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1,249 villages declared ODF Plus despite pandemic
By TOG News service
Jun 08, 2021

TOG NEWS SERVICE, NEW DELHI, JUN 08, 2021: DESPITE bottlenecks due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, 1,249 villages across Indian have declared themselves as ‘Open Defecation Free' (ODF) Plus by upgrading their community toilets with all facilities under phase-2 of the Swachh Bharat Mission - Grameen (SBM-G).

On Monday, Minister of State for Jal Shakti Mr Rattan Lal Kataria reviewed the progress of the SBM-G's during the past year. The second phase of the mission was announced in February, 2020, just preceding the first COVID-19 wave.

"The phase-2 emphasises upon the sustainability of achievements under phase-1 and to provide adequate facilities for solid and liquid and plastic waste management in rural India ," said a statement.

Despite restrictions stemming from the pandemic-induced lockdowns, States prepared and submitted annual implementation plans worth Rs. 40,705 crore for approval by the National Scheme Sanctioning Committee.

In 2020, around 1.1 lakh villages reported solid or liquid waste management, and another 2.41 lakh villages reported minimal litter and stagnant waste water. There were 1,249 villages who declared themselves as ODF plus with 53,066 community compost pits and 10.4 lakh household-level waste management assets constructed. Around 1.60 lakh villages have also reported drainage works.

Mr Kataria emphasised the need to continuously assess the mission at the ground level and to address emerging challenges through coordinated planning and synergised actions along with the States and local government like Gram Panchayats.

The targets for the year 2021-22 includes construction of 51,05,534 Individual Household Latrines (IHHL), solid waste management projects in 2,07,945 villages, grey water management in 1,82,517 villages. Another 2,458 blocks will get plastic waste management units.

The government will also establish 389 ‘Gobardhan' projects to provide an economically viable and sustainable disposal of cow dung and organic farm waste at village level. So far, 85 such sites have been identified for installation of biogas plant and 34 plants have been completed.

The 15th Finance Commission allocated Rs. 1.42 lakh crore over 2021-25 for the water and sanitation sectors which will catapult SBM-G's efforts in achieving the ODF Plus status and to upgrade the overall waste management ecosystem.