Claiming that 95 per cent of the households in the state have toilets, the state government on Friday said that Goa has been declared as open defecation free (ODF) by adopting the criteria that are followed by the other states.
“Other states have been declared ODF; that doesn’t mean they have provided toilets to every household. In comparison with the other states, in Goa 95 per cent households are having toilets. For the few who don’t have one, we are providing common toilets. Hence, we have declared Goa as ODF,” said Chief Minister Pramod Sawant while interacting with media persons in the state Secretariat.
He said that the government has never claimed that 100 per cent of the households in the state have been provided toilets.
“People should first understand the ODF concept. We have thrown open many public toilets. Hence, we were able to achieve the status of ODF,” Sawant said.
Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho claimed that the government has provided community toilets wherever there was an ‘acute need’.
“Where we didn’t want to see people defecating openly on the road, we have ensured that community toilets have been installed. Whatever has been the practice in other states has been followed here to declare Goa as ODF. Still I say,
we may want to improve further on that and see that needy people are given individual toilets,” he said.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, members of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa and prominent hoteliers met Godinho and Sawant and requested them to urge the GST council to reduce the GST rate on hotel stay from 28 per cent to 12 per cent.
“We have explained to the Chief Minister that GST rate of 28 per cent was killing the hotel industry in Goa because of other countries like Thailand, which is our major competitor and has a rate of 7 per cent. Most of our clients are going to other countries and India is losing out, so we requested them to put it up before the GST council for reduction of the higher rates of GST,” said chairman and managing director of Caravela Beach Resort Sunder Advani.
Sawant assured to take up the hoteliers’ issue with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the GST council meeting, which is scheduled to be held in Goa on September 19 and 20 at a starred hotel on the Kadamba Plateau.