Close to a year after the Gujarat government declared all districts of the state as Open Defection Free, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has dismissed the claim. The CAG, in its report tabled in the Gujarat Assembly, said that it has found during its survey that in 120 gram panchayats in eight districts, close to 30 per cent of the households did not have access to toilets, either public or individual.
Earlier in February this year, the Centre had announced that 11 states in the country including Gujarat, have been declared Open Defection Free under the Swachh Bharat Mission. “The state government declared all the districts of Gujarat as ODF by October 2, 2017. However, information provided by 120 test-checked gram panchayats under eight selected district panchayats for the period of 2014-17 revealed that 29 per cent households still did not have access to toilets (individual or public),” the report by CAG said.
“Therefore, the claim of the state government that all the districts of Gujarat were ODF does not appear to be correct,” it added further. The report went on to say that out of 54,008 households in villages where checks were conducted, only 38,280 households had toilets access, while as 15,728 households did not have any access.
“The audit observed that the administration had declared all the districts as ODF on achieving the targets set out in the baseline survey conducted in 2012… However, this list was not updated after 2012 and therefore, a number of households did not have any access to toilets and they remained uncovered,” said the report stated further.
After this issue was raised with Gujarat government in March this year, authorities had said that all the villages in the state were now Open Defection Free, as afterwords more toilets were built “through CSR (corporate social responsibility) step”.