Ponda: Almost two years after applying for bio-digester toilets and six months after Goa officially joining the ranks of open defecation free (ODF) states, a few villagers in Shiroda have now received sanction letters for the bio-digester toilets.
The Shiroda villagers have turned out to be the first set of fortunate villagers from Ponda taluka to get the sanction letters on Friday, with around 4,000 more applicants from 19 villages of Ponda still awaiting the bio-digester toilets that were assured by the state government in order to attain the ODF status.
On Friday, Shiroda MLA Subhash Shirodkar, along with sarpanch Amit Shirodkar and representatives of Goa Solid Waste Management Corporation handed over the sanction letters for the bio-digester toilets to a few villagers during a function organised at Talpone in the village. The MLA also laid the foundation stone for community toilets in the village and said that around 15 community toilets have been sanctioned. Around 402 households in Shiroda will get bio-digester toilets for which the state government will spend around Rs 2 crore.
Admitting that his constituency is not completely ODF, Shirodkar said that Shiroda will attain the ODF status by this year.
It should be noted that around 4,144 households from Ponda taluka had applied for the bio-digester toilets around two years back and the taluka was supposed to get around 75 community toilets. However, most of the applicants have not been provided with the toilets yet and despite this fact, the state government had declared Goa as ODF in August last year.
It may be noted that considering the urgency in completion of the ODF target, the state government had assured the citizens to provide the bio-digester toilets at reasonable rates. The government’s subsidised rate for bio-digester toilet is Rs 4,500 for an applicant from general category, Rs 2,500 for an applicant from OBC and Rs 1,000 for applicants from SC/ST categories. As per this rate chart, the government has already collected around Rs 1 crore.
The Ponda taluka consists of 19 village panchayats including Bandora, Bethoda, Betki-Khandola, Bhoma-Adcolna, Borim, Kundaim, Curti-Khandepar, Durbhat, Panchawadi, Kavlem, Querim, Shiroda, Tivrem, Usgao-Ganjem, Veling-Priol, Verem-Vaghurme, Volvoi, Wadi-Talaulim and Marcaim. From the residents of all these villages, the Ponda block development office (BDO) has received a total number of 4,144 applications for individual toilets. It includes 3,949 applications from the first phase and around 195 applications from the second phase.