Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil stated his department has embarked upon a new project to construct 1,000 hi-tech toilet complexes across the state.
Speaking to reporters in Dharwad, on the sidelines of attending a movement against open defecation launched by the Mahamane at Managundi in Dharwad taluk on Saturday, Patil stated the department had given emphasis on proper maintenance of these toilets. There were complaints that people had stopped using the community toilets constructed by the government following poor maintenance.
On January 26, the government will declare 1,000 villages as open defecation-free ones, Patil added.
The hi-tech toilets, to be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 20 lakh each, will have a bathroom and dressing room, too. The measure has been taken up after evaluating the ground reality that women folk in rural areas were deprived of bathrooms, too. Commodes will also be fixed in these toilets.
Due to the practice of open defecation, rampant in rural areas, the water bodies are getting contaminated and as a result, children fall prey to dreaded diseases. “More than 400 children belonging to less fortunate families are dying every two hour across the country,” he noted.
The government has given priority to ensure cleanliness in villages and create awareness among villagers to make use of toilets. To encourage them the government is also providing Rs 12,000 to construct toilets in their houses. However, Patil said it was up to the people to make use of the government scheme and see that hygienic atmosphere prevails in their surroundings.
Hailing Mahamane for adopting six villages and transforming them into open defecation-free villages, Patil said, the government would be extending total support to the mutts, institutions and organisations coming forward for such novel cause.
He added as part of the 150th Jayanti of Mahatma Gandhi who advocated cleanliness in rural areas, the government would be making Karnataka an open defecation-free state by 2018.
Speaking on the occasion, Basavanand Swamiji of Mahamane said, people in Kanavihonnapur and Nayakanahulikatti consumer water containing fluoride and are becoming sick. He urged the government to ensure purified drinking water to these villages.