New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) India has over two lakh urban homes with dry latrines, where manual scavengers are employed to remove human faeces. The most populous state of Uttar Pradesh contributes to more than half the number, while national capital Delhi too has 583 such homes.
Union Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Ajay Maken told newspersons here Friday that the government has decided to provide financial support to state governments for total eradication of dry latrines from urban areas over the next two years.
The total cost of this project is estimated at Rs.481.45 crore, of which the central government's share will be Rs.367.33 crore, while the rest will be borne by state governments and beneficiaries, Maken said.
According to the 2011 census, 2.08 lakh homes with dry latrines exist in urban areas. Of this number, more than 50 percent or 1.06 lakh homes are in Uttar Pradesh alone.
"I met the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Nov 7 and requested him to begin the scheme of converting dry latrines as soon as possible. He assured me that survey work to identify such homes has begun in the affected areas," said Maken.
Stating that the practice of manual scavenging was a matter of great shame, Maken said he would be personally writing to all the chief ministers of states where dry latrines exist.
The dry latrines are to be converted to twin pit pour flush latrines while new toilets for economically weaker section households are to be built in homes that do not have latrines.
According to the Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme, the amount for conversion has been raised from Rs. 10,000 to Rs.15,000, while in mountainous areas the amount has been hiked from Rs.12,500− to Rs.18,750.
The central government and state government share in the project will be in the ratio of 75 percent to 25 percent, said Maken.
Of the other states where dry latrines are in use, Jammu and Kashmir has 17,673, Tamil Nadu 17,414, West Bengal has 14,402, and Maharashtra has 5,331.
He clarified that the scheme is for conversion of dry latrines in individual homes and not community latrines.
"For this year, Rs.25 crore was kept initially in the budget, which has been hiked to Rs.100 crore, so we are aiming to complete converting such latrines in the next two years," said Maken.
The HUPA ministry is the nodal ministry for converting dry latrines into flush ones.
The practice of manual scavenging has been banned under the 'Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrine (Prohibition) Act, 1993' which prohibits construction and/or maintenance of dry latrines and employment of manual scavengers.