FICCI in association with the Ministry of Defence and DRDO organised a ‘MoU Exchange programme between DRDO and Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation for Implementation of Bio-Digester based Eco-friendly Toilets in all Gram Panchayats in the country’.
The MoU envisages a plan for setting up of Bio-Digester based toilets across the identified Gram Panchayats. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, has earmarked Rs 400 crore for this programme which will be undertaken in phases where each phase would involve an investment of Rs 150 crore.
"Seventy per cent of the people in India reside in rural areas and are deprived of proper sanitation facilities. Bio-Digester which is a spin-off from the DRDO technology is now being intelligently implemented for societal benefit. This technology is not just eco-friendly but is also cost effective and DRDO will try to further reduce the cost," remarked Mr. A K Antony, Defence Minister, Government of India.
Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of Rural Development and Minister of Drinking Water & Sanitation, said, "Of the 2.4 lakh of Gram Panchayats in the country, only a few have sanitation facilities. The programme intends to create model villages that employ innovative technologies such as ‘Bio-Digester’ to achieve civic hygiene by converting the Panchayats into ‘Nirmal Panchayats’."
Mr. Srikant Kumar Jena, Minister of State (I/C) Statistics & Programme Implementation and State Chemicals & Fertilizers, stated, "In Odisha, six-twin Bio-Digester based toilets (male and female) have been constructed by FICCI at the five identified sites along the Jhamjhadi -Dhamra 90 km stretch which leads to the Chandipur Station from where the Agni missiles are launched. He also proposed that from the MPLADS fund a fixed amount should be earmarked for the construction of Bio-Digesters."
Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Secretary General, FICCI, said, "FICCI is leading this initiative across the country along with DRDO to achieve this target in the next 10 years." It is a matter of justifiable pride that within a month of national launch of Bio-Digester in Odisha, the two ministries have signed the MoU today and are on the way to make India open defecation free."
Ms. Vilasini Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Government of India, said, "In India almost 60 per cent of women do not have access to proper sanitation DRDO in association with FICCI has undertaken the initiative to provide the rural and tribal population of the country with its indigenously developed ‘Bio-Digester’ sanitation technology."
Dr. W Selvamurthy, Offg Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, Government of India; Mr. S Radhakrishnan, Director, DRDO and Dr. S Sundaresh, DS & CC R&D (ACE &SI), also addressed the gathering.