UT Govts pledge to be ODF by March

NEW DELHI:  All seven Union territories with a total of 16 urban local bodies (ULBs), including the three civic bodies of Delhi, have committed to becoming open defecation-free (ODF) by March next year.

The UT governments pledged this during a two-day conference to review the progress of various urban schemes that concluded here today.

Of the 16 urban local bodies in the UTs, only three–New Delhi Municipal Council, Chandigarh and Mahe in Puducherry– have become ODF so far.

The meeting was chaired by Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation M Venkaiah Naidu.

During the meeting, Delhi government officials said that 6.22 lakh households in the national capital will be provided with tap water over the next two years under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.

At present 23.78 lakh households–58 per cent of the total 41 lakh households–have water connections and this will be increased to 73 per cent over next two years.

Sewerage connectivity will be increased from the present 57 per cent to 65 per cent under the AMRUT scheme.

The Ministry of Urban Development has approved an investment of Rs 802 crore for the five year period 2015-20 under the scheme for Delhi.

Naidu also requested the Delhi Lt Governor to sort out issues related to forest and ridge lands and unauthorised colonies to ensure full coverage of water supply.

During the meeting, it was assured that south and east municipal corporations of Delhi will become open defecation- free by October, while the north civic body will do so by December.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, only three individual household toilets were built so far, out of 201 for which the ministry has received the demand.

The meeting was informed that 11,138 of the 22,891 community and public toilet seats required have also been constructed.

Noting that an affordable housing need of over three lakh units in Delhi has been indicated, Naidu urged the authorities concerned to speed up to send proposals at the earliest so that construction of houses can be completed by 2022.

By 2022, the ministry targets to provide housing to all urban poor in the country.

The NDMC was asked to speed up execution of its smart city plan with focus on impactful projects like smart roads and smart parking and pedestrianisation of Connaught Place.

Lt Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, LG of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister of Puducherry, V Narayanasamy, and Urban Development Minister of Delhi, Satyendra Jain, among others, attended the meeting.

Naidu complimented Chandigarh for being the first city to ensure water taps to all households under AMRUT.

Satyendra Jain also suggested changes in the master plan of Delhi so that government hospitals and other institutions are not required to meet parking norms at par with private entities.

With this review, Naidu has completed review of progress of urban missions in 29 states and UTs so far, an official release said. (AGENCIES)

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