The state government on Friday admitted in the House that Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA), which pertains to the construction of toilets in rural households, failed to meet its target due to tough conditions under MNREGA.
Panchayati Raj minister Kailash Yadav informed the House that the delay arises from the fact that there is a condition in MNREG scheme, which funds the NBA, that 60 per cent cost of every construction undertaken be spent on labour work (while the remaining on the material) which is making things difficult.
“We have written a letter to the central government for lifting this restriction,” the minister said.
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Congress MLA Akhilesh Pratap Singh, who had raised the question, also suggested random checking of the toilets constructed under the NBA. The panchayati raj minister said in response that in 2012-13, only 6,19,241 lakh toilets could be constructed against the target of 7,47,932. Similarly, in 2013-14, the situation was even worse with only 3,74,958 toilets getting constructed against the target of 8,90,881 (only 42.9 per cent).
BJP’s Manish Aseeja enquired about the state government increasing its state share in construction of toilets. However, the minister said that the project is implemented as per the strict guidelines of the central government.
BJP leader Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal said that even United Nations’ general secretary Ban Ki-moon had expressed concern over the Badaun rape incidents due to the absence of toilets in the state’s rural areas.
“This is the first time that such a comment has come from UN. It should be taken seriously and steps taken to achieve the target,” he stated.
Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya (BSP) suggested that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated to give preference to “shuachalaya above devalaya”, the state government should write to the Centre asking for increment in the budget meant for the construction of toilets. Minister Kailash Yadav assured the House that besides sending the letter, he will meet central officials in this regard.
‘Varanasi remains a priority’
Lucknow: State government Friday assured the House that development of Varanasi remains its priority. Minister Ambika Choudhary gave the assurance while replying to a resolution moved by BJP member Shyamdeo Ram Choudhary for stopping all drains falling in Ganga.
“Varanasi remains a priority for state,” he said. He also said Rs 30 crore has been allocated in the budget for the development of ghats in Varanasi. He, further, outlined plans for revival of Varuna river. Earlier, Choudhary had said nearly Rs 4,032 crore have been spent on cleaning Ganga. As many as 764 industrial units, mainly paper and pulp, tanneries release 1,113 million liters of waste in the Ganga.
BJP MLA Ravindra Jaiswal stated that several drains falling in Ganga are polluting the river.
Minister Ambika Choudhary had declined to stop all these drains stating it will create a civic problem, however, the waste water can be treated before emitting in Ganga. Parliamentary Affairs minister Azam Khan also said all drains cannot be stopped at once. “We have done a lot for Varanasi. New sewer lines are being laid and even you (BJP) will agree,” Azam said.
Referring to CAG report Mahakumbh, Azam said: “Whatever be the report, we have been successful in getting the ashirwad of devotees. On a single day nearly 3.5 cr took the dip.”