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DRDO to install bio-digester toilets across Gram Panchayats
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and department of drinking water and sanitation have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which the DRDO will set up bio-digester based eco-friendly toilets in all Gram Panchayats across the nation.

THE GREEN toilets aim to provide proper sanitation facilities to the villagers, so that the problem of open defecation could also be checked. The MoU, facilitated by the industry body FICCI, was signed in the presence of defence minister AK Antony and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

“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,” said A K Antony, Defence Minister.

The department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the rural development minister 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, says a statement by the industry body FICCI.

“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,” said Jairam Ramesh.

As a pilot project, the scheme will be launched in 300 gram panchayats in this year. As reported by the Hindu Business Line in next five years bio digester based toilets will be set up in 1000 panchayats. Jairam Ramesh said that the average cost for one unit is Rs 15,000, which could be reduced to Rs 10,000 in the future and by 10 years; India would be open-defecation free.

Minister of State (I/C) Statistics & Programme Implementation Srikant Jena proposed that from the MPLADS fund a fixed amount should be earmarked for the construction of Bio-Digesters.”

In the state of 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.

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