegradable waste management, plastic waste management, greywater management and fecal sludge management, leading to villages becoming ODF+.

“We are encouraging generation of both biogas and compressed biogas, and manure from organic waste under the GOBARdhan scheme. We hope to see segregation of waste at household level, and door-to-door collection in more and more villages. Plastic waste management units should be set up in each block,” she added.

The GOBARdhan scheme aims to support villages in safely managing their cattle waste, agriculture waste and organic waste.

Fecal matter in rural settings can be best handled in situ through twin pit toilets, and in case of septic tank-based toilets, mechanized de-sludging and linkage with sewage treatment plants need to be done, Ms Mahajan said.

Also Read: 941 Workers Died While Cleaning Sewers Or Septic Tanks: Government

She said,

Similarly, in situ management of grey water, through household soak pits, is preferred, with community soak pits and other solutions also available for large dense villages. All these are being pursued vigorously.

“As we move forward on all these issues, the need for convergence between various sources of funds, especially MGNREGA, Fifteenth Finance Commission tied grants and SBM(G) funds, and the combined efforts of the different departments operating these schemes on ground will be emphasized,” Ms Mahajan added.

She said more than 1.8 lakh villages out of 6 lakh in the country have become ODF+. “We hope to see this number double this year,” Ms Mahajan added.

On Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide functional tap water connection to all rural households, she said the ministry will try to provide tap water connection to as many households as possible.

Also Read: Eco-friendly Toilets Can Eradicate Open Defecation And Help Manage Waste Effectively

She said,

Our vision for 2023 is to achieve connectivity for as many households as possible. As we progress into 2023, we will speed up groundwork in the remaining villages of the country to ensure connectivity.

“We will continue to help the state governments with technical expertise and support in getting clearances from various agencies. This support can be varied. It can be getting clearance for land, securing environmental clearance for laying pipelines in a particular area. We will encourage a saturation approach, covering all the households in a village, and certification by the gram sabha as ‘Har Ghar Jal’ village,” Ms Mahajan added.

Till now, over 11 crore rural households have been provided functional tap water connections, while around eight crore are left.

Also Read: Jal Shakti Ministry Launches 100-Day Campaign To Create More Open Defecation Free (ODF) Plus Villages

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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