BENGALURU: On the occasion of World Toilet Day, the State government declared Rural Karnataka open defecation free. However, Rural and Panchayath Raj Minister Krishna Byregowda admitted that the achievement was in terms of the number of toilets built, but getting people to use them was the biggest challenge.
Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Karnataka stands third in the country, in terms of the number of toilets built.
On Monday, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy declared that Karnataka had achieved ODF status. Speaking on the occasion, Byregowda said that in 2012-13, as per the baseline survey, the state needed 70.20 lakh toilets, of which only 25 lakh families had toilets.
In the last four to five years, under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Centre and the state constructed over 45 lakh toilets across Karnataka.
The minister said that the biggest challenge now was to make people use these toilets. “In spite of constructing toilets and creating awareness about sanitation in many places, people still do their business in open fields. We have constructed toilets for the health of the people and villages. In the last four to five years, there are many families living in separate houses. We will construct an additional five lakh toilets for them in the coming days. We do not want to leave anyone out,’’ he said.
The state government will now take up the Swacchalaya campaign for the next one year, where they will not just focus on making people use these toilets, but also make villages free of littering. Waste segregation at source will be enforced.
“This is more challenging, but with the help of the media and local elected representatives we will achieve it,’’ he added.