HP and Kerala declared open defecation free
7 Nov 2016

Himachal Pradesh becomes the second state in the country to be declared open defecation free
After Sikkim, the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh has achieved the distinction of being open defecation free. The state has managed this feat five months ahead of the deadline of March 2017. All 12 districts have completely eliminated open defecation from rural areas. As a result, the state is now eligible to receive funds to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore from the World Bank to sustain its sanitation campaign and also construct additional toilets in rural areas. 

Kerala declared open defecation free; largest ODF state in the country so far
Kerala was officially declared open defecation free (ODF) by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on November 1, the state's foundation day. With a rural population of 3.5 crores, all 14 districts of the state have managed to completely eliminate open defecation by putting in place the necessary sanitation infrastructure. So far, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh have been declared ODF under the Swachh Bharat (Gramin) Mission, making Kerala the largest state in the country to be acknowledged so. News reports, however, suggest that while thousands of toilets have been constructed across the state, many still remain without piped water supply.

Accountability Initiative's survey reveals the lack of Swachh Bharat awareness in rural areas
A survey carried out by the Centre for Policy Research’s Accountability Initiative across five states has revealed that only a quarter of households received the Swachh Bharat subsidy while a large portion of rural India remained unaware of the provisions of the Clean India Mission. While initially, the survey set out to corroborate the government data, the lack of quality data and duplicate entries prevented researchers from fulfilling that objective. The survey found that while toilet construction was on the rise across most surveyed districts, the presence of a latrine alone did not end open defecation. 

Thrissur corporation to distribute aerobic organic waste composting bins at subsidised rates
In a bid to convert Thrissur into a zero-waste city, the city corporation is vigorously pushing for source segregation and household composting. The civic body has decided to distribute domestic aerobic composters called "Smart BIOBIN" to nearly 25,000 households at subsidised rates to help convert organic waste into usable manure. The cost of a single Biobin stands at Rs 1500; house owners are now eligible for a 75 percent subsidy on the MRP with 50:25 share between the state government and the city corporation.

The enclave of Mahe declared open defecation free
Mahe has become the first enclave of the Union Territory of Puducherry to be declared open defecation free. The enclave is physically present within the state of Kerala though administratively it comes under the UT of Puducherry. The Lt. Governor of Puducherry had set strict targets in a review meeting held in early October to ensure that the entire UT is open defecation free at the earliest. The enclave of Yanam is expected to be declared ODF next.

This is a roundup of important sanitation related news published between October 29 and November 4, 2016. 

Lead image coutesy: World Bank

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