Trivendram: Kerala is all set to become open defecation-free with the state-run Suchitwa Mission aiming to achieve the goal by November 1 this year. State Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand convened a meeting of all stakeholders and higher officials recently to evaluate the progress of the mission.
The meeting was a follow-up of the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Delhi visit last month.
During the meeting, the Chief Secretary said Kerala could not go back from its target of declaring the state as open defecation-free by November 1 as the state should always remain as a model to other states, an official release said. The meeting was attended by several officials including T K Jose, state Principal Secretary (Local Self Government), and Arun Baroka and Nipun Vinayak, the Joint secretary and deputy secretary respectively of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, central government. Officials observed that availability of funds will not stand as a hindrance in achieving the target but mobilisation of other resources may be a challenge, especially when it comes to tribal, hilly and coastal areas.
In those areas, adequacy of fund may be a challenge unless Scheduled Tribes and Fisheries departments came forward with their contributions, the release said. Fisheries Principal Secretary James Varghese assured that wherever it is necessary among the coastal communities, they can top-up funds from their side. Suchitwa Mission is the state nodal agency for sanitation. It is constituted under the state local self government department with the vision of creating a waste free Kerala with a pollution-free environment, public hygiene and cleanliness.