The Centre today said that State Governments are free to choose and adopt technologies approved by it to solve the problems of drinking water contamination and for to construction of cost effective toilets in the rural areas.
Addressing a workshop here on the subject, Rural Development Minister and the Minister of Drinking water and sanitation, Birender Singh said that more than 54 technologies have been approved so far by the Technology Expert Committee of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. He urged the states to adopt them as per the local needs on a priority basis as they are affordable, scalable, sustainable and socially acceptable. But Shri Singh cautioned that merely achieving the physical target to make the country open Defecation Free by 2019 will not help in achieving the dream of the Prime Minister. He added that the newly built toilets must remain operational and sustainable.
The Minister also lamented the fact that Corporate sector is not coming forward nor showing any dedication to build toilets in the rural areas and whatever is being done is done in a piece meal fashion. He also exhorted the NGOs to participate in the clean India Mission with renewed zeal and assured them all support in this regard.
Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav said that even after 68 years of Independence, more than 60 percent people in the country indulge in open defecation. He said this is not only shameful but this is also a big health hazard for the rural people particularly the children as drinking water gets contaminated. He said, women suffer more due to the absence of toilets in the rural areas and it is also directly linked with their security as most of the incidents of the rape happen when women go for open defecation. The Minister called for making swachhta that is cleanliness a people’s movement and laid stress on creating mass awareness for this.
Secretary, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Vijay Luxmi Joshi said that 7 crore toilets have to be built by 2nd October 2019, which she said is not a big challenge but the usage of the toilets is certainly a very big issue and for this mindset has to be changed. She said, another big challenge is that 85 percent of water used is from the groundwater which is getting slowly dried up and also getting contaminated and all should work together to reverse this trend. She informed that still more than 64,000 habitations in the country have the problem of water contamination and the technology is the only key to rectify the same. She also invited the corporate sector to avail the business opportunity in the areas of toilet and sanitary wares as huge number of toilets will be built in the next four years.
RA Mashelkar, former DG, CSIR and the Chairman of the Technology Expert Committee of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said that rapidly deployable cost effective technology is the need of the hour and he urged the stakeholders to participate in this mission with renewed zeal vigour. He said, Center had already approved more than 50 cost-effective technologies to tackle the problem of the water contamination and sanitation at the village level, but the challenge is to deploy them in a fast pace mode. Dr Mashelkar said, for recycling of the waste, not only Best Practice but the Next Practice should be adopted.