If things go according to plan, three districts of West Bengal —will be open defecation free by September 30, 2016. The districts are —Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore. The state government has decided to celebrate April 30 as Nirmal Bangla Diwas. But it could not be held on that day due to Assembly election.
The day will be observed on September 30. A function will be held where the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will declare the districts open defecation free. It may be mentioned that Nadia has already been declared as open defecation free district where 3.50 lakh toilets have been constructed.
Dibyendu Sarkar, commissioner, Panchayat and Rural Development department said the schemes had been made in such a way that all the districts of the state would be open defecation free by October 2, 2019.
In Hooghly, the baseline survey found that there were no toilets in 2,64,027 houses. However, the target has been fulfilled. Similarly, the target has also been achieved in north 24 Parganas where it was found that 1,81,449 homes did not have toilets. However, in East Midnapore, out of 2,12,730 houses where there no toilets were found in the baseline survey, 195429 toilets have been built so far. The remaining 17301 toilets will be built within the next two months. Sarkar said, “Burdwan, south 24 parganas, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, Birbhum, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling will be open defecation free in 2017-18.”
While constructing toilets under the Swatch Bharat Mission, the panchayat and Rural Development department faced some problems while constructing toilets. It was found that some households had been kept outside the baseline survey. Now, the construction of toilets in these household is mandatory. Second important issue is that in many households, it has been found families have split and a new house has come up.
The split has taken place after the baseline survey was carried out. Hence, the new household does not have a toilet and even if the construction of a toilet in the new house is a must. Thirdly, many toilets which were constructed before the Swatch Bharat Mission which came in on October 2014 need immediate repair but no funds for these toilets have been kept under the scheme. “These glitches will be ironed out and every household in West Bengal will have toilet by October, 2019,” Sarkar maintained.