3 districts to be free from open defecation

Picture for representation only

The state government is all set to declare three districts open defecation-free in the state. Work is on to ensure that sufficient toilets are built in four more districts to qualify them for the tag. Principal Secretary of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) L K Ateeq announced this at a workshop in the city on Friday.

RDPR Commissioner Dr Vishal R said works in Chitradurga, Kalaburagi and Tumakuru districts have been completed.

“The declaration will come after verification, which is under progress,” he said. As many as 80,000 toilets are yet to be built in four districts of Bidar, Vijayapura, Belagavi and Raichur. On Wednesday, Yadgir district was declared open-defecation free. To bag the “Open Defecation-free,” tag, no fecal matter should be visible and it should be treated effectively, said Dr Vishal.

As per the estimate of 2011 socio-economic survey, five lakh more beneficiaries have been added.

“We have written to the central government seeking funds for this. They will give us Rs 7,200 per toilet and the state will invest a certain sum for the construction work. It is implemented in 60:40 ration where the Centre bears the larger expense,” he said.RDPR Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said even enough toilets were being constructed, there was a need to bring behavioural changes among people.

“We must ensure that the main intention of the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan or any other campaigns directed towards the purpose is not forgotten,” he said. He sought to know why the government was still being held responsible when toilets were built and the people did not use them.

“There is a need to inculcate a change in the mindset of the people. Within a month, we will reach the target of toilet constructions.

There is a need to reach out to rural masses through internet. It is only inappropriate to think that they are not technologically advanced. With most of country having an access to the internet, messages on hygiene can be spread through social media,” he said.

Complaints across the state are common that though toilets are built, they have been rendered unusable due to lack of water supply and poor maintenance, Krishna Byre Gowda added.

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