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Chhattisgarh CM Baghel writes to PM Modi over toilet facilities, arrears

In the letter, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that around 1.5 million families still do not have access to advanced toilet facilities, despite the state being declared open-defecation-free (ODF)

Bhupesh Baghel (Photo: PTI)

Bhupesh Baghel (Photo: PTI)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Ahead of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel last week wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking to provide improved toilet facilities in the state, which had already been declared open-defecation free (ODF) by the previous state government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Raman Singh.

In the letter, Baghel said that around 1.5 million families still did not have access to advanced toilet facilities despite the state being declared ODF.

"The letter has proposed an enhancement in the financial assistance provided for the construction of toilet facilities, suggesting an increase from Rs 12,000 to Rs 30,000 per family. The chief minister has requested approval for the construction of toilets in Maoist-affected and remote areas through gram panchayats," said a release issued by the chief minister's secretariat.

The letter cites the National Family Health Survey 2019-21 (NFHS-5), which states that 88.2 per cent of families in urban areas and 73.5 per cent in rural areas in the state have availed themselves of improved toilet facilities.

The letter states: "This indicates that 76.8 per cent of total families in the state are utilising upgraded toilet facilities, while 23.2 per cent are still deprived of this fundamental amenity. Notably, the physical inspection of toilets during the recent socio-economic survey conducted by the state government aligns with the data released by the NFHS-5."

The letter said that during the tenure of the previous government, over 3.2 million toilets were constructed and the entire state was declared ODF in January 2018.

It further said that an expenditure exceeding Rs 4,000 crore was allocated for the construction of the toilets.

"Despite this substantial investment, the current concern and subject of investigation lies in the fact that around 1.5 million families in the state are currently devoid of access to improved toilet facilities," the letter said.

In a separate letter, Baghel sought the release of Rs 6,000 crore due to the state agencies and informed about the additional financial burden on Chhattisgarh due to non-compensation for the loss of surplus paddy.

The letter added that the pending liabilities of state agencies at the level of the Government of India/Food Corporation of India (FCI) had reached Rs 6,000 crore.

It said that the state was facing losses even in disposing of surplus paddy after depositing the rice to the central pool, owing to the lack of reimbursement from the Centre.

The chief minister asked PM Modi to address the situation and direct officials to establish a definite timeline for clearing the long-pending dues.

Furthermore, the chief minister requested the Prime Minister to take necessary steps to promptly transfer the legal claim amount to the state government.

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First Published: Aug 28 2023 | 6:40 PM IST

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