New Delhi: At least 1000 gram panchayats across the country will soon have odourless bio-toilets-- thanks to defence research agency DRDO which jolted into action after some candid comments by Union Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Officials of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) approached Ramesh requesting him to consider setting up `green toilets` developed by them after the Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation recently lamented that while the country "can launch missiles like Agni and satellites" it "cannot provide sanitation to our women".
"60 per cent women in the country do not have access to toilets...We can launch missiles like Agni and satellites, but we cannot provide sanitation to our women.
What can be a biggest blot on the nation than this Ramesh had said last month.
The Ministry has now agreed to set up the green toilets developed by in 1000 gram panchayats as part of the Government`s programme to eradicate the menace of open defecation in 10 years.
"They have been working on this in their institute in Gwalior. They came to us, made an offer. They made a presentation to us. We are now going to have a MoU between the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and DRDO to install bio toilet systems in 1000 gram panchayats across the country," Ramesh told reporters here.
"We (the Ministry) will pay for it completely," the Minister said.
The Minister said he will launch first bio-toilet being set up by DRDO as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Dhamra in Orissa on Sunday.
Dhamra has been selected as it is adjacent to the area from where India took a major leap in its strategic capability this year by successfully test-firing its nuclear capable, 5000 km-range Agni-V missile.
"It is environmentally friendly and odourless. It is simple to construct and it does not lead to diseases like viral gastroenteritis, typhoid and cholera," Ramesh said.
He said the DRDO has already installed this system in Siachen and some high altitude and desert areas.
Government has formally launched Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, a re-structured programme of Total Sanitation Campaign, to provide toilets to 60 per cent of women who do not have access to proper sanitation.