Total sanitation campaign not total in DK district

After, all the 203 GPs and three blocks in Dakshina Kannada district won the Nirmal Gram Puraskar, Zilla Panchayat, which has now come to realise its failure, is introspecting as to where it went wrong in implementing the campaign. In the process of introspection, the ZP has confronted a disappointing fact that hundreds of houses in every Gram Panchayat still do not have toilets, despite the award. This indigestible fact has not just raised doubts over functioning of the local governing bodies but has also questioned the credibility of the process in which the awards are given to the Gram Panchayats.

Zilla Panchayat, as a fault finding attempt and to ascertain the post Nirmal Gram Puraskar scenario, asked the Anganwadi workers and Stree Shakti Groups to hold survey in all the 203 Gram Panchayats and get the details of houses which do not have toilets yet.

Though the report is expected to be out by 15 days, anganwadi workers who have been out on the field for survey informed Deccan Herald that the number of houses which do not have toilets are mind boggling.

According to them, Bantwal taluk, which is one of the blocks, which has bagged the award has Sarapady GP where 330 houses do not have toilets. Uli has 300 houses without toilets followed by Pajir with 250 and Kadeshwalya with 225 houses without toilets.

In award winning block Puttur, Kaniyur GP has no toilet in 220 houses, Belandur with 194 houses without toilets, Kodimbadi with 74, Ariyadka with 101, Kedambadi with 204, Uppinangady with 58, Pejathur with 82 and Nekkiladi has 5 houses without toilets.

The volunteers say that while this is just the tip of the ice-berg, the situation is almost the same in most of the GPs, barring Ira, which has 100 per cent sanitation.

They further informed that they have been persistently pressurised from various quarters to manipulate the numbers.

Voluntary introspection

Responding to the same, Zilla Panchayat CEO P Shivshankar said that the survey was his own attempt to know the mistakes they have committed so that it can be rectified.

“The Government has not asked us to do it. It was my own wish to know what lies beyond the award and I have been disappointed even before the report is out,” he said stating that stray complaints compelled him to take up a survey.

During the survey, the volunteers will visit all the 203 GPs and give correct report.
The survey works have been taken up under the Information Education and Communication (IEC) and the funds for the survey will be carved from IEC.

“I had expected some 50 houses without toilets but I am preparing myself for a shock,” he said. As far as action is concerned, once the report is out, the Gram Panchayats concerned will be asked to build the required number of toilets from their own funds.

Whose lapse?

After this lacunae is visibly clear, it has now been understood that the campaign was never taken in right stride. It was publised by the officials as a competition and not as a campaign and hence the outcome was a rat-race wherein officials and GP elected representatives were ready to do anything for the award.

“It was all about the award and the cash prize the award would bring along. Apart from the local governing bodies, the committee, which came for inspection too needs to be blamed because the Gram Panchayat members usually managed to get their work done by luring the committee with lavish parties and perks. The Committee members did not have any option but to give good ranking,” says a source.

With the real face of ‘Sampoorna Swachatha Andholan’ slowly being exposed in the district, the value of the award and the Gram Panchayats who have genuinely toiled and won the award are at loss.

‘Prize money with ZP’

CEO P Shivshankar said that the 49 GPs which bagged the award during 2006-07 received the full amount and spent the same.  The prize money of the remaining GPs, which received the awards during 2007-08 and 2008-09 are with the ZP still. “The Government has released half of the prize money but since it was delayed and further since I wanted the GPs to utilise the amount on solid waste management, I have asked the GPs to get an Action Plan first,” CEO said.

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