Nirmal Gram award for 121 village panchayats

Special Correspondent
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The national award-winning panchayats have built toilets to ensure total sanitation

PROUD: A child examining her mother's trophy at the award function at the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore on Tuesday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan
PROUD: A child examining her mother's trophy at the award function at the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore on Tuesday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj presented the Nirmal Gram Puraskar 2010 to presidents of 121 village panchayats for achieving total sanitation in their jurisdictional areas at a function at the Glass House of the Raj Bhavan here on Tuesday.

With a view to ending the unhealthy practice of answering nature's call in the open, the State Government is implementing total sanitation mission since 2005 culminating in 2012. Under the programme, the award-winning villages have built toilets to ensure total sanitation. The roads and surroundings of schools and anganwadis and public places were made litter-free and drains stench-free, a press release said.

A sum of Rs. 977.24 crore has been spent for the period and out of 58.70 lakh families, 37.24 lakh families have built toilets, achieving 63 per cent progress. All the schools and anganwadis were provided with toilets. A total of 966 village panchayats and four taluk panchayats have achieved total sanitation since 2005 and they have been given prize money ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 50 lakh.

Similarly, under the State Government's programme, 127 village panchayats, 88 schools and 82 anganwadis have been honoured with prizes in all amounting to Rs. 4.91 crore.

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary P. Ravi Kumar and Governor's Secretary G.V. Krishna Rau participated in the function.

Congratulating the village panchayat presidents, secretaries and members, Mr. Bhardwaj said that Karnataka was serious in achieving total sanitation and hoped that it would meet the national target also. If the villages were not developed and not provided with clean environment, Gandhiji's vision of building a welfare State could not be fulfilled, he said.

Mr. Shettar said that he was sad that villagers were not enthusiastic in constructing toilets and it was the responsibility of the 92,000 village panchayat members to convince them to do it. He was surprised that 65 crore mobile phone sets were in use in the country and one could see even an agricultural labourer using a cellphone. But, he demands more subsidy, he said. He said that religious leaders with their clout in the villages could guide people to build toilets and ensure sanitation in their surroundings. He was happy that the sanitation programme was gaining popularity in a backward district such as Koppal where 21 villages have received the Nirmal Gram Puraskar. He wanted more villages in the Hyderabad Karnataka and Mumbai Karnataka regions to utilise subsidy for toilets and the sanitation programme.

Ganadhal Village Panchayat president Nagaraja from Koppal district spoke on behalf of the award winners. He said that people of the the grama sabha were involved in a door-to-door campaign for ensuring sanitation in the villages. The residents were reminded how some contracted dengue and chikungunya due to unhygienic surroundings. They spent thousands of rupees on medication but were not ready to construct a toilet which could have helped prevent the spread of diseases. He said that following the campaign even below poverty line families had adopted the sanitation programme.

Shahina Banu, president of the Tavarekere Village Panchayat in Davangere district, spoke. State Water and Sanitation Mission Director P. Boregowda proposed a vote of thanks.




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