New Delhi: 33 lakh households of Rural Punjab have a toilet coverage of almost 84 per cent, giving the Punjab government hope of achieving open defecation free (ODF) status by end of this year. The assurance was given by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to Union Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parmeswaran Iyer during the Swacchaton1.0 event on Wednesday organised in Chandigarh. Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Chief Minister also promised to focus on solid and liquid waste management in rural areas once the region is declared ODF.
— Param Iyer (@paramiyer_) August 16, 2017
Besides discussing various issues ranging from sanitation coverage to rural water supply schemes, Mr Iyer also conducted video conferences with all the Deputy Commissioners of the state and reviewed the ‘Swachh & Swasth Punjab Mission’. Praising the Swachh model adopted by Punjab to increase its sanitation coverage, Mr Iyer said that other states should also replicate the state’s model.
Mr Iyer also shared the results of the survey on sanitation coverage conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI). As per the results, of the total newly constructed toilets (since 2014), 98 per cent of them are being utilised. The third party verification also revealed that 84 per cent of families in rural Punjab have full toilet coverage.
As per the data given on Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, while districts like Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Moga are nearly touching the 100% Individual Household Latrine Application (IHHL) Coverage, districts like Pathankot (40.41%), Gurdaspur (57.71%) and Fazilka (59.76%) are lagging behind in terms of sanitation coverage.
To swiftly move towards the ODF mark, the government in June had announced a new scheme ‘Swachh Punjab, Swasth Punjab’ to provide clean drinking water to every household along with a toilet. Under the scheme, the government recently celebrated the ‘Khule Main Shauch Se Aazadi’ week during the Independence Day week from August 9-15. During the week creative competitions were conducted in rural areas with an aim to bring about a behavioral change against open defecation.
If Rural Punjab goes ODF, then it’ll be the sixth state in India to achieve 100 per cent toilet coverage after Kerala, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, rural Uttarakhand and rural Haryana.