New Delhi, Apr 12 (PTI) The week-long ‘Satyagraha se Swachhagrah’ campaign in Bihar, in the run-up to the Champaran Satyagraha centenary celebrations on April 10, accelerated toilet campaign in the state, the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said today.

Over some people rejecting as impossible Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that Bihar “built more than eight lakh toilets in just past one week”, based on calculation of per day or per minute rate of toilet construction working backwards from these figures, the ministry said this was an incorrect interpretation of the data.

In a statement, it said that in the run-up to the event, the ministry in coordination with the Bihar government, worked to spread the message of ‘swachhata’ (cleanliness) by initiating the ‘Satyagraha se Swachhagrah’ campaign from April 3 to 10.

“Toilet campaign accelerated in Bihar in the run-up to the Champaran celebrations on April 10. Around 10,000 ‘Swachhagrahis’ from different parts of the country were invited to Bihar.

“They worked with 10,000 ‘swachhagrahis’ from Bihar to trigger behavioural change in the 38 districts of the state and build momentum of the ‘jan andolan’ (people’s movement),” the statement said.

On April 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed around 20,000 ‘Swachhagrahis’ in Motihari, East Champaran district of Bihar. Motivated by the address, Bihar saw 10.2 lakh toilets being built across its 38 districts, the ministry said.

Most of this activity was seen during the ‘Satyagraha se Swachhagraha’ campaign, wherein the focused activity by 20,000 ‘swachhagrahis’ across the state lent greater momentum to the campaign, it said.

At the event in Motihari, the prime minister praised the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” initiatives of the government, and had said, “I have been told that Bihar, under the leadership of Nitish Kumar and (Deputy CM) Sushil Kumar Modi, has succeeded in constructing more than eight lakh toilets in just past one week we can look forward to making India free of filth by Gandhi Jayanti next year.” Refuting some reports that such a rate of progress is impossible, based on the calculation of “per day” or “per minute” rate of toilet construction working backwards from these figures, the ministry said, “This is an incorrect interpretation of the data of the progress reported in Bihar.” “A twin pit toilet typically takes three to four days to construct, and this activity happened in parallel across approximately 34,000 villages in Bihar. Dividing the total toilets constructed in this period (March 14 10, 2018) by the number of villages in Bihar, this works out to 1.1 toilet constructed per day per village, which is easily doable.

“To calculate a per minute rate of these toilets is therefore misleading, as it incorrectly assumes construction of all toilets in one village sequentially,” the ministry clarified.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.