As many as 1,842 villages in the state have been declared open defecation-free so far. This apart, the Odisha government has also announced 113 gram panchayats and a block as being free of open defecation. Kashinagar block in Gajapati also earned the open defecation-free (ODF) tag recently.
A senior official of the rural department said, "Deogarh may soon join the list of ODF districts. The government has also plans of declaring Balasore, Gajapati, Jagatsinghpur and Boudh as ODF by the end of the year."
All it takes for an entire village, including the gram panchayat and block, to be declared ODF is a change in habit. This entails using toilets instead of defecating in the open, the official explained.
After the Centre launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014, the construction of IHHLs had begun in full swing. The scheme is being implemented using central and state funds on a 60:40 cost-sharing basis. The state has constructed 14, 66,403 household latrines as part of the drive so far.
The state government had conducted a baseline survey in 2012-13 to get the exact picture of households with and without latrines. Of the total 90,20,107 households, as many as 79,81,980 households had no toilets.
According to official figures, altogether 13,29,832 toilets were constructed in 2015-16 and 1, 22,646 in 2016-17.
A total of 14,66,403 latrines have been built in the state so far, it added.
The government is providing Rs 12,000 to a household to construct a toilet at home. The Centre has sanctioned Rs. 927 crore and the state government has made budgetary provision of Rs 740 crore to achieve the target of this year, said the official.
Rural development secretary Madhusudan Padhy told TOI that the government has set a target of building 26 lakh toilets in the state in the current financial year. The work is underway on a war footing, he added.
He said the state government has started supplying water to villages with 100% toilets. The village, which has completed 80% of the latrine construction work, will start getting supply of water. Padhy has asked the district collectors to expedite the construction work of toilets to meet the deadline. They have also been instructed to upload photos of the completed latrines with specific data regarding their location and details of their beneficiaries.