Launched in 2014, the Centre’s ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) aimed at eliminating open defecation in five years, is gradually reaching its goal.

However, the scheme has its own set of challenges and treatment of faecal waste is one of them.

Currently, only 40 per cent of the faecal waste is being treated and the remaining go into the septic tank. “Treatment of faecal waste is a challenge due to lack of sewage connection system. So, now we are insisting that the States should have mandatory faecal treatment plant and only on the basis of it can they come into Open Defecation Free (ODF) plus plus category,” said VK Jindal, Joint Secretary, Swachh Bharat Mission.

Adding the aim is to treat the entire waste so that it does not pollute the environment.

According to the official figures till November 1, around 61 lakh individual household toilets and 4.75 lakh community and public toilet seats have been constructed. The target set under the mission is construction of 66.42 lakh individual household toilets and 2.52 lakh and 2.56 lakh community and public toilet seats respectively by October 2, 2019 — Mahatama Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

“As accessibility and maintenance of these toilets is equally important therefore now one can search for nearby toilets on Google Maps. Not only this, but the citizens also have an option to rate the toilets and can also avail themselves of other information such as timings,” said Jindal.

‘ODF plus’

He added, after Open Defecation Free rating, another rating protocol “ODF plus” has been launched which will be awarded to cities having status of ODF and all its toilets are usable and 10 per cent in excellent condition.

Under it, the toilets are categorised into five categories ranging from usable to excellent. The ODF rankings of the cities would be announced next year.