New Delhi, Sep 14

Government agencies are aware and working to resolve the issues of un-engineered garbage dumping sites like the Ghazipur landfill here, a part of which collapsed earlier this month killing two persons, said a Sanitation Ministry official here on Thursday.

Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, was talking about a 15-day-long campaign "Swachhta Hi Sewa" (Sanitation is Service) to mark the third anniversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious project Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

The campaign will be launched by President Ram Nath Kovind in Kanpur Rural on Friday. It will mark a series of events, including mass and voluntary cleaning drive of iconic places that would include several celebrities.

During the fortnight, issues like garbage landfills, open defecation and others will be discussed. The campaign would conclude on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on October 2.

"Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is focusing, among other things, on this as well. Landfills and dumping ground will all be under focus during that time," Iyer said.

Asked about the migrant labourers in urban areas like Delhi who are forced to defecate in open, the Secretary said it's an area that needs focus.

"Migrant population is a reality mostly in urban areas but also in peri-urban areas. Efforts are being made to deal with it, though it requires attention," Iyer said.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to make India open defecation free by 2019, and Iyer said: "India is on track to achieve sanitation goals."
Sharing some data of the achievements during the last three years, the Secretary said that five states including Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana and Uttarakhand had been declared open defecation free (ODF), and 10 others will become ODF by March 2018.

He added that 4.6 crore household toilets had been constructed and sanitation cover has gone up from 39 per cent to 67.5 per cent since launch of the mission.

"Every ministry had been allotted an additional adaptation budget to implement Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," Iyer said.

According to the official data, 76 ministries are implementing Action Plans worth over Rs 12,000 crore with a specific budget code for cleanliness.

However, the official said that public awareness will be the focus of the campaign. "It is not about creating infrastructure, its about changing people's mindset," he added.

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