- Urban civic bodies allocated budgets in excess of Rs 100 crore last year
- Lacklustre performance of municipalities prompted setting of deadline
- Telangana constructed over 2 lakh toilets since Swachh Bharat Abhiyan began
With just three weeks to go before India celebrates its 70th Independence Day, the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Ministry of Telangana has set a deadline of August 15, for all of the state’s 173 towns to go open defecation free (ODF). Holding a video conference with municipal commissioners of all urban local bodies in the state on July 21, K.T. Rama Rao, Minister of Municipal Administration and Urban Development set the deadline. The conference was held to review the progress of the state’s ODF status.
The state has set a target of declaring itself completely ODF by April 2018. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), 73 cities in Telangana were identified as cities which were given a target to go ODF by October 2, 2017. The new deadline is applicable to towns with a smaller population so that only the rural areas could be focused on for the state to achieve its ODF target by April 2018.
In its journey to become completely ODF by April 2018, Telangana has achieved significant success till now. 620 gram panchayats and three Assembly constituencies have become completely ODF. Earlier in July, Minister K.T. Rama Rao had severely reprimanded several municipal corporations for being lacklustre in utilising funds. Throughout 2016-17, no major construction work was taken up by urban civic bodies in the state, despite a sanction of Rs 100 crore to the municipalities of Karimnagar, Ramagundam, Khammam and Nizamabad. The District Collectors were given special instructions to ensure that there was no delay in beginning the work on construction of public toilets and were asked to personally monitor the progress of these constructions.
The Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation, which has been allotted Rs 600 crore by the state government has also been asked to go completely ODF by August 15, 2017. Along with focussing on toilet construction, the state government of Telangana has also taken steps to improve the solid waste management mechanism in the state. Around 200 auto-rickshaws have been procured by the Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation, which will be inaugurated on Independence Day. These will collect garbage directly from key collection points and transport it to waste treatment plants. The municipalities of Karimnagar and Nizamabad have also begun the process of acquiring special garbage collection vehicles which would start the work from August 15.
The division of ODF targets has ensured that Telangana can focus properly on towns, villages and cities to achieve its target. With only three weeks to go before Independence Day celebrations kick in, it will be interesting to see how all the municipalities of the state achieve the ODF target.