Thursday, May 17, 2018

Senior bureaucrats including CAG Rajiv Mehrishi empty toilet pit in Pune district

Mehrishi (3rd from left; wearing saffron dress)

THE Comptroller and Auditor General of India and former home and finance secretary Rajiv Mehrishi emptied a toilet pit from a twin pit toilet in rural Maharashtra on Thursday morning. He was joined by secretary in the ministry of drinking water and sanitation Parameswaran Iyer who had also done that earlier. This time, senior sanitation officers including additional chief secretaries of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, followed suit to…
encourage use of twin pit toilets in rural India, and to de-stigmatise emptying of toilet pits by the household themselves, according to a press statement issued by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation on Thursday.
The pit-cleaning exercise was conducted at Pandharewadi gram Panchayat in Daund block of the Pune district. It was basically a step towards dispelling myths, biases and stigmas. Several state principal secretaries (sanitation), senior officers of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), and senior officers of Maharashtra government joined in this exercise.
The twin-pit toilet is the safest toilet technology most suited to large parts of rural India and is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the government of India. The researches have shown that one of the reasons rural households might hesitate in building and/or using this low-cost technology is the stigma associated with emptying of the pit.
“However, it is scientifically proven that a pit in a standard twin-pit toilet model fills up in roughly 5 years for a 6-membered family. The waste can then be easily re-directed to the second pit, and it becomes safe-to-handle compost in 6 months to 1 year, and is rich in NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) nutrients which makes it ideal for use in agriculture. In many parts of India, this is also known as sonakhaad (golden fertilizer) because of high nutritious content”, the statement by the ministry further said. 
The officers held up the compost in their hands. The commemorative jars full of the compost were taken home by all present at the event.

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