Chikamagalur, Karanataka, June 9, 2012: Though 50% of village panchayats have achieved 100% total sanitation and got the Nirmal Puraskar tag, defecation in the open still continues and is more evident in the plains areas of the district.
According to total sanitation project officer Taranath, 65 village panchayats out of 226 have received this award from the Union government and panchayats with a population of 5,000 and above got Rs 5 lakh and panchayats below 5,000 got Rs 2 lakh cash awards with citations. He said 35 panchayats are ready to get this award as they have fulfilled all the required parameters.
On visiting, it was found that some village panchayats in the plains, the toilets constructed were being used for some other purpose and families still prefer defecating in the open.
In many houses, toilets have been converted into small godowns to store agricultural seeds, manure or other materials. When asked why they weren't being used for the original purpose, they attributed this to water scarcity. Many said they aren't getting enough drinking water for domestic use itself.
In Malnad region, this programme has gathered momentum and some villages have been achieved 100% total sanitation. Sringeri and Narasimharajapura taluk in this area have been declared total sanitation taluks. Koppa taluk is just short of three panchayats to get this prestigious tag.
The project was started in 2005 and so far 1,44,808 families have shown interest in constructing their own toilets in the backyard but 1,33,362 families are yet to get converted to this idea. For BPL families, the government gives Rs.3,500 as subsidy to construct toilets but even these families are not ready to have their own toilets. (Source: The Times of India)