- Urban Kerala only needs 16 toilets to become open defecation free
- Rural Kerala turned open defecation free in November 2016
- The state is building 500 toilet complexes to put an end to open defecation
New Delhi: With more than 97 per cent of rural Kerala’s population has an access to toilet since November 2016, and were declared open defecation free (ODF) last year. A year later, the state is now gearing up to declare its urban counterpart ODF by January next year. It needs only 16 individual household toilets to declare the state free from open defecation. 92 of the total 93 urban local bodies (ULBs) have attained the ODF tag.
The toilet construction activity is currently in progress in Ernakulam district which consists of 14 ULBs. Thanthonnithuruthu, a water-logged area, under the corporation limit of the Kochi, will soon self-declare itself ODF, post which the state and centre will carry out a mandatory sanitary inspection. The Quality Council of India will then give an ODF certificate to the ULB to authorise the claim.
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A senior official from Suchitwa Mission, state’s nodal agency for sanitation, confirmed the news and said that a few civic bodies are waiting for the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ inspection after its self-declaration as ODF. Expressing hope that urban Kerala will be declared complete ODF by the end of January, the official said, “Even if it may take some more time for the construction of public toilets, the declaration will not go beyond March next year.”
He further said all the 93 ULBs will be under strict scrutiny to ensure that they sustain the sanitation. Every six months, state and central inspection will conduct follow up actions in this regard.
Many civic bodies have already completed self-declaration procedure and waiting for the inspection by the Centre team, the Mission official told PTI.
Even the state capital corporation of Thiruvananthapuram is yet to get the final nod from the Centre for third party inspection.
Since the inception of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, more than 27,000 toilets (27,729) have been constructed in urban parts and around 2 lakh toilets (2,27,258) in its rural area including critical areas like remote tribal hamlets and water-logged areas under the initiative.
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Talking about the obstacles in the cleanliness mission, the official said space constrains was a major challenge in the densely populated state, “In place of the ordinary latrines, fiber toilets have been constructed in water-logged areas especially in coastal Alappuzha and Kochi,” he said adding that keeping the places especially coastal areas open defecation-free is another challenge.
In a bid to fasten the process, the state recently announced a plan to build more than 500 public toilet complexes which will have over 3,000 toilet seats, each costing upto Rs 98,000. The complexes will be constructed in different areas of the state including beaches, parks, beside national and state highways, tourism centres and at the premises of major state-run institutions, including police stations.
The government’s plan is to set up over 500 public toilet complexes. Under this, over 3,000 toilet seats will be constructed. We can spend up to Rs 98,000 per seat, Suchitwa Mission Director (Operations) C V Joy said.
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With inputs from agencies