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M’laya completes ODF verification on time

"Second phase to be over by year-end”

 

GUWAHATI: Meghalaya has ensured timely completion of the first level of verification of the open defecation free (ODF) status it achieved under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).

The process began across 11 districts of the state in April this year and took three months, which is the stipulated period for the first level (ODF Plus) of verification, to complete.

“The second level of verification (ODF Sustain) started in the first week of July and the stipulated period of completion is six months. So, we should be able to ensure by the year-end whether ODF status has been sustained in the state,” A. Lyngkhoi, state coordinator of SBM (Gramin), Meghalaya, told The Shillong Times on Saturday.

Meghalaya had achieved ODF status in January this year. The state aims to make all the 2,347 villages in 11 districts free from solid and liquid waste in a year’s time.

Asked about the challenges encountered by the verification officers in the villages, Lyngkhoi said that since each and every household had to be visited and verified in accordance with a set of standard parameters, the task was cumbersome.

“The difficulty levels were very high particularly in villages under South Garo Hills, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills, primarily because of the poor road condition coupled with the monsoon rain,” he said.

The Centre, it may be noted, will carry out the Swachh Survekshan Gramin next month, which will attempt to rank all 698 districts in the country on the prevalent levels of cleanliness in the rural areas and measure the on-ground effectiveness of Swachh Bharat Mission.

“A survey would be carried out across these districts to measure the on-ground effectiveness of the Swachh Bharat Mission. The outcome would be announced on October 2 and every district and state in the country would be ranked,” Lynghkoi said.

According to the baseline survey carried out in 2012, there are about 4.28lakh households and 6,028 villages across 11 districts in Meghlaya.

The criteria for the state being declared ODF is that each and every household should have a toilet.

“ODP Plus, which we have termed solid and liquid resource management, also involves recycling or utilisation of non-biodegradable waste in road construction,” Lyngkhoi said.

Verification is mandatory within three months of a state becoming ODF and is done to not only substantiate the achievement but also to ensure that the toilets are used and hygiene parameters adhered to by the villagers.

However, there was a two-month delay in the verification process in Meghalaya, owing to the Assembly elections in February.

Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya are among the 11 states/Union Territories in the country to be declared ODF till date.

The Centre plans to make the entire country ODF by October 2, 2019.

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