Puducherry, Aug 16: As part of the Swachh Bharat initiative, two municipalities in the Union Territory were today declared as "free from open air defecation". Chief Minister V Narayanasamy declared that 38 wards under the jurisdiction of Puducherry and Uzhavarkarai municipalities were 'free from open air defecation'.
Very soon, the Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam municipalities would also be declared as free from 'open air defecation' so that the entire urban areas in the tiny Union Territory would achieve the status, he said after hoisting the national flag at the 70th Independence Day celebrations here.
He said construction of toilets would be encouraged with sanction of funds from the Chief Minister's Relief fund also. Narayanasamy had last month said toilets would be constructed for 55,000 households without the facility by October 2, 2017 under the Swachh Bharath Abhiyan scheme at a cost of Rs 120 crore and sought the Centre's financial help.
At today's function, he also said a 'massive' drinking water project and an underground drainage scheme, funded by a French agency, would be implemented at a total cost of Rs 2,120 crore in the Union Territory.
Steps were being taken for implementation of the projects which would be funded by the France-based Financial Corporation for Development.
He said the government was evolving a plan under the 'Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana' scheme to provide concrete structures to the poorer sections and very soon the number of homeless families and also those living in thatched huts would be enumerated.
Stating that law and order was being taken care of "scrupulously" in Puducherry, he said his government had taken steps for fixing CCTV cameras under the Urban Security Plan. A Rs 50.75 crore plan to beef up security and to provide refresher courses for the bomb disposal squad personnel had been evolved, he said.
Narayanasamy said the government had raised the quantum of free rice given through the public distribution system from ten kg to 20 kgs a month from launch month, benefiting 3.31 lakh families coming under the family ration card system. The government had earmarked Rs 135.36 crore for this scheme during this year, he said.