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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan –when will Goa see it?

People living around Chowgule College at Gogol in Margao wake up to the foul smell emanating from open defecation. In addition open defecation is a huge threat to the health of students and people living around. The danger of imminent health tragedy looms large to the residents of Gogol unless the nuisance of open defecation stops.Setting into the twilight the open space opposite the famed Chowgule College becomes a giant open air toilet for the migrants who stay in rented houses at the periphery of the college at Gogol.A lot of migrant population, specially employed in the construction industry, stay in rented houses at Gogol and due to absence of sanitation facilities at their rented houses line up early in the morning with water-filled plastic bottles to empty their bowels at open space opposite the Chowgule college.A resident staying in the locality said, “Open defecation causes foul stink and public health problems in areas, when people defecate in fields, urban parks, rivers, and open trenches in close proximity to the living space of others”. Even if toilets are available, these migrants still need to be convinced to refrain from open defecation and use toilets. Therefore, the need for behavioural change is critical in addition to the provision of toilets. A preference for open defecation may be due to their traditional cultural practices or lack of access to toilets, or both. Builders also, who employ them as part of corporate social responsibility, have not made any visible impact to improve this scenario in Goa.
“India has the highest number of people practising open defecation — around 490 million people,” said another member of his family.As part of the swatch Bharat Abhiyan over Rs 620 billion is being spent all over India every year since it was launched by the Prime Minister on October 2, 2014. Literally nothing has changed at this open space in the middle of the habitation at the outskirts of the Margao city, and it looks no different at other areas of the town where there is sizeable migrant population staying.There are educational institutions, hospitals and religious places around this place and there is a threat to the health of the people staying around said a student of a reputed educational institute in the neighbourhood. Since this open defecation mostly takes place before the other residents of the locality wake up it is not normally seen and reported by the people living in the surrounding.The onus is on the local administration to look into such matters of grave health concerns and suggested the govt to have a proper check on the availability of toilet facilities at the houses and rooms let out to these migrants all over Goa, lamented another worried resident. [H]

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