Pune municipal corporation converts worn out buses into toilets
In a novel move, Pune municipal corporation has managed to transform old and worn out public buses into public ‘Toilets for Her’. Three such buses with five toilets each have been stationed across the city so far. The solar-powered buses are equipped with sanitary pad vending machines and a shower area. Though the initial response to these mobile toilets was rather dull, the civic body claims that the users are steadily rising. Based on feedback from users, the corporation plans to convert 10 more buses into mobile toilets soon. Though the use of these toilets is free of cost at present, the civic body is mulling a nominal user fee in the future.
Maharashtra government does not back BMC's claim of an ODF Mumbai
Despite the Quality Council of India (QCI) certifying Mumbai to be free from open defecation, the Maharashtra government is reluctant to back Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ODF claim. The state government assigned a validation team comprising bureaucrats and representatives from NGOs to visit different parts of the city and check for signs of open defecation. But for a few localities, the team noted several instances of open defecation across several pockets in the city. The state has put in place a three-tier system to verify a city’s claim of being completely free from open defecation. Mumbai was declared open defecation free by BMC in December last, which was later validated by the QCI.
Deadline extended for villages along the Ganga to get rid of open defecation
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has extended the March deadline set for villages along the Ganga to get rid of open defecation. The 4300 villages across five states along the river now have time till May to become free from open defecation. So far, 76 percent of the villages have managed to become ODF. As a logical extension of the programme, solid and liquid waste management is expected to be strengthened in all of these villages over time. Across the country, 1.75 lakh villages have been declared free of open defecation so far.
Peepal trees to be planted to discourage open defecation in Udaipur
Women across Kuradabad block in Udaipur district have vowed to rid their villages of open defecation by planting sacred peepal trees across spots frequented by people to relieve themselves. Mass plantation of peepals was undertaken by non-governmental organisations--Wells for India and the Hanmuam Van Vikas Samiti. As part of their efforts to improve toilet coverage, 70 trees were planted last year by the organisation which resulted in a dramatic reduction in open defecation across most villages. Thanks to innovative efforts such as this, 141 gram panchayats have been declared ODF so far across the Udaipur district.
Toilets to be built in one lakh madrassas as part of Swachh Bharat Mission
As part of its efforts to revamp traditional centres of learning, the union government has decided to construct one lakh toilets in madrassas across the country. The toilets, to be built as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, are part of the welfare activities of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Minority Affairs. In addition to toilets, midday meals are also expected to be provided to the students of madrassas.
This is a roundup of important sanitation related news published between March 18 and 24, 2016.