Urban Areas in Kerala to be Open-Defecation Free
Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister on Tuesday has said he hoped that urban areas in the State would be free of open defecation by January next year.
Declaring the rural Kerala Open-Defecation Free (ODF), Mr. Vijayan has said that achieving total sanitation in crowded and a closely built-up city was an uphill task fraught with some of the difficulties.
Also, the availability of piped water was an issue. The government had to further factor in the large population of the migrant workers who have lived in labour camp conditions. Mr. Vijayan said “it was worthy of note” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now mentioned the State’s unique achievement in the latest episode of Mann Ki Baat, his monthly radio address to the country.
PM Narendra Modi invited to make the ODF declaration
The government had also planned to invite Mr. Modi in order to make the ODF declaration. However, the Prime Minister, due to a schedule has fixed much earlier and has also pleaded his inability to make it to Kerala on November 1.
The national average of toilet availability was around 54 per cent of the total population. In Kerala, the percentage was almost 96. It was not financial but a high standard of living and some pronounced civic sense that has brought about the achievement. The four per cent gap in availability of toilets had been made up.
But, still the rural Kerala could not claim to be totally open-defecation free. It still remains a task to persuade people to change their old habits and use toilets.
Waste on the rail tracks
He said human waste on the railway tracks was another issue that is further required to be addressed fast. The government had now raised the matter with the Centre. Ideally, only trains with a sewage storage tank should be allotted to Kerala. Water conservation measures would be also fast-tracked. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the government’s ODF campaign had bipartisan approval. The Opposition would support the campaign.