Swachh Bharat: Long Road Ahead For Odisha, Bihar, UP
On several occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called his pet project, the Swachh Bharat Mission, a success, at home as well as outside. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also claimed the country could become Open-Defecation Free (ODF) by October 2, 2019.
Linking the mission to liveability and dignity of lifestyle, Jaitley had said, “The Swachh Bharat Mission has benefited the poor. Under this mission, the government has already constructed more than six crore toilets. The positive effect of these toilets is being seen on the dignity of ladies, education of girls and the overall health of the family. The government is planning to construct around two crore toilets.”
The reality, however, is quite different.
So far, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala and Union territories such as Chandigarh and Daman and Diu boast a 100 per cent ODF status. Interestingly, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on its official website says that 17 states and union territories have already been declared ODF. The ministry’s website also suggests that Odisha, Bihar, Tripura, Goa and Uttar Pradesh are far from getting that status.
According to the lastest Swachh Survekshan 2018 report, 1.13 crore complaints have been resolved. Indore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Vijaywada, Ghaziabad, Kota, Nagpur and Navi Mumbai are among the top cities in the category of cities with over 10 lakh population.
Among small cities with population ranging between 3 lakh to 10 lakh, Mysuru, Bhiwandi, Parbhani, Aligarh and Mangalore are among the top cities.
In terms of cities with still smaller population, that is between 1 lakh to 3 lakh, New Delhi, Bhusawal, Girdih, Ambikapur and Tirupati have emerged winners.
There surely is a long way to go.