Despite availability of funds, the Karnataka Government has done little to demonstrate its commitment in the implementation of the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in various districts of the State.
The percentage coverage of individual household latrines (IHHLs) in the State is 38.51 per cent and the coverage is less than 20 per cent in Tumkur, Raichur, Bijapur and Gulbarga districts. Since the launch of the programme on October 2, 2005, the Government spent Rs. 164.41 crore against the available funds of Rs. 264.32 crore. Of the Rs. 188.05 crore released by the Centre, Rs. 105.62 crore has been spent so far (August 31, 2009), according to officials in the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department.
Within the State there have been significant variations across districts in terms of sanitation coverage. In terms of coverage of IHHLs, Shimoga topped the list with 104.09 per cent, while Gulbarga ranked last with 10.22 per cent. The performance of the campaign has been dismal in most of the north Karnataka districts and in the Mysore region.
As on August 31, 2009, the percentage coverage of IHHLs was 100 in Dakshina Kannada, 95.95 in Udupi, 95.65 in Uttara Kannada, 75.04 in Chikmagalur, 64.21 in Kodagu, 62.22 in Mysore, 62.13 in Hassan, 50.29 in Bangalore Urban, Rural, 42.80 in Belgaum, 41.54 in Davangere, 38.37 in Bangalore Rural, 37.74 in Koppal, 35.83 per cent in Dharwad, 29.93 in Bidar, 29.91 in Chitradurga, 29.84 in Gadag, 29.73 in Haveri, 28.07 in Bagalkot, 24.46 in Mandya, 23.34 in Bellary, 22.28 in Kolar, 20.09 in Chamarajangar, 19.92 in Tumkur, 17.58 in Raichur and 11.71 in Bijapur. In fact, subsidy (Rs. 2,500 a family) given under the scheme for below the poverty line (BPL) households had not been properly utilised owing to lack of awareness among the people, the officials said.
Against the target of 4.41 lakh IHHLs in Gulbarga district, only 45,191 were constructed. Similarly in Bijapur, only 27620 toilets were constructed against the target of 2.35 lakh.
With low performance of the TSC, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Shobha Karandlaje has threatened to discontinue the annual grants of Rs. 6 lakh to gram panchayats if total sanitation is not achieved in their respective villages in two years’ time. She felt that it was “shameful” that less than 50 per cent of the households had toilets.
The officials pointed out that in most places, there had been no conscious or visible attempt on the part of campaign managers to develop a strategy to implement the programme. In Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, for example, where there have been well articulated implementation strategies for the programme, the results have been remarkable. A common factor in the strategy of these places has been the adoption of a “campaign mode”, focussing on people as key actors and agents of change, the officials said.
The performance of the school sanitation programme was better and it achieved 99.35 per cent of the target by constructing 35,467 toilets. A total of 23,784 toilets constructed in anganwadi centres and it achieved the target of 98.71 per cent.
To energise the campaign, the Centre had been giving Nirmal Gram Puraskar to panchayatas to achieve 100 per cent open-defecation-free gram panchayats. But not a single GP in Bellary, Chamaranagar, Raichur and Gulbarga districts has been selected for this award, the officials said.