IMPHAL, April 18 - After Senapati, Bishnupur has become the second open defecation-free (ODF) district in Manipur. Six more districts will be declared ODF by July, according to official sources.
However, no official function has been held yet to announce the ODF district tag for Bishnupur. Senapati bordering Nagaland was declared the first ODF district at an official function held in the Senapati district headquarters, 60 km north of Imphal, on March 28.
Talking to reporters here today, Superintending Engineer (Urban Circle) Ksh Lalitbabu of the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), which has been implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin in Manipur, said that so far 3,65,576 individual household toilets have been constructed, leading to declaration of 939 out of 2,556 villages ODF till March 2018. Soon the entire State will achieve the ODF status, he added.
The SBM-Gramin is a flagship programme of the Central Government and under it, 4,46,401 rural individual households, 3,919 government schools, and 1,201 Anganwadi centres in the State are to be provided sanitary toilets by October 2, 2019.
�However, the State Government is striving to achieve the ODF target by December this year itself,� the Superintending Engineer added.
Meanwhile, officials of the Bishnupur district administration said that almost all the households (35,842) in the district have been covered under the SBM-Gramin.
Official documents uploaded on the PHED website regarding the SBM-Gramin in Manipur state that the overall SBM coverage was 52.16 per cent in 2014 when the mission was first launched. The State increased the coverage to 80.50 per cent during the current year. But ODF has also become an issue in Manipur in view of the existing dysfunctional toilets numbering around 40,482, the website adds.
Till these dysfunctional toilets are restored, achieving ODF status in the State will not be possible, the PHE website states. For this, sanctioning of Rs 48.57 crore under the Swachh Bharat Kosh by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is still awaited.