India's UP needs 1.5 crore toilets to end open defecation

India's UP needs 1.5 crore toilets to end open defecation
New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state is also the filthiest with the most number (25) of dirty cities including ‘Gonda’ which bagged the title of ‘dirtiest city’, in the Swachh Survekshan 2017. Except Varanasi, PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency that ranked 32, no other UP city made it to the top 100. 
The state with population of over 20 crore has rural sanitation coverage of just over 50 percent (51.63%). UP faring quite poorly on the sanitation and cleanliness front even prompted the then Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu to say, “It’s a matter of concern”. 

Despite this grim situation, the 44-year-old Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set an ambitious deadline of October 2018 to make the state, including its 59,000 gram panchayats and around 1 lakh villages, open defecation free (ODF). 

To achieve this target, around 1.5 crore toilets need to be constructed in a year at the rate of 44,000 toilets per day in the state, where 41 lakh (41,14,611) got built ever since the inception of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
But will the deadline end the state’s sanitation woes? Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recently said that 15,000 toilets got constructed per day in the last six months to make the state ODF. Notably, the wachhcenario is no different when it comes to urban areas of the state – 25 of Uttar Pradesh’s cities were featured in the bottom 50 of Swachh Survekshan 2017. 

Additionally, a look at the number of toilets built in the last three years highlights the state’s painfully slow progress. At the time of writing this story, of the over 25 lakh applications received for the construction of the individual household toilets, only 1,71,950 have been constructed so far, states the Ministry of Urban Development’s Swachh Bharat Urban dashboard. 

Merely five cities in this demographically big state have been declared open defecation free so far. However, there is one city that seems to be doing well, the holy city Varanasi, which ranked 32nd in the Swachh Survekshan 2017, jumping from 418th place in 2014. So far, 7,274 toilets of the 17,742 applications received have been constructed in the city along with 503 community toilets and 1,169 public toilets.