SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir has achieved close to 99% sanitation coverage across the three regions, even as Kishtwar today became 15th district to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, as state estimates to be declared ODF by 15th of the next month.
This was informed as Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, Parameswaran Iyer and Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam Tuesday co-chaired a video conference with Deputy Commissioners to review the progress achieved under the SBM (G) Programme here at the Civil Secretariat.
Iyer also met Governor NN Vohra earlier today and briefed him aboutthe schemes and allocations of his Ministry for augmentation of drinking water infrastructure and sanitation in J&K; the to-date status of various initiatives being taken for Katra Vaishno Devi project under the Swachh Iconic Places Scheme. He informed that implementation of the Katra scheme is being reviewed regularly basis to ensure its timely completion.
The duo also discussed various programmes underway in the State under the Swachh Bharat Mission and to the date status of the recently launched ‘Swachh Survekshan’ in rural areas of the State.
Later, in the video conference with Deputy Commissioners, Iyer lauded the efforts of Governor’s Administration for the remarkable turnaround in reaching close to 99% sanitation coverage from 50% in the month of February, 2018. Also, the ODF verification which was at 5% in July 2018 is now at 50%.
Director General (Special Project), Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, Akshay Kumar Rout, Secretary, PHE Department, Secretary, RDD and other senior officers were present in the meeting.
Iyer observed that while across the country, sanitation coverage has reached 92%, it is due to the strenuous efforts of the Governor’s Administration in particularly DCs under the illustrious leadership of Governor, Advisors and Chief Secretary that in J&K sanitation coverage has reached close to 99%. He informed that the programme is being monitored by the Prime Minister, who is impressed by the phenomenal progress made by J&K in the last couple of months.
Having reached 99% sanitation coverage and poised to achieve 100% progress in the next couple of weeks, Iyer urged the State Government to now shift focus on achieving 100% ODF verification, which should be completed by September, 15, 2018 and geo-tagging and hiring of Swachigarhis. He said J&K will become eligible for next installment of funds after 100% ODF verification is completed.
Chief Secretary reassured that State Government will redouble its efforts towards successful implementation of the SBM (G) programme. He said 12 districts have already achieved ODF status and in the remaining 10 Districts, sanitation coverage is over 95%.
While setting a dead line of September 15, 2018 for all Districts to be declared and verified as ODF, Chief Secretary asked DCs to ensure that ODF verification and geo-tagging process is completed by all Districts within the same deadline. He also directed for hiring 50 Swachigarhis in each district besides promoting cleanliness and hygiene through effective and sustained public information campaigns.
Status of drinking and ground water in the State also came up for discussion during the meeting. Iyer assured that Government of India will provide required support to the J&K Government in projects aimed at harnessing ground water and augmenting drinking water facility and also support any proposal for externally aided project.
In this regard, Chief Secretary asked Secretary, PHE and I&FC Department to immediately start working on the project proposal(s) and submit the same in the next couple of months.
Meanwhile, Kishtwar district today became 15th ODF district in the state with 100% Toilet Coverage. A total of 41,558 toilets have been constructed as per Base Line Survey to provide toilet access to all the rural households under Sawachh Bharat Mission(G).
DDC Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana convened a simple gathering of officers of concerned line departments to declare district as ODF, keeping in view the national mourning on account of demise of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee besides loss of 20 precious human lives in road accidents at Kuligad Drabshalla and Noos Dool.