Churu to become open defecation free district

Jaipur, June 3, 2014: Rajasthan, which ranks among the bottom five states in the country for open defecation, has something to cheer about. Churu is likely to become the first district in state to be declared open defecation free. The district administration's efforts were appreciated by the Union ministry for rural development.

Tara Nagar block in Churu with a population of nearly 2.5 lakhs has already achieved this rare feet. Sardar Shehar, another block that is very close to achieving the 100% target of providing toilets in each household. State assembly and Lok Sabha elections slowed down the work but local administration is now aiming to resume it in full swing and achieve the defecation free tag by the end of this year.

"We had a very successful campaign, which helped us in getting get rid of open defecation. However, the concentration of our manpower was diverted in conducting polls which brought down the speed of work," said H S Meena, collector, Churu.

District administration initiated a campaign 'Chokho Churu' where focus was on community mobilization. Public meetings, ratri chaupals (nightly village meetings) and other mass awareness programmes were carried out.

"We were able to change people's mindset by making them conscious of various hazards related to open defecation. As a result, people pepped up to construct toilets themselves," said Rohit Gupta, man behind the turnaround when he was posted as district collector in Churu.

Between January and October, 2013, over 10,000 toilets were constructed in the district. District administration provided Rs 9,500 to each household under Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan and NREGA. People however spent up to Rs 15,000 from their pockets in building good quality toilets.

"Once we made them realize why toilets are important, people willingly opted to construct them themselves. Results in this approach are far better as compared to when people are given money or the job is outsourced. Demand should arise from within the community rather than it being imposed on them," added Gupta.
Churu's performance has come as a face saver for Rajasthan, which ranks poorly in providing proper sanitation to the people. Jairam Ramesh, former union minister for rural development, who earlier criticized Congress-ruled Rajasthan by stating "no toilet, no bride", also applauded the initiative. (Source: TNN)

03-06-2014 | Posted by Admin