The Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer made a one day trip to Bangalore today to review and discuss progress of Swachh Bharat in rural Karnataka. He called on the State Minister, Rural Development and Panchayat, Shri H.K Patil and held discussions with him.
Shri Patil mentioned that the State is on its way to becoming open defecation free (ODF) and seven districts will be ODF by March 2017. The State was converging resources through bank loans to households for toilet. The construction of bathroom along with toilet was also being encouraged. The Minister also highlighted the need to focus in special needs for elderly people and promote use of commodes for their convenience. Shri Iyer assured the Minister of full support from Centre.
Later, Shri Iyer held a meeting with the State officials and also held a video conference with CEOs of Zilla Panchayats. He listened to the progress being made in the districts, their strategy and challenges. He emphasised the role of leadership and capacity building to achieve the task of swachhta. It was agreed that focus of monitoring would shift to ODF achievement rather than construction of toilets. He also underlined the importance of foolproof verification and appreciated the social audit mechanism adopted by the State. It was also agreed that all other development schemes, as feasible, will be prioritised in ODF villages. On capacity building, the State assured to carry out trainings in districts with the help of UNICEF. The State was also advised to take advantage of virtual trainings being organised by the Centre.
The Principal Secretary Ms Nagambika Devi presented the State strategy for making Karnataka ODF. It was mentioned that making a village ODF was included in the Directive Principles of panchayats through an amendment in the Karnataka Panchayat Act.