The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has questioned the Gujarat government’s claim of being “open defecation free”, PTI reported. The auditor said that during a survey conducted in eight districts, it was found that several rural households did not have toilets. The CAG report was tabled in the state Assembly on Wednesday.
The survey was conducted in Banaskantha, Dahod, Dang, Chhotaudepur, Patan, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Valsad districts.
The Centre had informed the Lok Sabha in February that 11 states, including Gujarat, have been declared ODF under the Swachh Bharat Mission. “The state government declared all the districts of Gujarat as ODF by October 2, 2017,” PTI quoted from the report. “However, information provided by 120 test-checked Gram Panchayats under eight selected District Panchayats for the period of 2014-’17 revealed that 29% households still did not have access to toilets [individual or public]. Therefore, the claim of the state government that all the districts of Gujarat were ODF did not appear to be correct.”
The CAG report said the administration had declared all the districts as ODF after achieving the targets set out in the baseline survey conducted in 2012. “However, this list was not updated after 2012 and therefore, a number of households did not have any access to toilets and they remained uncovered,” the report added.
The state government in March claimed that all the villages were now ODF, as more toilets were built through initiatives under corporate social responsibility. Despite this, the report noted that people were unable to use toilets due to several reasons, including lack of water connection and non-availability of soak pits.
Meanwhile, the CAG said it has found serious lapses in the implementation of the Gujarat government’s flagship health schemes – Mukhyamantri Amrutam and Mukhyamantri Amrutam Vatsalya. The auditor general also said that the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Limited had caused a Rs 17,061-crore loss to the exchequer. The GSPC is one of the biggest loss-making state public sector units of the Gujarat government.