Taking another step towards achieving total sanitation by 2019, the Centre has asked all states and Union Territories to chalk out plans to ensure land belonging to railways are open defecation free.
It has been pointed out to authorities concerned that while the municipal authorities are willing to come up with facilities for collection of municipal solid waste in such areas and installing public or community toilets for the use of unauthorised settlers, permission from the railway authorities is not forthcoming.
The Centre has recently written to chief secretaries of all states and administrators of Union Territories to “ask all urban local bodies or local authorities to chalk out an action plan in consultation with the railway authorities” so the areas owned by the public sector transporter and entire city or town can be declared open defecation free, a senior official in Cabinet Secretariat said.
“The problem of open defecation has been discussed at the highest level in the government and both the Centre and states are taking steps to check it,” he said.
The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on October 2, 2014 to achieve total sanitation and cleanliness by the same day in 2019.
There are 4,041 urban local bodies in the country.
Fresh guidelines have been recently sent to General Managers of various railways zones regarding handling of municipal solid waste at railway stations and on tracks.
The guidelines were formed following a directive from National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The NGT had asked railways to ensure that all platforms are kept clean and free of any municipal solid waste. The green tribunal had also told railways not to permit effluents generated at railway stations and nearby depots to seep into ground water or stagnate in any area nearby.
“These effluents should be discharged into Sewage Treatment Plants or Common and Combined Effluent Treatment Plants to be located near major stations. Treated discharges from plants shall be recycled for appropriate inferior uses,” said the communique to General Managers of railway zones.