State

World Toilet Day observed

Things far from satisfactory despite ODF claim

World Toilet Day was observed on Monday through several programmes meant to sensitize the people on the importance of the matter. Those who addressed the commemorative gatherings said that a lot is left to be done despite the governments both at the Centre and in the state claiming to have made several states open defecation free. This year’s campaign is focused on the imperative of having a toilet. But the reality across the country as well as in Uttarakhand is that a large number of people have no toilet to ease themselves. Besides, as per the environmentalists, the practice of defecating in the open is dangerously contaminating the water and the soil. They say that the toilets and sound sanitation systems must be built while they stress on setting up bio-digestor toilets. Uttarakhand was declared the fourth open defecation free (ODF) state in the country a year ago, but the ground reality is grim, said the brand ambassador of Swachh Bharat Mission for Roorkee, ‘Swachh Shri’ Ramesh Bhateja. “The best way of sewage disposal is sewage line but at certain places like schools in the remote areas and villages where sewage line is not laid, septic tanks are set up. In areas where the water table is high like on the banks of Ganga, readymade septic tanks should be used. In the remote areas, people also use fly ash bricks for the septic tanks.” He further said that the attempts made by the government are falling flat thanks to some practical problems like the absence of the water facility. “Besides, some water tanks are not safe as they have no boundary wall,” he said. However, using a clean toilet and keeping it clean must be made a habit, stressed Bhateja.A visit to the slum areas around the fabled ghats would reveal how the practice of defecating in the open still continues. The people are seen carrying water bottles in the morning to answer nature’s call. Abandoned toilets stinking for the want of water are still a common sight in the district.  Men easing themselves freely at the public places in the cities and the towns are also seen despite the district administration has made it unlawful.The specialists say that though 34.6 percent villages in India have declared themselves ODF factors like absence of water availability, sensitization about the proper use of toilets, want of cleanliness and maintenance are negating the ODF advantage. They add that there should be regular, third-party evaluation to ensure that the surveys are done independently. “No comprehensive survey has been conducted by the government so far,” admits the district project manager Swach Bharat Grameen, S K Rai.The government is doing random physical verification of all the domestic toilets built after October 2, 2014 when the project was kicked off by the Centre. But the monitoring being random is not serving the purpose it is meant to. Under a scheme by Peyjal Nigam, 1,07,000 toilets have been built in 308 villages of the district since the campaign was launched. However, things in the cities are still dismal. In the shopping complexes, the places meant for toilets are being sold out by the builders for other purposes.  Many point out the fact that except for one Sulabh Shauchalaya, there is no public toilet in the main Haridwar city which sees footfalls of lakhs of pilgrims nearly daily. read more posts… Tuesday, 20 November 2018 | Radhika Nagrath | Haridwar

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