Tech city Bengaluru yet to shed open-defecation tag

Tech city Bengaluru yet to shed open-defecation tag

Only Mangaluru, Mysuru, Udupi free of open toilets

Tech city Bengaluru yet to shed open-defecation tag

Bengaluru does not figure among the open defecation-free (ODF) cities of the country, a pointer to the poor hygienic conditions prevailing in the city.

While neighbouring states are inching towards zero open defecation in urban areas, only three of the 28 major cities and towns in Karnataka are ODF. They are Mysuru, Mangaluru and Udupi. The poor status of Bengaluru and other urban areas of Karnataka came up for discussion during a meeting of Swachh Bharat Mission joint secretary Praveen Prakash with representatives of cities and towns in Karnataka.

“There are around 500 cities and towns in the country which are 100% open defecation-free. Andhra Pradesh has 110 urban areas with zero open defecation, Gujarat has 178, Maharashtra 100, and Tamil Nadu has 40. Kerala is inching towards becoming 100% ODF. Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai are 100% ODF. People in Delhi want to know when Bengaluru will become an ODF city,” Prakash pointed out.

He said Delhi is the best among cities as it has a Google Maps-based toilet locator.
“Delhi has a feedback system where people can rate the standard of the toilets. We want to know when Bengaluru will have a Google Maps-based toilet locator,” said Prakash.

The joint secretary pointed out that the Centre has set a target to have ODF India by 2019. To achieve the goal, competition among cities in terms of cleanliness has started. He told reporters that this year, Swachh Bharat survey started in January and February and the result will be out in mid-March. “The survey has triggered stiff competition among municipalities. Things are improving and we will see the difference by 2019,” said Prakash.

The official added that the Centre will make segregation of waste at source mandatory across India from June 5. Speaking about the Swachh Bharat cess, Prakash said the Centre has collected Rs 30,000 crore in three years, which boils down to Rs 10,000 crore a year. The annual expenditure on Swachh Bharat Mission is Rs 2,000 crore for urban areas and Rs 8,000 crore for rural areas. Apart from this, Rs 10,000 crore has been earmarked for treating and recycling sewage to stop pollution of water bodies.