Karnataka villages open defecation free, says CM (Lead)
Bengaluru : Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Monday said the southern state was open defecation free in its rural areas.
"Earlier statistics showed that only half or one-third of the rural households had individual toilets, but presently, all the 70.2 lakh rural households in the state have been provided with individual toilets, thereby reducing open defecation," Kumaraswamy said at a state government's event here.
The state's Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department has built 45 lakh toilets in about five years, said Kumaraswamy at the event held to mark the World Toilet Day in Bengaluru.
The United Nations observes World Toilet Day each year globally to tackle sanitation crisis.
The 45 lakh toilets were built since October 2014 across Karnataka's 6,022 local bodies (gram panchayats) in all the 176 taluks (sub-districts) of the state's 30 districts, an official statement said.
"While the central government has been pushing for 'Swacch Bharat' Mission (Clean India Mission) to make the country open defecation free, Karnataka has executed it ahead of time," Kumaraswamy claimed.
"The 45 lakh toilets in rural areas were built at a cost of Rs 6,300-crore," an official from the Rural Development department told IANS in a statement.
The official, however, admitted that while the southern state's rural parts have been declared open defecation free, its towns and cities were not.
The state had aimed to become open defecation free by 2018, a year ahead of Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary in 2019, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara said on the occasion.
Cleanliness and sanitation has a positive impact on the lives of people in the state, said the state's Rural Development Minister Krishna Byre Gowda.
"All sections of the society must contribute to making the state a model by staying open defecation free. It will have a strong, positive impact on the lives of women and children," Gowda said.