Year after declared Open Defecation Free, JK fails to implement Gobar Dhan

Scheme meant to turn bio-waste into cooking fuel

SRINAGAR: A year after J&K was declared as Open Defecation Free (ODF) on 2nd October 2018, the government has failed to implement one of the key schemes of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) (SBM-G) in rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) scheme was launched in February 2018 to make the villages open defecation free and improve the lives of villagers by obtaining biogas from cattle dung, poultry droppings, crop residue, kitchen waste and other bio degradable waste.
The scheme was launched under SBM-G to ensure least burning of cattle dung and a portion of agricultural waste as cooking fuel in rural areas because of its severe consequences on health.
Even though the government claims to have constructed more than 15.42 lakh toilets in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh since August 2015, it has failed to implement Gobar-Dhan, which could have benefited rural people in general and women in particular with the clean fuel and improvement in cleanliness in the villages.
An official in the Directorate of Rural Sanitation, J&K said that the directorate have identified at least two sites in each district in J&K, and many sites have been approved for implementation of the scheme, however, the funds were not released by the
Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, which is the nodal agency to implement the scheme across India.
“The scheme should have helped in biodegradable waste recovery and conversion of waste into resources,” he said, adding, this shall have provided economic and resource benefits to farmers and households and also support creating clean villages which is the objective of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
Presently, a very large fraction of bio-waste gets disposed in unsafe ways – burning, unscientific dumping, discharging into water bodies.
Bio-resources such as dung cakes, crop residue and firewood are commonly burned as cooking fuel leading to indoor air pollution, which is responsible for a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses among young children.

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