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New Delhi: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is not done with just building toilets. In the next three years, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) goverment will take up maintenance work at the nearly 128,000 toilets built at schools across India under the mission.

“We are not done yet. For the next three years, we would maintain these toilets as well. We would ensure that every single toilet built by us has all the facilities. We would also train the local staff because they have to ultimately take care of the facilities," Union power minister Piyush Goyal said in reply to a query about maintenance work and non-functional toilets.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a function in the national capital where he distributed awards to public sector units (PSUs) under his ministry for building toilets in record time.

The government, Goyal said, will also try to ensure electricity and water at all toilets. “Wherever water is not there, we will look at the possibility of tubewells," he added.

Around 15,000 is expected to be spent on maintenance of each toilet every year. The PSUs will also look at creating cleaning staff capacity.

“The total money required annually for maintenance of 128,000 would be less than 200 crore, which can be easily managed from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds of just one or two PSUs under the power and coal ministry," said a senior power ministry official, who did not want to be named.

In his first Independence Day speech on 15 August, 2014, Modi called for building toilets across India, especially for young girls and women, and bring an end to open defecation. Goyal, who heads the ministries of power, coal and new and renewable energy, decided to build 100,000 toilets within a year.

By 15 August 2015, 17 PSUs under Goyal’s ministries built 127,985 toilets using their CSR funds. Among these, Coal India Ltd alone constructed over 51,000 toilets, while NTPC Ltd built over 24,000.

Goyal lauded PSUs for their work and exhorted them to take up more nation-building work this year. Mint had earlier reported about the difficulties faced by officials, including an incident wherein some officials were abducted by Maoists for a few days.

“Why can’t we together decide to take up, for example, cleaning of 400 major railway stations, hospitals, public places or anything else? This could be our contribution to nation building," said Goyal, recounting an incident wherein officials of PSUs ensured cleanliness of Assam’s Kamakhya temple after he drew their attention to its poor condition during one of his visits.

The minister further said that to ensure the toilets are clean and in working condition, they would be building full photo repository of these toilets, which would be regularly monitored.

The Swachch Bharat mission was launched on 2 October 2014 for a period of five years, aiming to create a clean India. Initially, it will be implemented in 4,041 towns. The total cost of the campaign will be 62,009 crore, of which the Union government will contribute 14,620 crore and the rest will be mobilized from other sources, including non-state entities.

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