India needs 12 crore toilets, says Sulabh founder Pathak

India needs 12 crore toilets, says Sulabh founder Pathak

India needs over 12 crore toilets to get rid of the tag of the country with most number of people practising open defecation, said Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International.

Pathak told DH on Friday that the government alone cannot do it. He termed the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBM) an inspiring initiative but fraught with hurdles due to the bureaucracy and substandard works by contractors. He also doubted the success of the Abhiyan and its goal of making the country open-defecation free by 2019.

Pathak said only a network of spirited NGOs can ensure quality infrastructure and suggested non-resident Indians, corporate social responsibility and charity donations as three promising financing models.

“The toilets built with subsidy from the Centre do not have two pits, something which will make them unusable within a matter of five-six years. We should focus on durable infrastructure,” he said.

His views assume importance against the backdrop of last year’s study by the Centre for Policy Research which found that nearly 40% of the toilets built under the SBM were unusable.

Sulabh has 295 restrooms spread across 28 districts of Karnataka. The founder of the country-wide sanitation facility was in the city to receive an award from the New York-based Rocheston Accreditation Institute.

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