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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: In the country’s swachh drive, Odisha failed to do a neat job. The State finished second from bottom in the country in the indicator of access to sanitation. Consequently, Odisha was ranked as the 2nd in high open defecation.

Such home-truths about State’s ‘untidy’ strides were to fore in the Economic Survey – 2018-19 tabled in the Parliament today.

According to the Eco-Survey report titled ‘from Swachh Bharat to Sundar Bharat via Swasth Bharat’, Odisha finished as the second lowest State in the country in the coverage of Indian household Latrines (IHHL) under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). The report has quoted the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) 2018-19 conducted
by an independent verification agency. And as per the NARSS report, only 68 per cent in Odisha have access to toilets.

With achieving an open defecation free (ODF) coverage of around 45.4 per cent, Odisha again fared the second poorest in the country. The list of untidy states was led by Goa.

The Survey report has unhesitatingly listed Odisha as a poor performer in SBM vis-a-vis its neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

Delving into the co-relation between the stride in IHHL and ODF coverage and the health outcomes, the Survey report documented a very slow improvement by Odisha in the health indicators of Still birth rate and LBW (Low birth weight) babies and Diarrhoea.

However, the Survey has put Odisha as the top improver in the country in reducing Malaria cases during the period of 2015-19.

As per Eco-Survey report, Odisha was ranked as the sixth poorest state in the indicator of newborns with LBW and 7th poorest in still birth rate in 2018-19. The State was recording over 1.4lakh LBW babies prior to launch of SBM in 2014. Post launch, the LBW cases dropped to 1.2lakh. The pace of decline was slower as compared to other states.

Similarly, the State had registered around 15,000 still birth cases in 2014. The numbers had fallen to around 12,000 in 2019. The rate of fall is slower vis-a-vis other states, revealed the report.

Water borne diseases like Acute diarrhoea has a clear link with access to toilets and ODF. The report noted that diarrhoeal cases had dipped in Odisha post SBM, but the dip rate is slower.

In 2018, Odisha had recorded around 6 lakh acute diarrhoeal cases from around 8 lakh in 2015. The deaths due to diarrhoea in the State last year was only 75 vis-a-vs 110 in 2017. As per the latest data available, a mere 21 per cent village in the State has been declared OD free. More shocking is nearly 12 per cent villages in Odisha are yet to be brought under SBM. Significantly, the SBM was launched in 2014. As the Eco-survey has expressed unhappiness over poor solid waste disposal in Odisha, data revealed that a mere 12 per cent soild waste generated in the State was processed.

The State is lagging behind by yards in construction of community and public toilets. Odisha could achieve only 47 per cent of the target of 17,800 community and public toilets during the period 2014-19.

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