DIANA FERNANDES | NT
Having already attained the open defecation free (ODF) status, the Cuncolim municipal council is now aiming at achieving ODF-plus status, with plans of constructing 298 individual toilets for residents residing in the jurisdiction of the municipality.
The municipality is also focussing on topping the state as the cleanest town under the Swachh Survekshan 2020 survey. It may be noted that Cuncolim was declared the cleanest town in the state under the Swachh Survekshan 2019 survey.
Speaking about the plans, Cuncolim municipal council (CMC) chief officer Pritidas Gaonkar said the municipality was already ODF and efforts are on to improve the existing condition. “According to the government, all municipalities in the state are ODF and so are we. The QCI (Quality Control of India) survey, conducted on August 27 and 28, has also given us the ODF certification. We are now aiming for an ODF+ status wherein every household will have a toilet,” he said.
Currently, the municipality has started work on construction of 111 individual toilets in the area, while sanction has been received for another 187 applications for individual toilets in homes. Community toilets have also been installed in different parts of the municipality’s 12 wards.
Under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, the state had asked the municipalities and panchayats to construct community toilets as a first step towards obtaining the ODF status. The audit of toilets conducted by the QCI has declared urban areas as ODF.
The municipality is now looking at completing the work of constructing individual toilets. “The QCI certification was given to us after the team visited schools, community toilets and other public areas. This exercise of certification will be carried out once every year, so before the end of the next year, we are hoping to have the individual toilet constructions completed. We will be starting work on the remaining ones after monsoon,” said Gaonkar.
The Cuncolim municipality chief officer also said work is underway to retain the title as the state’s cleanest town under the Swachh Survekshan Survey that is conducted every year. Last year, the municipality received the award for achieving success with regard to parameters like door-to-door collection of solid waste and segregation and clearing of the black spots. The CMC had an overall score of 1648.9 and it beat the municipalities of Mapusa, Valpoi, Bicholim, Quepem, Canacona, Curchorem, Margao, Pernem, Sanguem, Ponda, Mormugao and Sankhali.
“We are also working on retaining our title and have been continuing with our usual waste collection and operation of the garbage treatment plant. This year, the ODF status is also going to be a part of the ranking system, so we will be working towards that too,” said Gaonkar.