* 11 lakh households yet to have toilets
* 17,441 villages still to be Open Defecation Free
By OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 4: Despite the tall claims of the Assam Government that the State has achieved commendable progress in ‘Open Defecation Free (ODF)’ plan under Prime Minister’s Swachha Bharat Mission (Gramin) (SBM-G), the hard fact remains that there are still 11 lakh households and 17,441 villages across the 33 districts in the State that are yet to have sanitary toilets. The crux of the matter is that despite availability of adequate Central share of funds, the Mission has not taken off as it should have been.
The ODF plan was launched on October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti), 2014 across the country. It was slated to be completed within October 2, 2019. According to the plan, the Central Government focused on the requirements of toilets in individual households. Under the Mission on the launching date in Assam, there were 32,74,933 households without toilets in the State. On January 1, 2018, there are still 11,11,970 individual households without toilets in Assam.
It may be mentioned that the responsibility of completions of the ODF plan in Assam is reposed on the Department of Public Health Engineering -Sanitation (PHED-S). The vision deadline of the ODF plan as set by Assam Chief Minister was within 2017 which is long due. As official data reveal, the PHED-S has failed to fulfill the CM’s vision within that year (2017). The total villages in Assam where ODF Assam drive has not yet started are 17,441.
Sources revealed to The Sentinel that ODF Assam work is progressing at sil’s pace (working progress at the rate of below 70%) in the following seven districts: West Karbi Anglong (40.91%); Hojai (60.75%); Karbi Anglong (60.98%); Tinsukia (65.25%); Barpeta (65.9%); Biswath Chariali (66.94%); and gaon (69.8%). The ODF plan is reportedly going on at more than 80 % in the remaining 26 districts of the State. Under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)’, there is a provision of an incentive of Rs. 12,000 for the construction of individual household latrine (IHHL) to each beneficiary under Below Poverty Line (BPL) households and also to identified Above Poverty Line (APL) households(all SCs /STs, small and margil farmers, landless labourers with homesteads).
The Central share releases under SBM (G) for construction of toilets to rural areas households in Assam under the Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation during the last three years and the current fiscal have been as follows:
2014-15: The Central share release (CRS) was Rs 185.78 cr, and Assam Government utilized Rs. 121.24 cr; in 2015-16 the utilization has been more than the CRS i.e. utilization was Rs 484.35 crore as against CRS of Rs 474.27 crore. In 2016-17, the CRS was Rs 747.58 crore while utilization of the State Government was Rs 568.23 crore. In 2017-18, CRS was Rs 712.92 crore while the utilization up to January 1, 2018 was Rs 413.83 crore.
According to sources, in 2014-15 the Assam Government constructed 1,50,735 sanitary toilets (across the State)while 4,63,045 toilets were constructed in 2015-16. Similarly, in 2016-17, 10,54,912 toilets were constructed; and in 2017-18 (up to January 1) 4,84,271 sanitary toilets were built across the State.