NEW DELHI(PTI): The government is far from meeting its sanitation target of building a toilet for every household by 2019, a green body on Friday said and claimed its analysis shows that less than 8,000 toilets were constructed in 2015-16 against the target of over 2 lakhs in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a toilet for every citizen of India by October 2, 2019, the year when the country will celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of (Mahatma) Gandhi. Our analysis says that is easier said than done in fact, the NDA government might find it easier to win the election than to fulfil this promise,” said Richard Mahapatra, managing editor of Down To Earth, a magazine run by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
In this first-of-its-kind assessment, Down To Earth Hindi has analysed the toilet building performance over the last two years in constituencies of a number of central ministers, chief ministers and a few opposition leaders.
“In 2015-16, a mere 7,327 toilets were built in Varanasi, Modi’s constituency against a target of 2,34,489 (till October 2019). At this rate, the target cannot be met before 2048,” it said.
Sunita Narain, director general of CSE said, “This analysis by Down To Earth Hindi is also to remind us that building toilets is only a small part of the movement towards access to sanitation for all.” “Firstly, as we build toilets, we must ensure that they are used, that they are functional. Secondly, we must have clear answers to questions of how can we manage and treat our waste, our excreta,” she said.
In the case of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, whose Lok Sabha constituency is Lucknow, the achieved number is 5,332 against a target of 1,86,177. Singh can hope to reach the target only by 2051, it said.
Similarly Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple has a target of 5,47,739 toilets to be built by October 2019 in her Lok Sabha constituency Kannauj but managed only 8,309 and at this rate, she will take 66 years to reach his target by 2082. Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, Rae Bareli, has a target of 2,87,703, and the achieved number has been 6,581; the expected year of completion is 2060, the analysis said.
Other key political figures whose performance has been assessed include External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The analysis estimates that 82.3 million (or 823 lakh) toilets are yet to be constructed across India by October 2, 2019.
“This means the country needs to build 2.3 million (23 lakh) toilets every month or a formidable 56 toilets every minute to meet the target! As per our estimation and going by the prevailing rate, India will not be able to meet its target by 2019 as promised by the Prime Minister but only by 2022,” said Sushmita Sengupta, programme manager-water, CSE, and the lead author of this analysis.