PANAJI: On September 1, 2019, Goa became the first State in the country to be declared open defecation-free (ODF) and the coastal State received much appreciation including applause from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, data shows that about 1850 households are still without toilet facilities due to space constraints and are provided with community latrines.
Non-availability of land the reason?
Reasons like non-availability of land or disputes concerning the land identified for the toilet or Panchayat not allowing constructing the Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) due to non-payment of beneficiary share forced the Directorate of Panchayats to close the IHHL scheme in May 2022.
As against 19,959 beneficiary names received from the local bodies, the Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) -- the executive agency -- was able to construct or supply only 18,109 bio-digester toilets till last year. It has also managed to set up around 500 community bio-toilets.
It was also learnt from the Corporation that there are some beneficiaries, who have even demolished the constructed toilets stating that they either “don’t need it” or “not use to it”.
Swachh Bharat Mission
Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by Modi on October 2, 2014, to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation. The Mission aimed to achieve Open Defecation Free India on October 2, 2019, as a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth Anniversary.
Since its launch, State governments have been on an overdrive to declare their States ODF with or without the provisioning of toilets. “According to the guidelines, if households have space constraints, they should be able to access a community toilet within a distance of 500 meters. And our government has managed to provide that facility to those 1850 households,” a GWMC official said.
The GWMC had in the past written to the Directorate of Panchayat on several occasions to resolve the issues of these 1850 beneficiaries, but the department was not in a position to resolve the same.
“Furthermore, the limited resources of GWMC were getting exhausted in these land conflicts without any positive outcome. Further, it was decided by the government that the Directorate of Panchayat will close the IHHL Scheme and the GWMC shall close the IHHL work by May 2022,” the official said.