CEO calls for collective action to get rid of open defecation

Vijaya V. Jhyothsna, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Raichur Zilla Panchayat, said that everybody is a stakeholder in making society free from open defecation. She was addressing at a media workshop on sanitation at Reporters’ Guild here on Tuesday. The event was organised by Communication for Development and Learning (CDL) in association with Karnataka Working Journalists’ Association and Raichur Reporters’ Guild.

“Government can get public toilets built for people. It can also offer financial assistance to building private toilets. The responsibility of making people use them rests with everybody,” she said.

Of the target of building 34,900 private toilets at rural areas of Raichur district for the year, she added, as many as 15,000 are completed and work on the rest underway. She exuded confidence to meet the target.

“The major complaint that people have been making is regarding non-payment of promised financial assistance from the gram panchayat to those who have constructed the toilets. These issues are largely connected with the procedures to be followed. We have, by and large, fixed the issue,” she said. Stringent action would be taken against those Panchayat Development Officers who unnecessarily delay payment to beneficiaries.

The toilets are imperative not just for ensuring the dignity of women and the aged, but ensuring security as well, she said. “Women in rural areas go for open defecation normally during night or early morning hours and often alone. They would be easy targets for sexual assaulters. Toilets built at backyards of houses would automatically reduce the chances of women being attacked,” she said.