State to build 72,000 toilets to make Goa ODF by October 2, 2018
PANJIM: Against the backdrop of the Central Government declaring no districts in Goa as open defecation free (ODF), Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday claimed that 90 percent of the flush toilets constructed for families below the poverty line (BPL) are being used as store rooms and not toilets.
Parrikar said Goa would be ODF by October 2, 2018 with the construction of 72,000 toilets across the State. The project will be financed through NABARD. “The ODF mission of Government of India is also adopted by Goa. We propose to construct 72,000 toilets approximately by October 2, 2018,” the Chief Minister said addressing the State Credit Seminar 2018-19 organised by NABARD.
He recalled that the government in the past had constructed nearly 1.04 lakh sulabh toilets for BPL families to ensure there is no open defecation. “But unfortunately today almost 90 percent (of these) are used as store room. The scheme was misused,” Parrikar said.
“Hence, this time we are going for toilets fitted with bio-tanks, so that the sewage gets treated there itself and there is no discharge,” he said, adding that the cost of each toilet will run from Rs 40,000 to 45,000.
Stating that construction of these toilets is a major administrative challenge before the government, the Chief Minister recalled that during his recent visit to a village, it was brought to his notice that women there are forced to defecate in the open due to lack of toilet facilities.
“Yesterday I was in a rural area and I started inquiring with them about the toilets. I came to know that there are several village panchayats that are short of toilets by 100 or 200 or 250,” he said. “So I asked them what about ladies from the village. The locals said that they go early morning in the forest areas,” he added.
“I was embarrassed. My sensitivity does not permit me to have any Goan women going in the open to defecate,” the Chief Minister said.
“What is point in talking and saying we want to develop like Singapore if you can’t give toilets to everyone? What is point in fining people if you can’t provide them facilities?” he questioned.