- J&K’s sanitation coverage has improved only to 51.35 % from 20.38 % in 2014
- Only 3 (Kargil, Leh, Srinagar) out of 22 districts in the state are ODF
- Despite the slow progress, J&K aims to go open defecation free by October 2
New Delhi: After four years of the launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014, the sanitation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is still among the worst in India as only three (Kargil, Leh, Srinagar) out of 22 districts have attained the open defecation free (ODF) status. With around 49 per cent of households without a toilet, the state’s sanitation coverage has improved only to 51.35 per cent from 20.38 per cent in 2014. According to the data available on Swachh Bharat Mission dashboard, over 4 lakh (4,14,391) individual household toilets have been constructed in rural J&K. Though the J&K government’s aim is to go ODF by October 2019, but the track record so far, does make the target seem like a tall order. Concerned about the poor sanitation status of the state, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that sanitation should be made the first priority for Jammu and Kashmir, which is famous for its tourist destinations.
The prime minister, during a review meeting on the progress of his flagship Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), recently interacted with the chief secretaries of various states and enquired about the steps taken so far by their governments to declare all the districts in their respective states open defecation free.
Had an in-depth interaction with collectors of UP, Bihar, Odisha as well as Jammu and Kashmir. During the meeting we reviewed the progress towards ODF targets in the respective states. https://t.co/r4x2Oa4FGe
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 13, 2018
Apprising the prime minister about the progress made by the state in this regard, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Secretary BB Vyas said the state has achieved over 50 per cent coverage of individual household toilets till now and that it will increase up to 60 per cent by April 10, 2018. Mr. Vyas, who assured the Prime Minister of achieving the target in prescribed time, said the state has to cover over 6.83 lakh toilets for which a detailed month-wise report has already been prepared and targets have been fixed for each district.
Prime Minister Modi, according to an official spokesperson, asked Mr. Vyas to cover Jammu province in mission mode (make it ODF) before the Durbar Move (a century-old practice in which the government functions for six months each in the two capitals of the State, Srinagar and Jammu) to Srinagar, the summer capital of the state.
Also, the chief secretary was told by Prime Minister Modi to make efforts on making all district en route to the Amarnath Yatra open defecation free, the spokesperson further said.
Jammu & Kashmir government, which aims to make the state open defecation free by October 2019, in its annual implementation plan under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), has laid emphasis to speed up the construction of individual household toilets. The government has also made it mandatory for all government employees, including the teachers, police personnel, anganwadi workers among others to have a toilet at home. Underscoring the importance of Swachh Bharat, the government has asked all the stakeholders to improve the sanitation coverage and has appealed all the Deputy Commissioners of the state to personally monitor implementation and increase their efforts at the district level.
With inputs from PTI