Kendrapara: Contrary to the Centre’s claims on the status of open defecation-free (ODF) states under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)’, ground report from one of the districts of the state speaks otherwise.
At Kandaripada revenue village under Mahakalapada block in the district it is found that about 14 families of the total 100 have been provided with toilets while the remaining are deprived of the basic necessity.
This is not limited to Kandariapada village only but there are many villages in the state which are still languishing in neglect.
Sources said despite achieving an accelerated economic growth of 8.4 per cent, Odisha is still lagging behind in rural sanitation with 84.5 per cent of households having access to toilets against the national average of 96.5 per cent.
Odisha is the second worst performing state after Goa in construction of individual household latrines (IHHLs), the flagship programme of the Centre under SBM.
A 2012-survey estimated that Odisha had Individual Household Latrine coverage of 10 per cent, one of the lowest among major Indian states. Since the state started with a low base, it took some time to gather momentum for construction of toilets. Defecating in the open has been an age-old practice across the country.
The construction of household latrines is just one part of the solution. The most important aspect is to bring about behavioural change through a community approach to sanitation. Bringing about a behavioural change and reinforcing that behaviour amongst the masses requires time. Hence, although the progress in the state has been slower as compared to other states, activists hope to not just achieve ODF status but also sustain it.