Agartala, March 21 (IANS) The Tripura government has announced it will declare the northeastern state free of open defecation by March next year, a top official said here on Monday.
“All the 1,118 villages of Tripura would be declared as free of open defecation under the Swachh Bharat Mission by March 2017,” drinking water and sanitation department chief engineer Bishu Kumar Debbarma told IANS.
“The mission to declare entire Tripura as open defecation free state was undertaken in the outgoing financial year (2015-16) by providing 92,047 individual household latrines (IHHL). To achieve the goal, 241,004 IHHL would be given during the ensuing fiscal (2016-17),” he said.
Debbarma said of the 816,751 households in the gram panchayat and village committee areas, 433,423 households required individual household sanitary latrines until 2012.
The villages outside the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) have gram panchayats and the villages within the TTAADC have village committees.
The TTAADC, formed in 1984 under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, governs two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,492 square km area.
The official said that Rs.559 crore were required to achieve the goal of total sanitation.
“Rural people including the tribals are now very conscious about the harmful and unsafe affect of open defecation,” Debbarma said, adding Tripura probably would be the first among eight northeastern states to be declared an open defecation free state by March next year.
Adequate funds have been allocated in the 2016-17 fiscal’s budget, presented by the state’s Finance Minister Tapan Chakraborty in the ongoing session of the Tripura assembly on March 18.