Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that he did not previously declare Goa open defecation free (ODF) since he wanted to avoid embarrassment by not actually having the state free of defecation. On August 30, Goa officially joined the ranks of Open Defecation Free states after directorate of panchayats and directorate of municipal administration declared rural and urban areas in the state open defecation free.
Sawant said that Goa wanted to be responsible and ensure that the state was actually defecation free and was more focussed on implementing the scheme rather than rushing through to be declared as open defecation free. He told the reporters that in big states, villages had been declared ODF even if they housed just one toilet. However, when Goa took up the responsibility of being open defecation free, it was attempted that only when 100 percent toilet coverage was provided at homes, the state would be declared ODF but that was very difficult, he said. “In Goa, a few migrants come and stay in huts without toilets and people come and tell me that in this circumstance we cannot declare Goa ODF,” Sawant said. “But if we had not declared the state ODF, we would have faced shame in the country,” he added. He also said that was the reason toilets had been constructed by the government in each village panchayat ward and municipal ward.
Sawant also said that he and his administration have ensured that there are enough toilets built in the state before declaring. The chief minister said that Goa Solid Waste Management Corporation, directorate of panchayats and directorate of municipal administration worked on Goa being ODF and provided 100 percent toilet availability inwards. “Only after constructing the toilets we declared Goa ODF,” Sawant said.
According to the data released by Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin in May, Goa was one of the four states in the country that did not have 100 percent toilet coverage and had the lowest number of individual household toilets nationally. Data released in May by the Union ministry of sanitation and drinking showed that just 5.87 percent of Goa’s villages had been declared ODF, again the lowest in the country.
In great support of the Centre's plan of Swachh Bharat, PM Modi, on Tuesday evening, received the Global Goalkeeper award for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.