The Uttar Pradesh government today said it had elbowed out other states in the construction of toilets, with over 3.52 lakh units being built over 17 days under the Centre’s Swachhta hi Seva campaign.
The toilets were constructed between September 15 and October 2, an official statement said. UP was followed by Rajasthan, which constructed 2,54,953 toilets, and Karnataka, which got 2,41,708 toilets built in the same period, it said.
As many as 18,24,549 toilets were constructed across states, the statement issued by the office of chief secretary Rajive Kumar said. On September 4, nagar panchayat Sahanpur in Bijnore district was declared open defecation free by the Centre, it said.
“The state government has requested the Centre to declare 12 nagar panchayats and other local bodies of the state open-defecation free (after a third party inspection),” it said. Kumar has instructed officials to expedite work, so that 653 urban local bodies of the state could be declared open- defecation free by May 2019.
Instructions have also been issued to raise the amount given for construction of personal toilets from Rs 8,000 to Rs 20,000 under urban local bodies, the statement said. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik said it was more important for a household to have a toilet than a place of worship. Even if you do not have ‘devghar’ (place of worship), you must have toilets,” he said.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath thanked the president for launching the campaign in his home state. The UP government has been associated with the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and has constructed 10 lakh toilets so far. The target is to construct 78 lakh toilets by December 31, 2017 and make the state open defecation free (ODF) by October, 2018. I have written a letter to all the village heads for their support in this regard,” he said.
The chief minister said four districts – Shamli, Bijnor, Hapur and Ghaziabad – had been made open defecation free, while by December 31, 2017, 30 districts would be brought under the ODF category, and by October next year, all the 75 districts in in the state will become open defecation free.
We have made an anti-land mafia task force and the land freed from thus will be utilised for construction of houses for poor,” he said. Speaking on the occasion, Union Drinking Water Sanitation Minister Uma Bharti noted the the main idea behind the campaign was to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of clean India and meet the prime minister’s target of making the entire country open defecation free by 2019.
The government is confident of fulfilling the prime minister’s vision of making India open defecation free by October, 2019,” she said. The sanitation initiative, which is being coordinated by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation, will include ‘Shramdaan’ or voluntary work.
The nation-wide campaign will see mobilisation of people from all walks of life, including the prime minister, Union ministers, CMs, MPs and NGOs to undertake ‘Shramdaan’ for cleanliness and construction of toilets and make their surroundings free from open defecation.
It will target cleaning of public and tourist places too. The ministry has made elaborate plans along with the state governments to reach out to poor and marginalised and provide them with sustainable sanitation services.