FROM A CORRESPONDENT
GOALPARA, March 31: A larger section of the people in Goalpara district are still using open space for defecation as the coverage of Total Sanitation Campaign(TSC) in the district of Goalpara is found to be in a very poor condition.
According to a baseline survey of Minority Concentrated Districts, conducted by Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, out of 40 surveyed villages in the district though 62 percent of the villages are reported to have sanitation facility, but yet the number of village households having septic tank sanitary facility is about only seven percent. Also the coverage of TSC in the villages which were surveyed is not very good as about only 15 percent of the households are reported to have been benefited under it.
During an interaction with some of the tive villagers of the Gosaibari village and Paschim Dairang village, it has come to light that very often the money allotted for the construction of toilets under TSC is blocked into the pockets of the intermediaries involved in the implementation process.
According to some local sources of the village, major discrepancies are also seen in the beneficiary selection process. While large number of people in the district with better living condition and already having toilets have been found to be benefitted under the scheme, many BPL people are deprived of their rights.
The absence of close monitoring mechanism at the block, district and panchayat level could be one of the reason for such poor performance of the scheme in the district, the report said.
The TSC, now known as Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) is a community led total sanitation program initiated by Ministry of Rural Development in the year 1999. NBA is a comprehensive programme to ensure sanitation facilities in the rural areas with the broader goal of eradicating the practice of open defecation so as to ensure good health among the villagers. NBA is implemented in a campaign mode by taking village panchayat as the base unit.
In order to bridge the gap and bring out more transparency in the implementation process of the scheme ACTED under the aegis of European Union (EU) along with active implementation of NEICORD is actively working in the project of improving access to information and delivery of public scheme in the seven backward districts of North East including Goalpara, said Thonghomang Haokip, Programme Director of NEICORD.
There is special emphasis on the Goalpara district, which is one of the most backward district of the region and hence it has been picked up by the ACTED project. A number of workshops, awareness campaign etc are being organized in the remote isolated village of this district as dissemiting correct and updated information to every household of this backward districtsrelating to ten government schemes including TSC(NBA) has been the prime motto of the ambitious project.
Mintu Debth, the Communication and Documentation officer of ACTED believed that the gap between service providers and beneficiaries could be met only when the people are socially aware regarding their right and this would happen only when people are able to access correct and updated information regarding the schemes.