New Delhi: 26 days, 20 constructions and an open defecation free (ODF) city. Patiala’s plans to go ODF sound like a race against time, but the confidence shown by Patiala’s municipal corporation, along with the civic body’s plan, has convinced the locals that the municipal corporation might be able to execute the plan. In areas throughout the city where no community toilets were present, the Municipal Corporation will construct community toilets every 1 kilometre. The civic body has also chosen September 30 as the date to declare itself ODF, as once the community toilets are built, Patiala’s quota of individual and public toilets will be complete, claims the municipal corporation.
The civic body has identified areas of Mathura Colony, Tafazalpura and Grace Basti as the three primary areas where 20 community toilets will be constructed. All these toilets will be equipped with eight toilet seats and will be constructed 1 kilometre apart from each other, as per Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) guidelines. Patiala Municipal Corporation has received a funding of Rs 1.25 crore for the construction project, of the requested Rs 2 crore from the state government. The civic body has completed planning and identified all the sites where the construction will take place, due to begin from this week.
The deadline for making Patiala ODF has been identified as September 30, and we will try to complete construction of these 20 community toilets within that timeframe. The city already has more than 50 public and community toilets, but three areas were lacking. Once these areas are covered by adequate public toilets, Patiala will become open defecation free, said Ankur Mahendru, Joint Commissioner, Patiala Municipal Corporation.
Patiala Municipal Corporation has also ordered for procurement of four mobile toilets, due to arrive in the city within the next two weeks. The mobile toilets will be installed in areas where the number of individual household toilets is low, and there is not enough space to construct public toilets. Despite low number of open defecation instances being reported in Patiala, the municipal corporation plans to continue working on providing more household and public toilets to people.
“Even if we gain the ODF status by the end of September, our plan is to provide household toilets to at least 1,200 more houses. More individual household toilets eases the burden on public and community toilets, which then become easier to maintain. We are especially focusing on seven to eight slum areas from where the number of household toilet applications is high. Once we finish constructing the toilets by the end of the year, a number of people will have access to sanitation facilities in their own households,” said Mr Mahendru
Patiala’s resolve in working towards its ODF deadline while completing construction of twenty public toilets is a good move. The city civic body’s zeal to continue working on providing more household toilets in the city complements the civic body’s plans to provide multiple sanitation options to people, so that they do not revert to open defecation again.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.