- Over 18,000 toilets have been constructed in Andaman and Nicobar islands
- Implementation of Swachh Bharat objectives began in 2015-16 in the islands
- Andaman and Nicobar is now looking to secure ODF plus status
New Delhi: A dilapidated complex with barely four hours of running water daily to keep it functional and zero maintenance that was what a toilet meant for the inhabitants of Diglipur village in Andaman just a year ago. Today, the village boasts of toilets across all 175 of its households, all constructed over the last six months. Transformation stories such as these are what have made Andaman open defecation free (ODF), as announced by the Lieutenant Governor Admiral D.K. Joshi on May 4.
Rural Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been declared ODF, and the announcement comes six months after urban areas of the islands were declared ODF. Over 18,000 toilets have been constructed in the islands since October 2014 and all 560 villages are covered with individual household toilets. Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ sanitation coverage was languishing at 47 per cent in 2014 and the island administration took nearly two years to assess the situation and begin the work on improving household sanitation in rural Andaman and Nicobar. In three years, the state’s rural development department not only took stock of the situation, but also assisted the local administration in construction of toilets.
Sanitation in the islands saw major improvement in the past three years, ever since local administration took it upon themselves to construct toilets. Representatives from the rural development department went from village to village, informed people about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, how they will receive Rs 12,000 for construction of toilets and how to maintain them. The mission’s success is visible to all of us today, said an official form the Department of Rural Development, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Andaman and Nicobar Lt. Governor D.K. Joshi praised the rural development department for the islands’ ODF status. Praising how the department has been instrumental in implementing the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s objectives, the Lt. Governor said that it was a collective responsibility of the citizens of the islands to ensure that the toilets were used and maintained regularly.
Popular participation in the islands in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been great and though the number of toilets to be built was less compared to any larger state, the enthusiasm shown by people has been the crux of Andaman and Nicobar’s successful Swachh story. We are now confident that people will themselves work towards using and maintaining the toilets they have helped to build, said Anindo Majumdar, Chief Secretary, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The islands are now looking to move towards securing the ODF plus status, and have already begun work on solid liquid waste management. ODF status secured, the islands continue to spread sensitisation among people through regular campaigns, as well as in schools to ensure that students remain invested in the cause of Swachhta. Andaman and Nicobar’s ODF status makes it the fourth union territory to achieve the distinction, and brings the country a step closer to realising the national ODF dream by October 2019.