Representative of World Bank, Kullappa, has said that there was a need to spread awareness about the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan programme that was started to bring about an overall improvement in sanitation in rural areas and introduce healthy habits among people.
Speaking at the inauguration of a workshop for members of the Jal Nirmal programme in gram panchayats and workers of the Total Literacy Campaign in the district here on Thursday, he said there was a need to create a sense of responsibility and ownership among stakeholders.
He said the implementing agencies have the onerous responsibility of creating awareness among people to avoid defecation in open fields. “Mere construction of individual toilets in households was not enough, as it would only help in improving the physical progress of the construction of toilets. People should be made to use toilets and maintain them properly.”
When compared to other regions in the State, Mr. Kullappa said the problem of open defecation and lack of sanitation in rural areas was high in north Karnataka, where people were still not aware of the dangers involved in following the practice and its disastrous effect on health.
Deputy Director of Karnataka Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency D.G. Chetana Ganga said the workshop had been convened to identify the challenges, issues and gaps for the effective implementation of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan programme and to address the problem of the convergence of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) with the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan programme.
Ms. Ganga said the workshop was organised to draw a strategic action plan for the effective implementation of the programme. She said the workshop would also address other problems encountered by the implementing agencies and identify region-specific problems and find a redressal.
Planning Director of the zilla panchayat Kenchannavar inaugurated the workshop.
Of the 2,66,778 households in rural areas, 1,12,367 toilets have been constructed, which include 83,333 individual toilets in BPL households and 28,987 in APL houses. This year, a target of constructing 8,000 individual toilets has been fixed.
For individual toilets, the Union and State governments provide incentives along with convergence of the MNREGA funds for construction of toilets at a cost of Rs. 10,000 and the contribution of the beneficiary was only Rs. 800 a toilet.