GPs stand to forego grant if villages do not meet standards
The annual grant to gram panchayats is Rs. 6 lakh
BANGALORE: Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Shobha Karandlaje has threatened to discontinue the annual grants of gram panchayats if total sanitation is not achieved in their respective villages in two years’ time.
Speaking after inaugurating a State-level workshop on State Sanitation Reward Scheme, organised by the Karnataka Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Government of Karnataka, and Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) here on Monday, Ms. Karandlaje said the Government would stop extending the annual grant of Rs. 6 lakh to gram panchayats that have not been able to achieve total sanitation in their respective villages. They had to stop the “disgusting and unhealthy practice” of open defecation in two years’ time, she said.
Regretting the failure of the sanitation programme to make much progress even though 62 years had passed since the country attained freedom, Ms. Karandlaje felt that it was “shameful” that less than 50 per cent of the households had toilets.
She said the State Government was seriously considering a proposal to increase the subsidy on construction of a toilet to the beneficiaries from the present Rs. 2,500. “Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa could shortly make an announcement in this regard,” she said.
Pointing out that toilets were as important as kitchens, Ms. Karandlaje said open defecation was a major health hazard to the entire community. She called upon people’s representatives to encourage people to construct toilets in their houses
If enough space was not available to construct toilets in the houses, the Government would construct community toilets in the village. Already, land for construction of community toilets had been purchased in a few villages, she said. Ms. Karandlaje also emphasised the need for creating awareness among the rural population on the use of toilets.
“During my visit to Dharwad district recently, I found sheep bound in a toilet. Many people don’t know how to use toilets. Hence, awareness should be created,” she said.
She added that the State Government would institute awards at the taluk, district and State-level for villages achieving total sanitation.
Already, the Centre was giving awards for open defecation-free villages. “We (State) will also institute awards at not only State-level, but also at district and taluk-level,” she said.