Kerala, Haryana top sanitation survey


The Hindu

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BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and NDA-ruled Bihar were among the worst performers

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on Tuesday released the findings of the survey of 1.4 lakh rural households, undertaken by the Quality Council of India (QCI) between May and June this year.

The survey, covering 4626 villages across all States and Union territories, claimed that 62.45% of the households had access to a toilet.

The survey also pointed that 91.29% of the people who had access to a toilet also used it, indicating a change in sanitation behaviour.

Northeastern States of Sikkim, Manipur and Nagaland were top performers with 95% rural households covered by toilets. And so were the Himalayan States of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand with over 90% toilet coverage of the rural houses.

Interestingly, BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and NDA-ruled Bihar were among the worst performers in terms of rural sanitation. In Bihar, only 30% of the rural household had access to toilets while Uttar Pradesh was marginally better at 37% . Another BJP-ruled State, Jharkhand, too scored the same as U.P.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home State fared better in terms of rural sanitation as 85% of rural households had access to toilets.

Apart from Kerala, Tamil Nadu was the other performer as 79% rural households had access to a toilet. However, neighbouring Puducherry scored poorly with just 43% .

“Look, it is not even six months since we have come to power in Uttar Pradesh but the way the Chief Minister has taken up the issue of cleanliness and sanitation, I am sure in the days to come both Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will see improvement,” asserted Narendra Singh Tomar, the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, when asked why some BJP-ruled States did not score high despite Prime Minister Modi’s emphasis on Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission.

To instil a competitive spirit at the ground level, Mr. Tomar announced that his ministry would now start ranking all districts in terms of sanitation coverage and solid and liquid waste management. The results would be announced on October 2 when Swachh Bharat Mission completes three years but the rankings of the districts would be based on the data that the ministry collects between July and September.

In the run up to the 70th Independence Day, the Ministry has drawn up a plan to celebrate a “Freedom from Open Defecation Week.”’

Mr. Tomar also announced that on Saturday he and his colleague, Uma Bharti, will travel to Allahabad to declare 24 villages by the banks of the Ganges — also called Ganga grams — as model Ganga villages. From Uttar Pradesh, 10 model Ganga villages have been chosen while Bihar has four Ganga villages. Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand are the other States that figure in the list of model villages. The Minister reiterated that 77 Central Ministries had a sum of ₹12,000 crore for the Swachh Bharat campaign and every Ministry should pitch in. “I think this provision of every Ministry having its own fund is a milestone. After all, the campaign isn’t about one Ministry but the entire country and society,” Mr. Tomar said.

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Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai Wed, August-9-2017, 5:16
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