Vadodara: The Centre has set a target of construction of 10 crore toilets in the country by 2019 as a part of the government's ambitious 'Swachh Bharat Mission', Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav said on Sunday.
"Nearly 40 lakh individual household toilets have been constructed so far as part of the 'Swachh Bharat Mission' launched last year by Narendra Modi-led NDA government. The Centre is committed to end the practice of open defecation by 2019 as a token of tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary," Yadav, the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, told reporters in Vadodara.
"The 'Swachh Bharat Mission' aims to accelerate sanitation coverage so as to realise by 2019 its goal of clean India by providing access to toilet facilities in all rural households and taking up solid and liquid waste management activities in gram panchayats. The practice of open defecation will be brought to an end after construction of 10 crore toilets by 2019," he said.
Yadav assured the state governments to provide all assistance where pace of construction of toilets is slow. He highlighted the need for construction of adequate number of toilets in towns and urban habitats where open defecation is widely prevalent.
The Centre will support states to construct toilets in urban and rural areas to stop defecation in open or near the railway lines, the minister said. He assured his support to facilitate that all households must have at least one toilet to enable the family members, particularly womenfolk, to attend the nature's call in privacy.
Criticising the Opposition Congress for creating hurdles in the passage of Land Bill in both the Houses of Parliament, Yadav said acquisition of land is necessary for undertaking infrastructure development projects, including drinking water, construction of roads and power projects.
He also criticised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for undertaking a fast against the Land Bill issue and pushing his state "50 years behind in its development."
Yadav said that the NDA government will ensure supply of clean and adequate drinking water to all rural areas of the country by 2022 under which every person staying in urban or rural areas will get 90 litres of water per day, as compared to the 40 litres per day provided at present.
He said 74 per cent of the 90 crore people staying in the country's rural areas get water and efforts are being made to provide water to the remaining people who will also get an assured minimum water supply.
Addressing the issue of major groundwater pollutants arsenic and fluoride in states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar, he said, "This is a big challenge. Everybody should get clean drinking water."
Noting that rural drinking water supply is a state subject, Yadav said the Centre will provide financial and technical support to supplement the efforts of states to provide adequate drinking water to the rural population. He congratulated the Gujarat government for setting up country's first water grid under which 78 per cent of the state's population gets drinking water through pipe lines.